Adam, the skilled climber

Falesia policromuro, Massone

When people ask me if I am the best climber in the world, I say no, I’m not. I think I am the most skilled, if I may say so. This skill is only partly due to my physical training. What really matters is my mental condition, the goals I set myself, the limits I can overcome and my ability to pick myself up after a defeat. I have learned this on my own, after falling many times.

My parents were very important, they conveyed their enthusiasm for climbing to me and from the outset I always had their full support, but they never imposed their point of view in terms of training schedules or things like that. I have always been my own trainer and, at most, I only practised with my friends.

Perhaps it is a rather unusual method and, as I child, I was different from other children, but in my case it worked. Somehow, having to take care of this aspect makes you become aware of your responsibilities, you become more mature and, when the time is ripe, it helps you choose your goals. These obviously must be ambitious – almost reaching your personal limits – but at the same time they must be realistic. Your task is to increase your expertise to match your future challenges.

Stories on the Dolomites Adam Ondra, the climbing champion

"Your task is to increase your expertise to match your future challenges"

I now travel all over the world, participating in competitions and following my climbing projects, but I like to come back often to Lake Garda, where I used to come and climb when I was young and where I achieved many feats. Things have changed a lot in the past twenty years.

I remember that at the end of the Nineties Massone was incredible. It was one of the few really overhanging cliffs that required extremely difficult, athletic movements. There were only a few routes and, as the number of climbers grew, they quickly became greasy and the cliff’s popularity declined. Some of my friends in the Czech Republic actually stopped going there. Now things have changed: the Sarca Valley is experiencing a new lease of life.

Many new walls have been cleared of vegetation, for instance Padaro, where you can find easy grades that are suitable for beginners who want to start climbing as well as really difficult high-grade routes (9a or higher). Also, the climbing style is different. People are now seeking more modern, physical styles, preferring spectacular movements on vertical columns or stalactites to classic progression.

Stories on the Dolomites Adam Ondra, the climbing champion

"When I put my hands on a rock I am just as thrilled as when I was a child"

Today, when I put my hands on a rock, even if the grades are different, I am just as thrilled as when I was a child. I think the secret is very simple: I like doing what I do and, to tell you the truth, I even enjoy climbing up easy grades because, apart from anything else, I love climbing around on rocks. I know I constantly need new stimuli and climbing helps me in this because each route, even every single hold, is unique and something which I have never tried before.

Written by Alessandro Cristofoletti

Published on 06/06/2023