Help grow the archive! drop a knowledge bomb here.


Wander back into the depths of what is perhaps the most awe-inspiring granite cave in the world and you will find Silence – the world’s first 9c/5.15d. This is the highest grade ever assigned to a sport climb and is matched only by Seb Bouin’s 2022 route, DNA.


Sport Route






45m (150ft)

First Ascent

Adam Ondra

Date of FA



Ascent Log

ClimberSuggested GradeDateNotes
Adam Ondra9c/5.15d3rd Sep 2017FA and first confirmed 9c. Video

Climb Profile


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. 

Ondra hanging in the spectacular Hanshelleren Cave ©Björn Pohl

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 Route

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.

Ondra and his cryptic foot sequences on Silence ©Pavel Blazek

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.

Ondra taking one of the only good rests on Silence ©Pavel Blažek

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. 

When Adam clipped the chains, Silence became the first confirmed 9c sport route in the world. Seb Bouin’s DNA is the second 9c.

Wall of Glory


First Ascent: Adam Ondra

3rd Sep 2017

Ondra bolted Silence way back in 2012-2013 while he was climbing Change, but cast it aside for the time stating, “I could sort of imagine doing the individual moves, but I could see that linking the whole sequence, with its 8C boulder, all the way from the ground just looked way too ridiculous”. He began seriously dedicating himself to the ambitious project in 2015.

Successfully climbing Silence required colossal effort from Ondra. This speaks to the route’s difficulty as Adam is known for quickly putting down the world’s hardest climbs. It took Ondra 40 days of effort spread out over seven trips to Flatanger to successfully climb it. During this 2015-2017 time period, Ondra partook in hyperspecific training and visualization exercises to increase his chances of sending. He even built a gym in Flatanger in order to train and warm up while in the area. 

Ondra finally sent Silence on September 3rd, 2017. Reflecting on the climb he stated, “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.” Because of this feeling combined with the inner silence and tranquility he claims to have felt while climbing it, he gave the route its name – Silence.

Adam Ondra Silence 9c hardest sport climb
Adam on Silence ©Pavel Blažek


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.

Expert crack climber, Pete Whittaker, taking a blast on the crack section of Silence. Photo taken from IG/Pete/Whittaker

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.

Silence FAQs


Video Library


Born and bred in Atlanta, Georgia, Landon cut his teeth on the rocks around Chattanooga and the Red River Gorge. These days, you'll find him splitting his time between guiding fellow adventurers in Moab, Utah, and living out his nomadic dreams on the open road.

Action Directe
Es Pontas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top