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#60014 - 09/07/11 02:20 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: stoopid]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
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Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Personally, I think that … it is wrong to purposely do it [solo] in front of people who have not chosen to observe the event. Doing it for an audience introduces all kinds of unholy psychological cross-currents, a situation exacerbated by those who want to market soloing feats for commercial gain.


Originally Posted By: stoopid
Originally Posted By: charliebutters
… it just seems out of place in The Gunks. One of the complaints by a member of my party is that they "really don't want to watch someone die today", and I do have to agree that it's a tad selfish of the climber, knowing there's a real risk for an accident … I haven't slipped or fell on a 5.5 ever. But you won't see me heading up one without a rope. Especially with all the unknowns looming above me on the cliff.


But you do not have to be soloing at all to die climbing. More of my close calls have happened while "tied in" at work. I can climb all the time, not just on the weekends. One time my screw-gate, unbeknownst to me, screwed itself down and open. Before I realized it I was flying through the air "free falling" in space. [Funny … I called to mind Tom Petty's song and could not get it out of my head after it happened] The number of close calls I have had are too many to count. Trust me, now they just are very rare now, but they still will happen. There is "nothing" you can do about them, they are a part of life in the ultimate sense of the word.


To these people who believe they are in full control of their destinies I say, try typing a letter fast and see if you can do it without hitting the wrong keys. Some people only believe dying is for fools and accidents don't happen, [Charlie Sheen Interview Winning]. I will not mention any names, but heard some climbers saying this to another climber, who had broken his back while climbing. I was shocked how little they understood, some people get up unprotected climbs by remaining in denial, but It was not too long after that that these same persons fell and broke all their bones while roped together. Accidents do happen and climbing is dangerous whether you want to admit it or not. You just have to pray and you do all you can to avoid those … accidents. That's all you can do, pray … pray hard!

I believe the thinking that says that soloing is dangerous and climbing is safe is the same kind of thinking that says it is OK to bringing your children up to the cliff with helmets, not understanding the ramifications of what you are doing.

For example, all the climbs have piles of loose rocks at the top that fall down any time on their own or that can fall down when the leader gets to the top. If you have to bring your children to the cliff why don't these people who bring their children go to the top first and pick up all the loose rocks off the top of the cliff and then move them to the base in 5 gallon buckets. When they don't they are endangering the welfare of a minor, a judge can order jail time if they get hurt. But who wants to move rocks every weekend they come up, seems over excessive, right? Or what about taking ground falls on your kids when the person holding the rope gets distracted? There are a lot of things here you and your children can learn the hard way.


Climbing is no different than racecar driving or surfing 20' waves with an undertow. Children are not ready to climb, without an intense amount of experienced supervision, and preparation. Climbing with children is like dismantling a nuclear bomb.


One time I brought my son up yellow ridge. On the second pitch I called down to him and told him to untie the rope that I had tied to the anchors. He did that, and then he partially untied a rope attached to his harness and ended up soloing. Good thing he did not fall. Climbing is dangerous, you can die, and if you bring your bring your children up here they can die too, that's the facts plain and simple. As a rule, children do not belong here, they are too young to decide for themselves if they are willing to take these risks.



Furthermore, I am opposed to the idea of the mass marketing of society by the climbing gyms and the garment and gear manufactures. Climbing mountains is for those who have that calling to come here and climb. Mountain climbing is not something monkeys can do or should try. You have to be mechanically inclined and have a natural intuition that already understands and can determined what is going on around you, you have to be a god. You have to be able to make life concerning and complex choices under pressure. And ultimately you have to be willing to take the risk of getting seriously hurt and killing yourself and others. If you are willing to die be a part of someone else dying, go climbing, if not, stay home, find something else to do.


Now someone might ask, then, way do you climb, or allow your son to climb with you, seeing you might kill him? My answer to that is that my son and I do it for a living, we are steeplejacks and hang off ropes with torches and heavy saws. For us climbing is a way to learn and prepare for work. It is how we make our bread and butter. For other people it may be in their blood, or they may need to find the answers to the meaning of life. A good reason to climbing is to understand your responsibility in the world is directly connected to what you do. But I would not say that climbing is something that everyone should try whenever they feel like it, or that the cliff is a great place to bring your children.
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The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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#60016 - 09/07/11 03:01 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Dana]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Dana
Bill R. was often quoted, true, but he would occasionally give demostrations, as well.


