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#58654 - 07/08/11 10:53 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: retroscree]
schwortz Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 308
i still remember reading worrall's article and harmston's report the first time around...when i did the wflt i spent a lot of belay time staring at dano's jump site....its a really cool place....stellar view...big air....no trouble seeing why he was psyched on that jump. sad that the last jump went the way it did. ultimately dano wasnt killed soloing and like harmston says, his setups were bomber and probably a lot 'safer' than half of the shit your average tom dick and harry are doing on laurel or rhododendron every weekend.

bachar, lacelle, humar, reardon, hersey all died soloing, but its possible that all of them would have been killed had they had a rope on - bachar possibly by rock fall, lacelle by an avalanche, humar by the broken leg and exposure, reardon by a wave, and hersey by a fall on wet rock. rock fall kills people on rope from impact, the resulting fall or both, avalances take roped and unroped parties all the time - when you're hiking on snow unroped few people label you a selfish soloist. a broken leg at high altitude is likely to kill you no matter how many people you're roped to. reardon might not have been in the position to be killed by a wave had he not been soloing, but surfers, swimmers, kayakers and boaters/sailors are killed by waves and drowning all the time. for hersey, like bachar, we'll never really know what happened, but falls from wet rock are common, and have resulted in death and injury while on rope many times.

when i have kids i may stop soloing too. but soloing isn't the most or only dangerous part of climbing. climbing is the dangerous part of climbing.

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#58656 - 07/08/11 01:38 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: schwortz]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
a hold coming off or a slippery hold is much less likely to kill you if you've got a rope on. this is true even if you are the best of the best.

with all the name dropping, why hasn't Fritz Wiessner, most famous free soloist of the Gunks, been mentioned? quite admirable that he lived to a ripe old age and testimony to his skill.

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#58657 - 07/08/11 02:22 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: phlan]
schwortz Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 308
good point. i was trying to keep it in the "modern" era but the old masters had this stuff down. if i was half the climber fritz was....

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#58661 - 07/08/11 02:31 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: schwortz]
Welle Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 213
Loc: Western Slope
humar was kind of known for his reckless behavior, not sure it's fair to include other free soloists' freak accidents in the same category as his...

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#58662 - 07/08/11 02:39 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Welle]
phlan Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/11/00
Posts: 2778
Loc: Gardiner, NY
funny thing, I just realized Fritz didn't slow down his soloing when he had children. but in the prewar days when everyone was climbing with hemp ropes and almost no protection, climbing was completely different anyway. the leader was effectively free soloing most of the time. when more modern gear came along later in his career, I suppose his old habits didn't die.

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#58663 - 07/08/11 02:53 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Welle]
schwortz Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 308
huh? lots of people have called lots of those soloists reckless. "reckless" or not the accident, resulting injury, and circumstances that led to humar's death would likely have killed a roped climber in the same situation.

and on what may i ask do you base your description? have you read much about him? or by him? i'd say he was known for some seriously impressive climbing first. only then to be overshadowed by a rescue on one climb and his death on another.

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#58664 - 07/08/11 03:54 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: schwortz]
GOclimb Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 2362
Loc: Boston
In free soloing, as in any other climbing, people can be more or less cautious.

John Long has a good story about soloing with Bachar, in which he allows himself to be pressured, subtly, into pushing beyond the territory he should have been comfortable with. He almost fell, and beat himself up over his own recklessness.

This fellow did fall: http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2515563

I guess my point is that we all know that some climbers are more cautious, and others seem totally oblivious to their own ineptitude. As a rule, we condemn the roped climbers who we see doing ridiculous things (consider the rope cutting group on High E a couple years ago) but defend the unroped ones.

I don't know if I could ever condemn someone for soloing any more than I'd condemn someone for roped climbing. But perhaps we could draw a finer distinction and admit that some folks, whether roped or unroped, do dumb things, make poor decisions, and in very rare cases might even be a clueless fool.

GO

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#58665 - 07/08/11 04:09 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Coppertone]
Mim Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/27/00
Posts: 1000
Loc: Gunks
Originally Posted By: Coppertone
...Soloing is the ultimate indulgence in selfishness. ...
I realize that this is a different tangent to this thread but I think that it is an important one.


Thank you for your post. You took the words right out of my mouth. There is absolutely no margin of errors in soloing, whereas professions aforesaid mentionned do. The only activity that comes close to soloing is base jumping.

For other climbers' sake, please keep your soloing a private venture. Or ask neighboring climbers if they mind...
_________________________
Mim

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#58666 - 07/08/11 04:58 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Mim]
TerrieM Online   content
addict

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 426
Loc: Gunks in Summer, Southwest in ...
And so the consensus is....there's no consensus!

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#58671 - 07/08/11 07:24 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: TerrieM]
Coppertone Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
I think this is a great topic for discussion and many of us who respect each others opinions can agree to disagree.

As far as I'm concerned once you are no longer solo and have children depending upon you to be there in their lives as they grow up and when they grown up the decision to solo is a completely different one. You can rationalize it all you want that those who solo do so well with in their abilities, are extremely focused and are very safe but that still doesn't change the fact that any small mistake or external intrusion that would be inconsequential when climbing on rope could easily mean death when soloing. Also comparing a soldier, fireman or policeman to a soloist is really not a fair comparison. All of those are professions that are not only supporting ones family but are also serving an extremely important public service. While some climbers do so for a living, do they have to solo to earn a living? Again I think that soloing absolutely has its place in climbing and when done right is about as pure as it gets. That said there are responsibilities in this world that trump your personal desire to solo and express yourself. If you don't have children then you may not really be able to have the perspective to view it that way and if you do have children and still think soloing is ok to do then we can just disagree.

Either way this has turned into a pretty interesting thread.

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