|3rd Sep 2017
|FA and first confirmed 9c. Video
The Hanshelleren Cave in Flatanger, Norway is a place that looks as though it was designed by a world-class sculptor. From afar it looks like a behemothic mouth on the side of the hills. A closer look at the rock reveals the most perfect granite imaginable – awash with geometric features, swirls, and gradients.
Flatanger became a second home for Adam Ondra for many years as he established and sent numerous routes, inspired by the area’s majesty. The cave lends itself to steep, hard, three-dimensional climbing and contains numerous world-class test pieces with the likes of Thor’s Hammer, 5.15a, Nordic Marathon 5.15b/c, and Change 5.15c, many of which were developed and FA’d by Adam. At the pinnacle of these hard climbs is Ondra’s Silence.
The forty-five-meter route climbs through one of the steepest sections of the cave. The first half of the route is estimated to be around 8b/5.13d. After climbing this, the real business begins– three distinct hard boulder problems stacked on top of each other. Ondra grades the first of these at V15 and says it is one of the hardest sequences he has ever climbed, tied in or not. This difficulty is inflated by the 20 meters of pumpy climbing that must be first surpassed.
The first crux involves ten moves of very unusual climbing – a cryptic sequence, where Ondra would flip upside down to stab his foot into an insecure toe jam and move through a few handholds in this position into a brutal drop-knee, before reorienting right-side-up. After this, a sub-par bat-hang rest is gained. This rest warranted specific training for Ondra to be able to get any recovery.
After this physically involved rest, there is a short and powerful V13 boulder (crux number two). From here, there is another poor rest before the third crux, a V8; this is not a hard grade for Ondra but after climbing a 5.13d, into a V15, into a V13, it is no gimme. A final rest is gained, this one being very solid, before one more easy (V5), but potentially heartbreaking boulder problem to the anchors.
Wall of Glory
First Ascent: Adam Ondra
3rd Sep 2017
Silence is yet to have seen any subsequent ascents. The route’s specific and unique style definitely intimidates many of the world’s best climbers. British trad climber Pete Whittaker messed around on the crux to see if it could be made easier with traditional crack techniques but did not seriously project the route.
Stefano Ghisolfi is the only climber who has appeared to put any legitimate effort into it, having made some solid links in a 2022 trip. He plans to return this year.