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#59574 - 08/10/11 02:52 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: TerrieM]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
"..Good afternoon! I live in Krasnoyarsk; ... many go with equipment - cords, delays, carbines. The basic danger on Columns not absence of a cord, but insects, the spiders called (?) carrying fatal chronic diseases."
awesome. now those russians are genius! picture all uses for a carbine slung on your back. shooting the spiders (must be huge!) other hostile creatures or fellow soloist in the way. and then, when you come off you can take care of your self on the way down. the few times I soloed it felt exhilerating, yes, but wrong. I can admire Croft, he's the only one I have a feeling will grow old which is the ultimate trophy for that crowd.

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#59620 - 08/14/11 12:51 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: phlan]
stoopid Offline
journeyman

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 67
Loc: West Sand Lake, NY
I'll stand up to you fuckers. I won't live in your world of denial and mental gymnastics. Twist reality into whatever shape you need to continue to do whatever you want, it doesn't change reality.

Civility out the window when people's lives are in actual danger from words.

Solists are sick, they need help. They become the circus sideshow of rock climbing in the public's mind. Freaks. End of story.

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#59625 - 08/14/11 02:37 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: stoopid]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 710
Loc: NYC
Stoopid, if you can't see the relationship between the risks of soloing and the risks of all climbing then I'd say you are the one in a world of denial.

There was a very interesting old conversation on supertopo that I came across recently, in a thread about the Bachar-Yerian route. The conversation was between Peter Haan and Tom Higgins. Higgins admitted that he used to climb with a solo system using an ascender as a brake on the rope. Haan described the system as crazy, and while Higgins admitted that yes, it was crazy, he also had some other relevant insights:

Quote:
...there's much food for thought in your post, Peter, not just about me and my motives, but the motives for any solo climbing. For instance, recall there is this thing called solo climbing without any belay system whatsoever! If rope solo with jumar is crazy, then what can one make of a true solo? Peek back at Stefan Schiller pictured on this very thread, sans rope if I read it right, standing there calmly in the middle of the BY, death only a broken knob away.

And yet, you will rightly counter, climbing with a flawed system takes a special kind of self delusion very distinct from the mentality of the no rope solo climber. In one case, the fool has fooled himself about possible consequences; in the other, presumably there is no self delusion as he/she knows sure death is the risk taken. But note the bit of craziness in this position too - we admire clear vision flirting with death but shake our heads at a jujitsu mental machination resulting in much the same risk.

In any case, I indeed had deluded myself, presuming the hefty looking jumar would hold some sort of fall and, what the heck, I wouldn't fall anyhow and the thing was some sort of backup even if not perfect and … you can see the kind of self talk leading to my path. But here again, things are not simple. I think there are shades of my madness in the whole mental game of a first ascent. We all proceed with a bit of self delusion on bare Tuolumne granite, or is it love and hope, when making a hard - we think reversible - move some distance out from the little bolt below looking more paltry by the moment, committing a bit more toward what looks like the next bolt stance or is it too small or slick a depression to stand in and get the drill set and start to tap and ...

I sense we are moving to a new thread topic on solo mentality or maybe another on the first ascent mentality and motive. But staying with solo mentality, perhaps we could hear, Peter, about your self talk in soloing El Cap when the self belay system you used (was it a prussic?) got toward its safety limits, or what Bachar tells himself doing no rope solo at near his climbing limits, to argue against the broken hold beyond all his powers to control, and where is Croft or Gill on the same issue and the other true soloists. Perhaps we will find there too some specks of delusion by which we all proceeded and, I would argue, still proceed on and off the walls because some realities must be denied, at least sometimes.


Link to the thread-- Higgins goes by the name Long Ago.

I was kind of blown away by Higgins' eloquence in this little passage. He stated so much better than I ever could the position I now take towards soloing. Stoopid, you see soloists as sick, as suffering from obsession or delusion. But the soloist knows and acknowledges the risks he or she is taking, and may have better control over his or her situation than many of us with a rope. The climber with a rope may often take the same risks. Is this latter climber aware of it? If not, is the deluded climber with a rope better than a soloist because of the gear he or she is carrying, or worse?
_________________________
It's true, I have a blog. http://climbandpunishment.blogspot.com/

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#59627 - 08/14/11 03:46 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: stoopid]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5977
Loc: 212 land
I'll stand up to you fuckers.

Ah, what courage!

Soloists are sick, they need help.

What sort of help do you propose? If such help is costly, might you charitably pay for it?
_________________________

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#59629 - 08/14/11 04:32 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: oenophore]
whatthegunks Offline
member

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 136
Loc: High Falls, NY
Fight the power, Stoopid.

On the other hand, think about what a money suck this roped climbing stuff is. If everyone soloed there'd be no gear companies constantly bombarding us with advertising gimmickry and no evil guides and Self Rescue Industrial Complex. Gym climbers wouldn't leave the gym. The cliffs would be free of all the tattered convenience rappel anchors and violating bolt holes. It would be a lot quieter out there on sunny autumn weekends, no deli lines for a spin up Betty or gang toproping of Rhododendron, more room for raptors and rock tripe. If climbing had become what folks like Jim Erickson and Bachar dreamt about as starry eyed twenty year olds we'd all probably be golfing.

