Adam Ondra Onsights ‘El Gran Bellanco’ in Montanejos, Spain

Czech ace Adam Ondra has onsighted El Gran Bellanco. At 5.14c/d (8c+/9a), it’s one of the most difficult routes in the Pilas Alcalinas (Alkaline Batteries) sector in Montanejos, Spain.

Ondra came to Montanejos on the invitation of Juan Jose Andujar, aka “Hippie Actitud.”

“Hippie saw the potential in the difficult routes of Montanejos for some time and was convinced that Ondra could find the ideal setting for some projects here,” wrote the Spanish site Destino Climbing.

map of The Montanejo area, north of Valencia, Spain.

The Montanejos area, red pointer, north of Valencia, Spain.


Ondra warmed up by climbing Pilas Alcalinas (7b+) and Manolete Pa Que Te Metes (8a+). After a short rest, he decided to onsight the difficult El Gran Bellanco. Other climbers stopped their own projects to watch Ondra at work.

El Gran Bellanco was first bolted in 1997 by Cristina Gonzalez and Joaquin Lechuga, and redone five years later by Nuria Marti and Pedro Pons. Pons was the first to climb the line, in 2003.

The Pilas Alcalinas sector has about 20 difficult routes, some of them of Grade 9. The place became very popular among climbers in the 1980s. Since then, it has remained an important yardstick for the very best.

Apart from El Gran Bellanco (8c+/9a), its notable test pieces include Exotica (8c+); Idolos Con Pies de Barro (8b); Hidraulicos de Plastico (7c); Estipulo Mucho Culo (8b); Efecto Mariposa (8b); Manolete Pa Que Te Metes (8a+), Pilas Alcalinas (7b+); and El Rey Lagarto (8a).

The most difficult route there is El Maquinista (9a+). Ondra tested it and suggested that it could even be 9b+.

“Very happy to onsight [El Gran Bellanco],” wrote Ondra after his climb. “The execution was perfect, and I didn’t make any mistakes.”

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.