Adam Ondra, Will Bosi and Pete Whittaker survived Czech Adršpach and tasted some legendary sandstone test-pieces

Created by: Adam Ondra
2023/11/19

(Described by Adam)

I feel very lucky to live in a country with a sandstone climbing tradition. Not that I spent there that much time in my life. My hometown Brno (Czechia), is relatively far from sandstone climbing paradise, but all the climbing experiences I've ever had there were always very intense and memorable. Climbing on these towers with big runouts in between protection made me experience climbing in different ways, appreciate the more adventurous part of climbing, and trust myself more on bigger walls in the Alps or Yosemite. I am pretty sure if it wasn't for the days that I spent on the Czech sandstone, I would have had way more troubles in Yosemite.

World-class stars get to know that addictive feeling and the strict local ethics

What is it that I find so attractive about Czech sandstone, and why I recently invited Pete Whittaker and Will Bosi to Adršpach - arguably the most classic place of Czech sandstone climbing? Because it is like climbing summits on a big mountain, even though they are relatively short and they have a short approach. The feeling of reaching the summit after a big physical and mental fight just feels the same. The summit is always beautiful and nicely warm from the sun, and there is always a book to sign. This feeling is addictive, and it is hard to get the same satisfaction from regular sport climbing or bouldering.

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230911093250_res

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230911112401 (kopie)

Photo by Petr Chodura

The ethics are strong. You can use bolts (glue-ins) or rings (typical protection), but only very sparsely and when it is necessary. Metal camming devices or nuts are not allowed as they would be too aggressive to our soft sandstone. The only way of opening routes is ground up. The topic of chalk is controversial and eternally discussed, and let's say that if you use the classic routes in cracks, you should definitely not use chalk. All of this makes a unique blend that makes the climbing here so special.

So much courage, passion and enthusiasm

We spent 2 days in Adršpach with Pete and Will, and our primary focus was on climbing cracks - the most classic crack climbs we could find. I definitely don't feel like I could guide someone in Adršpach, so we got a lot of recommendations from other friends. As we were filming all the lines, it was demanding to get the ropes up the towers as they typically don't have an easy route to reach the top. For example, the easiest way up the tower called Zub (Tooth) is the same route that we climbed, Hubařská - a really hard line from the 60s that doesn't get climbed very often.
Pete did not really feel his best but still showed all the psyche to tackle these incredible but scary routes. The first route was Husarský kousek, a route graded IXa of sandstone grading (roughly translates to 6c+ in French), but never ever underestimate the grades on Czech sandstone. It is probably the most sandbagged climbing area in the world! There was an incredible variety of crack climbing that I was leading, and Pete would follow. The next one was Bílé myšky (White Mice), an even easier route with grade VIIIb (6b in French). However, it has a steep off-width section roughly 15m above the last protection. It is crazy to think about climbers in the 70s making the first ascent...

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230910192348_res

Photo by Petr Chodura

The highlight of day one was Hubařská, IXa (6c+), first ascended by Karel "Kokša" Hauschke in the 60s! The most amazing thing was that we had Kokša watching us from below, and we could talk before and after our ascents. The fact that Kokša climbed this route barefoot only with a rope tied around his chest is just mind-boggling... So much courage and passion... The route is definitely hard even today and doesn't get many ascents.

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230910174916_res

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230910181825 (kopie)

Photo by Petr Chodura

Unique route with VII (5c) to Xa (7b+) grade

On the second day, we would check out a famous grove called "Juan Gébls genius" by Czech climbing legend Petr "Špek" Slanina. It was one of the most unique climbs I have ever done, and I had put in a lot of fight despite a very low grade of Špek (VII-IX, which means any between 5c to 7a in French). I think it deserves Xa in sandstone grading (7b+) by local standards, which still means it is a pretty crazy route. End of day 2 was on Milenci (Lovers) tower where Pete and I climbed Něžnost IXb (7a) by Bernd Arnold, while Will Bosi and Špek climbed Dlouhý kout VIIc (6a). This landmark of Adršpach and possibly the highest tower of this lovely area was a great way to end our trip.

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230911124208_res

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230911112113_res

Photo by Petr Chodura

You can choose and try all the gear I used in Adršpach on HUDY. Then watch the movie by Honza Šimánek on my YouTube channel a head right to the rocks!

Watch the commented uncut ascent from Adršpach in the Tips & Tricks on my YouTube channel

If you want to watch the full uncut commented climb of the epic Hubařská route in the heart of Adršpach crag, let's go to my new member section called Tips & Tricks on my YouTube channel and become a "Climbing fanatic!". You can enjoy a lot of climbing content, special offers, bonus episodes and educational videos with me, my coaches and other climbers there. See you in the membership section on my YouTube

Petr Chodura, Adrspach, CZ, 230910173134_res (kopie)

Enjoy Tips & Tricks in the new membership sections on my YouTube channel

Check out photos from Adršpach by Petr Chodura 

You might be interested in

I Thought It Was Impossible to Climb Inga 8c+/9a
Full article
Can I Climb Skyscraper in Prague?
Full article
Potentially World's Hardest Trad Route - Bon Voyage E12 (9a)
Full article

Show all