Free Soloing

Posted by: stoopid

Free Soloing - 06/28/11 11:14 AM

What's the deal with free soloing? Sunday someone climbed Frog's Head in boots. We were worried he was climbing up to jump off (he arrived at the climb by cane and was ignoring the other climbers trying to speak with him).

Is this acceptible? Should we have said something? I realize a few people do it on TV, but I don't expect them to live long. I feel like I had the potential to help in that situation but didn't want to be a wet blanket if this was something he did 10 times a week. But he was ignoring people so... WTF?
Posted by: fear

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 11:55 AM

Free Will baby...

If the guy looked really nuts and sketchy then I'd probably say something and offer to drop him a line. But if he was solid on that initial polished section of FH in boots then I'd just clear the landing area and watch the show.

That's really the only thing that does bother me about free soloing on crowded routes is the potential of their fall to kill other climbers/people below. On FH you often will have a gaggle of idiots with dogs and babies milling around right at the base oblivious to gravity.

Now if he brought his cane with him up the route... That would be badass!
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 12:18 PM

There is long quiet history of free soloing in the Gunks. The practitioners however, don't necessarily advertise or carry on about it.

I would hazard to say, it is a more widespread practice than one would suspect.

The concerns voiced about the possible outcome should things go wrong while free soloing are extremely valid.

Stay safe.
Posted by: RangerRob

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 12:34 PM

I would question someones need to solo in front of a crowd. In soloing, motivation is everything, and if that motivation is not pure.......
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 12:43 PM

I'm sure I know who it was, and sometimes he is prone to showboating esp. under certain circumstances. I posted previously about an incident "the serpent satan fell from the sky": sometimes he solos with a rope tied around his waist. he never wears climbing shoes only heavy mountain boots. there was a bit of a crowd around that day too, and they were positively flabbergasted. that's what it can be like to climb with The Donald... (i tried to reassure the spectators that this was "normal.")
Posted by: charliebutters

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 01:33 PM

http://bassforyourface.com/blog/?p=1549
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 03:12 PM

Soloing was much more common when I first started, which re-inforced my concern that I maybe wasn't a real climber (It only took one long 15 minutes stuck on a slimy, rounded top-out in mid-summer to make me realize it wasn't for me). Many very good climbers could be seen at times soloing and I see no reason why it shouldn't be accepted without comment. It is just another type of climbing. I agree that I wouldn't want to stand around underneath.
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 03:34 PM

I recall doing a fair amount of this after not finding a partner. What else is one to do?
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 03:44 PM

I think that was the common theme to much of the soloing, I know it was for me. It now seems more of an intentional activity in and of itself.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 04:18 PM

Free soloing might be considered extreme bouldering. Just climbing through, no stop and go, no extra gear, no rope issues, no partner issues, and of course far less room for error which forces one to be extremely focused. Which for me was an issue in itself.
Strange how much of our soloing was in groups, as stupid as that was, made worse by the fact it was usually at the end of the day.
Posted by: Julie

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 05:21 PM

What is one to do?

Well, for starters, solo somewhere where you won't traumatize more than 0 un-consenting persons if/when you fall. And I guess even before that, leave some kind of a note indicating where your or your body might be found iff'n you don't return home.

Soloing does not free you from your responsibility to not harm others, or rule #1.

I've indeed shared a rope with the guy in boots ... who is rather "my way or the highway" ...
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 05:37 PM

I think it is one thing to see someone attempting to belay/lead or whatever and offer help if they are screwing it up and perhaps endangering themself or a partner. It is altogether another thing for someone to solo or even boulder and that is simply a choice that does not require anyone else's comment or approval. Let them get in the zone and don't distract, please. I also believe this is an endevour that is most rewarding away from the crowds but that is only my take. Clearly, not everyone feels that way and nor should they have to agree.
Posted by: yorick

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 05:38 PM

Originally Posted By: chip
Soloing was much more common when I first started...Many very good climbers could be seen at times soloing


The summer of '85, the summer Clune and Gruenberg had their little tete-a-tete to solo the superclassics (Foops, Open Cockpit, Supercrack, Yellow Wall), everyone was soloing. Bachar's buzz was all over the mainstream media (Outside mag cover).

