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#59773 - 08/24/11 03:56 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: GOclimb]
Coppertone Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
Originally Posted By: GOclimb
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


Still not really the same thing. Many of us have countless years of experience and are accomplished climbers and have highly developed levels of skill and self awareness and still choose to not solo. Why? In my case it is a combination of family responsibilities and an unwillingness to take the extra chance that should something happen beyond my control that I would fall without any backup. A bee could sting you, a hold could break, a foot could slip just to name a few. When soloing this could be catastrophic, while when using gear this would simply be and enjoyable ride.

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#59801 - 08/25/11 03:50 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Coppertone]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Boston
Coppertone, of course it's up to the individual, and for most people there are more reasons *not* to solo than there are to do so. So while I agree with the basic point of your post, I disagree with this:

Originally Posted By: Coppertone
A bee could sting you, a hold could break, a foot could slip just to name a few. When soloing this could be catastrophic, while when using gear this would simply be and enjoyable ride.


I don't know about you, but when I solo (which is rare) - I do so on relatively easy ground for me. Which is not to say that something bad might not happen - that's not my point. My point is that on that same type of ground, climbing roped, I typically place very little gear.

So a roped fall in the same place would not be "an enjoyable ride". It might turn out fine if I was lucky, but more likely it would mean broken bones at best.

I'm not saying you should or shouldn't solo. I agree that the consequences for a lapse or an unlucky event can be much more severe when soloing. But IMO, all the same things that should make one think twice about soloing (additional family responsibilities, lessened capabilities due to age or injury, out of practice, off your mental game, etc) should equally make one think twice about all kinds of _roped_ objectives.

I wonder if this is part of the reason why some climbers seem to gravitate toward sport climbing as they get older.

GO

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#59802 - 08/25/11 04:25 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: GOclimb]
tallgirlnyc Offline
member

Registered: 05/12/08
Posts: 194
Loc: Cold Spring NY
I have started to climb the slabs on Breakneck wearing my climbing shoes and a helmet as my only gear. It's not necessarily a technical climb....but it is as close to free soloing that I've come and there are sections that if you do fall...it's a long way down and you are going to get hurt.

I have found that I like the feeling and the challenge...but I am extra careful to not make a move without knowing I can reverse it. There is a lot more mental energy that I expend.

I have to say though, that it is a thrill.

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#59804 - 08/25/11 04:29 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Coppertone]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Originally Posted By: Coppertone
Originally Posted By: GOclimb
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


Still not really the same thing. Many of us have countless years of experience and are accomplished climbers and have highly developed levels of skill and self awareness and still choose to not solo. Why? In my case it is a combination of family responsibilities and an unwillingness to take the extra chance that should something happen beyond my control that I would fall without any backup. A bee could sting you, a hold could break, a foot could slip just to name a few. When soloing this could be catastrophic, while when using gear this would simply be and enjoyable ride.



The reason why some people who are experienced don't solo is probably more complex. For me, I am looking for the perfect climb, something clean and free of defects. This means its going to be hard and if its hard I will probably fall.

I agree with what GoClimb has been saying. In Squamish I watched a very competent solo'ist doing a route (Yorkshire Gripper), which was a joy to watch, although to watch other people do the exact same route with a rope made me want to puke.

I do have to say some people I've seen solo seem to be delusional about their ability. Its important to be absolutely honest with yourself about your ability.

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#59806 - 08/25/11 10:18 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Chas]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
Where's that Dead Horse emoticon when you need it?

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#59810 - 08/25/11 11:44 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Mike Rawdon]
cfrac Offline
addict

Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 462
Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
Where's that Dead Horse emoticon when you need it?


He's not dead yet...


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#59821 - 08/27/11 01:53 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: cfrac]
tallgirlnyc Offline
member

Registered: 05/12/08
Posts: 194
Loc: Cold Spring NY
come on Mike, did you forget this is gunks.com....
we love to flog topics ad infinitum because we only have 10 posters...

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#59822 - 08/27/11 02:20 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: tallgirlnyc]
Coppertone Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
I forgot that I had posted previously so I need to repost my same opinion.

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#59823 - 08/27/11 11:34 AM Here's an example of safe soloing [Re: tallgirlnyc]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5972
Loc: 212 land

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#59825 - 08/27/11 02:21 PM Re: Here's an example of safe soloing [Re: oenophore]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2676
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
An excellent example of great form but not so good technique, Oeno. Everyone knows she should be more "fierce" and stare into the lens, but still, she does have great form.

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