I lived with Bill Ravitch at the Uberfall, we were both climbing bums. I knew him better than anyone else that I can think of. We were in the same space within an eye shot of each other for months at a time for a number of years. He had various routines he would go through along the carriage road. He did not take kindly to new people and would give them stern advice. They would often suggest and do strange things thinking they know everything. You could spot them imedatly by what kind of gear they had. Helmets, plenty of runners, large hex nuts, and hiking boots for climbing. My first encounter with Bill was when I accidently shined my flashlight in his eyes while trying to find a place to sleep to the left of Suzy A. He told me: "Get that light out of my eyes or I'll shove it so far down your throat you will have a light shining out of your ass." I would have been less startled if I had seen a bear … I got the point and turned off the flashlight and stood there a few seconds to gather my wits. He was always coming up with cleaver insults. But he really did get tired of talking to new comers.


[I do not believe that either he or I have I soloed in front of crowds to be noticed by them. What we have tried to do is ignore them as much as possible. Maybe that's not altogether true, sometimes I do try and get a reaction. It can be funny, but again, you cannot do that on Frogs Head. The reason I soloed Frogs Head, was because I felt like it. The reason I took forever on it is because I knew what I was doing and wanted to keep it that way. If I cared what people thought I would not have backed off it on the second pitch, or else I would have done something harder. The first pitch of Frogs head is pretty easy, maybe 5.4, so what. I would have rather come there and have seen no one, I am happy I was not bothered too much by the overcrowding, sometimes it gets to me though. Especially when someone is on the same route as I am. That really pisses me off. Grrrrrrrrr]


Bill would from time to time solo Retribution. And he died while he was climbing, but he was tied in. Someone most likely cut his rope. He made a lot of enemies too.


One time I told him I was thinking of soling Low Exposure, I could probably still get away with that now. He told me: "I'll watch." To which I responded, "Never mind, forget it."
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The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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#60017 - 09/07/11 03:27 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: schwortz]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: schwortz
you claim its inappropriate to solo when others are around because those who do not approve are forced to endure....when was the last time you recall being forced to endure a free solo death in the gunks? i can fill this thread with stories of "being forced to endure" noob epics, rescues and ground falls on 5.3, 5.7 or 5.10 in the gunks. maybe they're the ones who should have refrained from climbing when someone else was around.



Well said.


The people that are famous for getting hurt climbing are the newbies as far back as I can remember. Most of them would die falling off the top of the Uberfall. One time RR bumped his head on Yellow Crack. He fell because it was pretty much his first climb of the season. The more experienced climbers do not get hurt very often. However, there is a learning curve before you can get to that point, and also unless you are climbing all the time you forget some things. Yet by the same token you can become relaxed, as did RG where he forgot to tie in and fell out of his harness.


And eventually yes, sooner or later something will happen. It's just a matter of time; you just have to keep climbing to get there. And it does not have to happen while soloing. And most likely it probably won't … that is unless you solo all the time, in which case it will have to happen there since there is no where else for it to happen.
_________________________
The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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#60019 - 09/07/11 04:33 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Rickster]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Mim
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...


Everything can be said to be an indulgence in selfishness to one degree or another. For the most part people are completely unaware of the fact that most of the time whatever they are doing for some else ultimately they are doing it for themselves. Yes, the reason I solo is for myself, why else would I do it? And the reason you are posting this idea is for yourself. I solo things I know I can do, not things I know that you know I can do. Ultimately I feel that most people have no business rock-climbing in the first place because they don't know what they are doing, you yourself would be a good example of my concerns.

So yes, you will object to me soloing Dirty Girty or Low Exposure "Please don't do that while I am climbing within eye distance, I find it very distracting, you could very potentially get hurt and die. And I think it is very selfish of you to push your agenda here on me while I am trying to concentrate on safety."

To such a comment I would respond by saying something like "This is how I relax, I don't have to worry about OSHA, Con-Ed Safety Engineers my employees or you. If I am going to solo something I have already come to grips with a large number of very weighty formalities, and your concerns have already been dealt with a long long time ago … and now this is not the time for me to revisit them for you, so I can now put myself at risk to please and educate you on the fine points of what climbing is all about. How your ideas of safety are completely flawed. Go climb the Matterhorn, go watch people climb the Eiger, then I will have some interest for what you have to say about climbing. In the mean time occupy yourself with inventing ways to keep your squirrels and cats from climbing trees in your own back yard, not with mountain climber here in the mountains. You're not a mountain climber, you have already proved that to the world. Base Jumping and Soloing have nothing at all in common. How do you down climb and reverse a "base jump"? Good day Miss, please leave me alone or I'll call the police."

If I intend on soloing something near my limit it is because I know I can do it safely and there is no chance of me falling off it [which is a lie].
_________________________
The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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#60020 - 09/07/11 04:53 AM Re: Free Soloing [Re: rg@ofmc]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: New Jersey
w


Edited by donald perry (09/07/11 04:25 PM)
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The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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#60026 - 09/07/11 04:26 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: donald perry]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: New Jersey

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Sometimes a free soloist can be a physical, not just psychological damage to those watching. Have a look at

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/A-lesson-In-perserverance/t11066n.html


Climbing is dangerous, anyone can fall at anytime. The writer as well as the people doing the climb seem a little unaware of how dangerous climbing really is.
Having multiple parties on the cliff is not only annoying but also inherently extremely dangerous. This is going to become an increasing problem as time goes on.