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#59630 - 08/14/11 04:38 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: oenophore]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 710
Loc: NYC
By the way, if it is considered poor taste to solo in front of others then someone should put up a sign or something because the word has not gotten out. Yesterday, on a pleasant crowded Saturday in the Gunks I saw two soloists at work.

One was a young guy, I later learned his name and that he works as a guide-- he walked by us on the GT Ledge as we were setting up for pitch two of Keep on Struttin'. We then watched as he soloed up the direct start to the CCK crack, and then ended with the right-hand traditional CCK finish.

I don't know how he got back down (maybe reversing Updraft?) but he then walked by us again on the GT Ledge.

Later in the day my partner Adrian was doing an awesome job leading Retribution. Next to us a leader took a fall on Nosedive, and then an older, slightly portly guy with curly hair who was sitting across the road on the Mental Block said "That's why they call it Nosedive! It was my first leader fall." I hadn't noticed him before this. But then I saw him get up and solo the direct start to Double Clutch. He pulled the crux move (which a few weeks ago I tried but couldn't do at all!), then down-soloed the regular start, traversing left and down. I didn't recognize him but for some reason I decided to imagine he's a famous old-school climber.

We also witnessed a decidedly dangerous fall on No Glow, in which a leader, with a rope and gear, seemed lost, unable to find the line (on the 5.4 first pitch), ran it out significantly between placements, and then from almost at the GT Ledge took a swinging, hard fall-- perhaps 30 feet!-- into a ledge. He got right up and seemed intent on continuing but his partners insisted he come down.

I sincerely hope this third guy is okay, and that he went to a hospital to get checked for internal injuries. I hope it isn't inappropriate to comment on him without the knowledge that it all worked out fine for him, but my point should be obvious. One of these three climbers was taking significant, unappreciated risks. And it wasn't a soloist. Who here was deluded?


Edited by SethG (08/14/11 04:50 PM)
_________________________
It's true, I have a blog. http://climbandpunishment.blogspot.com/

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#59631 - 08/14/11 04:44 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: oenophore]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
The evolution of an angry man

7/1:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
So I'm not against free soloing, it just seems out of place in The Gunks.


7/1:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I appreciate all the responses to this, as they are all well thought out and expressed. It's rare on the internet to have a place with differing views remain as civil as this one generally does


7/7:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I'm not sure I'd go as far as banning the practice, or think scornfully of those who engage in it...


8/7:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I see every needless death of a soloist as a indictment against the entire soloing community. Shame on all of you.


8/14:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I'll stand up to you fuckers...Civility out the window when people's lives are in actual danger from words.

Soloists are sick, they need help. They become the circus sideshow of rock climbing in the public's mind. Freaks...

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#59632 - 08/14/11 04:49 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: rg@ofmc]
Rickster Offline
old hand

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 850
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
LAUGH OUT LOUD!

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#59763 - 08/23/11 09:13 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: rg@ofmc]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
The evolution of an angry man

7/1:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
So I'm not against free soloing, it just seems out of place in The Gunks.


7/1:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I appreciate all the responses to this, as they are all well thought out and expressed. It's rare on the internet to have a place with differing views remain as civil as this one generally does


7/7:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I'm not sure I'd go as far as banning the practice, or think scornfully of those who engage in it...


8/7:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I see every needless death of a soloist as a indictment against the entire soloing community. Shame on all of you.


8/14:
Originally Posted By: stoopid
I'll stand up to you fuckers...Civility out the window when people's lives are in actual danger from words.

Soloists are sick, they need help. They become the circus sideshow of rock climbing in the public's mind. Freaks...




I'd bet dollars to donuts that this was his plan all along.

On rc.com, the civility would have broken down on page 2, and he'd be enjoying wallowing in the mud. How amusing that here on a site populated by so many Massholes and in-your-face New Yorkers, he cannot engage in the screw-you-too-buddy level he desires.

GO

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#59764 - 08/23/11 09:16 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: GOclimb]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Here's my response to the idea that roped climbing is reasonably safe, while solo climbing is reckless:

Free solo is not safer or less safe, it's just that the safety is not gear-dependant.

Think of it this way. A small child cannot safely navigate a flight of stairs. He needs to have a parent stand behind him to guard against toppling over and falling to his death. But with experience comes competence. Just so, all the gear in the world wouldn't be enough to keep my colleague (who's only climbed in a gym a few times) from dying, if he were to try to lead a 5.7 G route. Yet I or most any competent trad leader could breeze up it safely. Continuing further up the skill-chain, my death route would be like a flight of stairs to a more skilled climber. Make sense?

Free soloing is not necessarily reckless. Safety is not really about gear, or certain "correct" ways of using it. Free soloing can simply be the expression of a different type of safety mechanism, applied by a highly skilled climber who understands deeply his own strengths and limitations.

GO

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