Silence (climb)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Before first ascent, the route was known as Project Hard
Adam Ondra climbing Silence, 9c by PAVEL BLAZEK 1-cropped.jpg
Adam Ondra at the second crux of Silence, in 2017
Map showing the location of Silence
Map showing the location of Silence
LocationFlatanger (Norway)
Coordinates64°29′23″N 10°49′07″E / 64.48972°N 10.81861°E / 64.48972; 10.81861
Route TypeSport climb
Vertical Gain45 metres (148 ft)
Rating9c (5.15d)
Bolted byAdam Ondra
First free ascentAdam Ondra, September 3, 2017

Silence (formerly known as Project Hard)[1] is a notoriously difficult climbing route located in the Hanshelleren Cave in Flatanger, Norway. As of August 2021, it is still considered to be the hardest route ever climbed, and the only route in the world to have a proposed rating of 9c (5.15d). Silence was bolted in 2012 or 2013[2] by Adam Ondra, who first ascended it on September 3, 2017. Ondra described it as "much harder than anything else" he had previously done, and cautiously suggested the 9c rating. The route was originally named Project Hard by Ondra because it appeared harder than any other route previously climbed. A few days after completion, Ondra renamed it Silence,[3] stating that when climbing, he felt a sense of inner quiet,[4] and also that on completion he felt unable to scream in exhilaration, which was his more usual reaction on completing a climb.[5][6][7]

Climbing Silence took Ondra more than 4 years of practice and training visits,[4] and long-term dedicated preparation, including extensive mental and physical training for the specific difficulties posed by the route.[8]

Hanshelleren Cave, in Flatanger, is known worldwide for the climbing routes Change (9b+) and Silence (9c), climbed by Adam Ondra in 2012 and 2017, respectively.

Route description[edit]

Silence is about 45 m long, curving up the cave wall and along part of the underside of its roof. The first 20 m are about 8b (5.13d) along the beginning of the established routes Nordic Flower and Change, before branching off into a 5 move 7A+ (V7). It then transitions into a hard sequence of three distinct boulder problems (also called "cruxes" by Ondra): an extremely hard 8C (V15), a "burly 4-move" 8B (V13) and a 7C+ (V10) with slippery feet. The first one was described by Ondra as the hardest 8C (V15) he ever climbed. It consists of 10 incredibly hard and unusual moves, including single-finger locks, climbing upside down and a variation of a figure four move ending with an extremely bad kneebar rest. After the third boulder, a huge jug leads to the anchor, through a relatively easy 6C (V5) boulder consisting of five moves.[9][3][10][11][2][12][13][14][15]

In a 2017 interview, Ondra was asked about specific difficulties in climbing Silence. He stated that:[9]

"The strangest moves are on the V15 crux 1, which is very physical, but the most precision-demanding climbing I have ever seen in my life. It is very hard to turn upside down, “stab” my left foot super high into the crack, doing it 100-percent precisely, [and] finish the sequence with this foot jam, doing the last move while doing the most extreme drop-knee I have ever done, which feels like it would tear my knee and back apart."

First ascent[edit]

Working the route required Ondra to take seven trips to Flatanger, four in 2016 and three in 2017.[3] Just linking the 10 moves in the first boulder problem required four weeks of trials.[16] After completing the first boulder problem he practiced linking it through to the chains, then practiced starting the climb from progressively lower. He linked the whole route together on his second attempt from the ground.

Ondra trained specifically for the route. For instance, he completed multiple hard bouldering moves with very short rests between them, and visualised the most difficult moves while doing specific exercises with his physiotherapist.[9] He also trained his calf muscles to be able to hold as long as necessary on the extremely bad kneebar rests which he used during the ascent.

On completion, Ondra commented:[6]

"At the end of the route when I knew I did it, I had one of the strangest emotions ever."
"I clipped the anchor and I could not even scream. All I could do was just hang in the rope, feeling tears in my eyes. It was too much joy, relief and excitement all mixed together."


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adam Ondra. "Silence 9c, Flatanger, Norway". Instagram.
  2. ^ a b Nicholas Hobley (June 26, 2017). (ed.). "Interview: Adam Ondra climbing toward the world's first 9C". Planet Mountain. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c, ed. (September 4, 2017). "Interview: Adam Ondra climbs world's first 9c at Flatanger in Norway". Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Interview: Adam Ondra on What It Took to Climb the World's First 5.15d". 9 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Czech climber sets new benchmark with ascent of 'world's hardest cliff'". 4 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Adam Ondra conquers 'world's hardest climb' in Norway".
  7. ^ "Adam Ondra Calls World's Hardest Route 'Silence'". 8 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Interview: How Adam Ondra Used Next-Gen Visualization to Send Silence (5.15d)". 26 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Hayden Carpenter (11 September 2017). "Adam Ondra – Silence (9c/5.15d), a.k.a. "Project Hard", Interview". Rock and Ice. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Chris Noble (June 7, 2016). (ed.). "Adam Ondra: the future of climbing". Climbing Magazine. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  11. ^ "Adam Ondra climbs world's first 9c - Project Hard". UKClimbing. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  12. ^ Youtube, ed. (September 14, 2016). "Adam Ondra: incredible moves in possible 9c". TENDON. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  13. ^ Youtube, ed. (September 14, 2016). "Adam Ondra trying the first crux of Project Hard". TENDON. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  14. ^ Youtube, ed. (September 14, 2016). "Adam Ondra on the second crux of Project Hard". TENDON. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  15. ^ Youtube, ed. (July 8, 2019). "Adam Ondra #21: The hardest route in the world". Adam Ondra. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  16. ^ Youtube, ed. (June 19, 2016). "Project Hard (Silence) Teaser". Adam Ondra. Retrieved August 1, 2017.