When someone is on a route I do not like getting under them. I would rather do something else. And if someone crosses over the top of me I don't tolerate it very well, there is going to be some bitching. I would rather move out of the way until they are done. When people traverses over me and start the upper pitches I put them on notice that if anything falls on me that they will be responsible, at which point I usually try and retreat. In the Gunks I would never consider passing anyone, I have had a lot of things fall on me. I was on Washington Colum dodging maybe 7 or so brick size rocks people were knocking loose with their haul sack, it was infinitely terrifying. I had to unclip and solo out of the belay to avoid having my brains splattered all over the cliff to be eaten by crows.


I rarely drop anything, and I pick up the rocks at the top of the cliff and carry them back up into the woods. But ultimately rock fall is inevitable, it is just a matter of time. If you climb long enough, you will get hit on the head. On these domes, when slabs come loose and start sliding down the cliff will you be surprised? Or if a slab like a bulldozer comes loose with your pro underneath it will you have a knife ready to cut the rope if the rock does not cut it so you can solo? Not likely but it has happened on Cannon Mt.

No knife, no problem (cutting a rope without a knife) [Don't think your rope is so very safe sometimes its not. You never know.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1P5Oh6o1aE

LIMITE VERTICAL [It is more safe to solo than it is to climb under other lots of people, that's my point for the link. And if you bring your babies up to the cliff, you could end up in jail for endangering the welfare of a minor.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3Yzvr4sGvg&feature=related

High Elevation Rope Rescue Accident [There is no such thing as safety in numbers. The more there is, sometimes means that more can go wrong.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQjMUK5vSsY

Rope rescue training gone wrong [Note how many people it takes to screw up. Probably every other person thinks the other one knows what he is doing, this is probably why this happened]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQGc8CGez9U&feature=related

The videos below are about rock fall.

http://vimeo.com/27697291
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0YhlqP1BgE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGzU_sQrMsk
http://vimeo.com/28224601
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1hdf2b7VDI&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGN4zjm4ohc&feature=related
http://vimeo.com/28221780
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The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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#60027 - 09/07/11 06:01 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: donald perry]
retroscree Online   content
enthusiast

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 397
Originally Posted By: donald perry
w

Why don't you knock off this crap? Either stand by what you post or don't bother posting, but removing a post within the edit window is just BS.

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#60031 - 09/07/11 08:14 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: Rickster]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: stoopid
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.
There's tons of risk inherent in climbing, and to increase it soloing is what I'm resisting.


But to get more to the point of what you are referring to, I will agree that soloing is dangerous, but I do not understand that it increases the danger of my roped climbing in the way that I intend on practicing it. Some of my climbing has more soloing in it than others.

Right now I am building up my strength to put in some new route. I am climbing on good protection for the most part, or I top rope. If I cannot find a climbing partner I will solo a 5.4, I can lead things a lot harder than that. So ultimately when I say 5.4 we are pretty much talking about a ladder. People do not use ropes on ladders and I don't go crazy with pro on 5.4's. If you see me spending an hour on something it is because I am being careful and considering coming back down. I cannot afford to fall. I do not want to fall. I cannot fall. I am busy building up cartilage in my joints. Now, I do not want to reverse that and spend the rest of my life in the hospital. It would not be fun by any means. It would be greatly embarrassing. I have no intention of making a carrier of soloing. I remember Rich Perch the Ranger spent a lot of time soloing. One time he eventually was on some 5.8 and the pebble he had his finger over disintegrated and he almost decked. I think soloing is something you have to treat with a lot of respect and care. It is not something you should do randomly or on any climb. It is possible to do it safely, but it is something intense you should try and avoid. In other words soloing all the time is not going to make your soloing any more safer. So don't do it, that's there in the back of my mind.

OK, that said, where am I going. Well, like I said, I want to put up some new routes at Millbrook. Once I start a route I am not going to back down and give it up that easy, this is what climbing really is in the truest sense of the world. There is no ratings established, anything and everything is completely uncertain. I anticipate that a new climb will involve some A4 or A5 on tested pieces several times my body weight that I will have to gingerly climb on up to for some new free climbing. Am I going to place some bolts and eliminate the problems? That's the right thing to do if I follow a lot of thinking on this thread. Or should I try and climb it in the most natural state, where I can leave the climb the very same way I found it?

