Watch Adam Ondra Make a Brutal 9b First Ascent in the Czech Republic

This Christmas, the world’s most prolific sport climber delivered an early gift to himself and the climbing masses. Taurus, 9b, takes a heinous line up the steep limestone at his home cliff of Byci Skala. Near Brno, Czech Republic, the route became the second hardest in the country after a 9b+ by — you guessed it — Adam Ondra.

Ondra redpointed Taurus on Thursday, December 23, after putting a fair amount of work into the opening boulder problem. He said that if the approximately five-metre segment stood alone, he would grade it 8c+ (Fontainebleau) — a hair easier than the two most challenging boulder problems in the world.

Adam Ondra tops off a busy Christmas season with ‘Taurus’

The nine-move sequence looks prohibitive in the grainy send video. Ondra holds things that don’t look like holds, contorts his knees and hips to execute bizarre footwork, and of course, snarls and screams.

He sticks what looks like the most improbable move on the route around 40 seconds. (I can’t do it justice with a description — a term that came to mind was “ice cream cone.”) After that, the difficulty eases back to 8b. Ondra executes it in typical machine-like fashion.

The route doesn’t look longer than 13 metres. But any sport route with a crux as hard as 8C+ should warrant a big number. And if anyone knows how to determine top-end sport climbing difficulty, it’s Ondra. Taurus is his 26th ascent of a route 9b or harder. Of those 26, a staggering 18 are first ascents.

The FA capped off a busy holiday run-up for the 28-year-old Czech. Days before topping out Taurus, he added Kout pikle to Byci Skala, just down the cliff. He “conservatively” graded the route at 9a.

In between the ascents, Ondra and his wife Iva announced she’s pregnant with their first child. If the child arrives at or near its due date in May, it will be born under the Zodiac sign of Taurus the bull.