I think it seems surprising to people at the Gunks, on a weekend, because it is such a busy place. But whenever I go to Joshua Tree, which is also very busy but more dispersed, I see people free-soloing all the time, and nobody thinks anything of it. For sure some of those routes are much more committing that someone doing one of the easier(for them) Gunks routes, with the various ledge systems.

My opinion? Unless the free soloist is climbing through while someone else is on a route, they have every right to do climb. Someone mentioned non-consenting but..... the same could be said for seeing any number of clusterf888 dangerous situations any weekend at the Gunks. Is the 5-whatever free solo at 4-5 grades below their lead limit REALLY any more dangerous that the fresh-from-the gym, with a stop at REI for a rack n rope, 5whatever gym climber leading at their gym limit grade? I don't think so....