[These ideas you propose are completely contradictory because every time you lead anything, whenever you get to a new placement, you will be potentially soloing if you cannot get that anticipated gear in or the rope clipped with that potentially extra six or ten feet or so feet of extra rope. Soloing Happens. Climbing is not the safe sport that you think it is, your confused, lets keep that in mind as we go through this thing. The Eiger and the Matterhorn are where climbing started and they are not safe climbs, and they never will be. If you do them you will be doing a lot of soloing with a pack on your back. What is 5.6 is now 5.10. It is what it is, your complaints only show a complete lack of understanding for the sport to begin with. What you say has as much relevance to me as it would have to race car drivers trying to convince them to slow down. I'm not in the race to be safe, I am here to get the trophy get the sponsors, win the race, and ultimately to make a living.]

Go try putting bolts on Scary Area when there is not enough protection on it. That's what I did because that bucket up there is really no bucket at all. The climb is a sand bag for novice climbers with a potential 30' ground fall. I only learned that after I got up there and put in some pro. I almost decked, I had not been climbing long enough to do something of that caliber. Physically I was able, but I still did not know everything, and not enough to be on a climb of that degree of difficulty. I over estimated my ablates. The climb gives a false sense of security where there is none. [Btw, this is not the only climb like this; there are others with other kinds of problems just as significant that I almost died on as well. You end up soloing something where you had no intention for it to begin with! This is what *naturally* can happen when you cannot get that gear in leading that you thought you could.] After hearing all the complaints and getting a different perspective, I went back and filled the two holes I made with pebbles I hammered in. Happily no one was able to find the holes hanging on a rope, I suppose I should go back there and check on it. Eventually Mark Robinson put a new bolt next to the old one, which was tin on a piece of shit. But you can still hit the ground anyway. Today I would say that I do not like bolts. If I was putting up some climb like Scary Area today at Millbrook, what I would do is aid it without a bolt. [I can do that and suggest that both bolts be removed on climbs like Scary Area.] Then my son could second it and it would go free without the bolt. Rightly I could now also second it. At some point he or I could lead it without the bolt. That is the way we would deal with it, but I would not put bolts in it. This is weak. I might consider hammering a pin and leave a sling on it, which would protect it from people who don't know putting bolts in it. Chipping holds is also equally weak, do something else, neither of these things have anything to do with free climbing up rock.

Now after getting to that high point what would I do above that? Where there is a run out on a single piece of light gear? Do I go back to the idea of entertaining bolts again? Do I make climbing safe? No, I go up and down till eventually I find a plan, some place where I think I can get gear or get to a small ledge. I come up with a plan and the plan keeps changing based on the protection. If I start placing bolts the problem and the climb disappears into thin air. It is the lack of protection that creates the difficulty, the climb, and the problem. If I place bolts the climb no longer exists. One of the nice things about Scary Area is that it is a test piece. If you take the bolts out you can no longer test your skill against others who have gone before you. That is a good argument for keeping the bolt. If you remove the bolt who is going to be able to aid it, to top rope it, to lead it? I could solo something like this to the "bucket" and place pro, or find someone who could. But placing bolts is not an option I can live with. It completely degrades the rock, it destroys it and leaves just another example of how man needs to conquer creation rather than just leave it the way God created it. If you want bolts go see them on buildings in the city, don't bring them up here into the mountains and to try an tame nature. The kind of people who place bolts and want to make everything safe so you do not have to solo anything are the same kind of people who want to kill all the bears, crocks, poisonous snakes, and sharks. Those who want climbing to be safe have no business leading, and should go to back to the city and their nice warm homes and leave the climbing to individuals who have the talent and aptitude to deal with such difficulties. The reason I climb is to overcome such obstacles. And if I am putting up a new route, if I cannot safely climb some solo on it, after 10 years I may let someone else do it that can.

So, now where does that leave us? Well, if I am trying to put up some climb like Star Action, which has even greater difficulties, loose rocks, and poor protection, to be safe I would not consider soloing other climbs, but I would put a rope on Star Action and there I would increase my climbing ability. Then eventually at some point I would go to my climb and have to find a way get up it without drilling holes in it.
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The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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#60032 - 09/07/11 08:27 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: oenophore]
TerrieM Online   content
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Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 425
Loc: Gunks in Summer, Southwest in ...
Originally Posted By: oenophore
It's unlikely that this post will be the last in this thread, but the latter seems to have reached retirement age.


Sort of funny, the timing if that remark...

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#60033 - 09/07/11 08:27 PM Re: Free Soloing [Re: retroscree]
donald perry Online   content
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Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 1527
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: retroscree
Originally Posted By: donald perry
w

Why don't you knock off this crap? Either stand by what you post or don't bother posting, but removing a post within the edit window is just BS.


I hope that is the only mistake I make.
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The Mohonk Mountain House and the Mohonk Preserve have done a great job protecting the environment thus far, but ... it's all down hill from here http://youtu.be/9AU8fMo8v4k.

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