Climbing with Connor: Screams of Silence

Adam Ondra on Silence.

Adam Ondra on Silence.

Climbing is vastly different from other sports. Although it does hold worldwide competitions, the most significant part of climbing is an individual one. There are no referees or opposing teams when you are out in nature trying to climb to the top of a boulder or a cliff. At its purest, climbing is a battle between you and the rock. The climber is pulling down on the jagged points of imperfection on the stone, trying to advance up the features of the rock, all while this inanimate piece of sediment lies as still as it has for thousands of years. Unyielding and impartial to any sends, falls, or screams.

In this past month, there has been a fascinating following of one pro climber’s attempt to redo the impossible. In a beautiful cave hidden in Flatanger, Norway, lies some of the hardest and most infamous climbing routes in the world; Change(5.15c)*, Illusionist(5.14c) [1], Nordic Maraton (5.15), and Silence (15.15d).  

Silence is the undisputed hardest climb in the world, first sent in 2017 by the undisputed best climber in the world, Adam Ondra. Ondra pushed the envelope of climbing in 2017 when he established this new frontier of 5.15d after years of work and training for this one purpose. The route has gone unrepeated for five years now due to its heinous holds and strenuous movements and it remains the only proposed 5.15d in the world [2].

Now, however, Stefano Ghisolfi, a 29-year-old Italian climber, has made the trek to the beautiful location to begin the possible years-long quest of ticking the beast of Silence. Ghisolfi is a world-class sport climber who has numerous first ascents to his name and has repeated multiple 5.15cs. Early this year Ghisolfi was involved in some drama when he repeated Alex Megos’s proposed 5.15d Bibliography and downgraded it to 5.15c. This is not unheard of in the elite climbing community and Megos accepted the input, but it goes to show just how strong Ghisolfi is. 

Ghisolfi has been posting very detailed vlogs of his progress in Flatanger to his youtube channel, showing him looking for new ways to pass through segments and talking to Ondra and other pros about advice for the route. This strategy of transparency is captivating to anyone interested in this almost unbelievable feat of climbing but is also a smart move on raking in sponsorship money to be able to stay in the country longer. The videos are certainly top-tier climbing films which show just how impossible the moves are. 

I would certainly recommend checking out Adam Ondra’s youtube video on his send of Silence as well as all of Stefano Ghisolfi’s recent videos of the cave route.


  1. In America, we use the Yosemite Decimal System to grade sport climbing routes. Usually starting at 5.5, continuing to 5.10 where it then increases to 5.10a, 5.10b, and so on up to 5.15d. 
  2. Because it has yet to be repeated, the route’s grade has not been confirmed by another climber but few doubt its difficulty and Ondra’s credibility.