I happened to be in a group who talked to Jeff right after he soloed the Yellow Wall. One of those weird days of a million synchronicities.

I was in Slime talking to the Aussies who were passing around the Outside issue with Bachar. I tagged along with Louise Shepherd ("Come along with us, you'll get pumped"; what a sweetheart) and Geoff Weigand: Nurse's Aid warm-up (sheesh), Wasp Stop (short-person's crux: she sandbagged him), The Sting. Raffa shows up, suggests they go to NH to try Tourist Treat, after Lynn had worked the FFA. Clune shows up to take pics. Frank Minnuni shows up to try on on-sight with a pair of out-of-the-box Kalma's (Clune's Gunks Select pic). I'm in total fly-on-the-wall mode.

We head back to the Uberfall, hook up with Kim Carrigan, when Jeff comes back down the carriage road with nothing but his shoes and chalk-bag. Carrigan complains to him about some 12- being a sandbag, then asks Jeff where he'd been. "Uh, soloing the Yellow Wall." Not bragging, just reporting.

Silence.
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 05:49 PM

'Scuse me while I pull my bottom jaw back up off the desk. That kind of talent and mindset is what makes such a rare individual.
Still, it does illustrate how safely many top climbers were able to solo regularly. Even so, it only takes a momentary lapse or that little foot slip to change things permanently.
Posted by: yorick

Re: Free Soloing - 06/28/11 06:14 PM

Originally Posted By: chip
Still, it does illustrate how safely many top climbers were able to solo regularly.


What blows me away is how none of them got hurt here during that whole '80s era, pushing the highest end of X-ratings, right up to Scotty soloing Survival.
Posted by: TerrieM

Re: Free Soloing - 06/29/11 09:48 PM

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....
Posted by: Rockanice

Re: Free Soloing - 06/30/11 01:17 AM

Three of us were climbing Pas De Deux when he started up Frog's Head. He climbed up a bit and waited for another party to rap down, then climbed up with his sneaker boots on. I figured it was probably not his first time on the route and that he knew where he was going. After he moved through that lower crux, I expected him to pretty much cruise to the top, but he didn't. he stopped at the first belay chains and seemed in no hurry to finish. He spent some time looking up at the second pitch but didn't opt to try. I wondered if he was second-guessing his decision to third class the route in his sneaker-boots.
After a while, my partner wanted to ask him if he wanted any help. I had been discouraging him from talking to the guy as he was kind of aloof. I felt like I didn't want to embarass him or steal his mojo somehow. I felt it was important not to undermine any of that confident feeling a soloist must keep alive in order to keep alive. The guy had moved right through that lower crux after all. On the one hand, I wanted to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but on the other, I didn't want anyone to die for their vanity's sake. Pride cometh before the fall, as they say. I relented and my buddy just called up casually, "Want a rope?"
Predictably he declined. Soon after he traversed over to Maria, but inexplicably kept traversing around the arete past Maria looking for a way up in the munge. Having traversed out of sight, out of mind, I was a little surprised when he reappeared later on back on the GT ledge above Frog's Head. He eventually traversed all the way over to the Easy O ledge.
Holy smokes, that has to be harder than finishing Frog's Head. Go figure. Kudos, though I gotta say I was a little worried for him when he started gunning for Easy O.

Donald is bald, right? This guy had a full head of hair.
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 06/30/11 12:43 PM

I guess he's got a somewhat receding hairline? and he wears heavy leather mountain boots - sounds like it was someone else?
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 06/30/11 03:10 PM

I think he was outed and then fessed up on his Northern Millbrook Grand Traverse thread. Like many of us, I wouldn't consider his a "full head of hair".
Posted by: curmudgeon

Re: Free Soloing - 06/30/11 04:12 PM

Dan McMillan once had to be rescued from a climb after getting spooked.He was trying to solo Erect Direction and got up in the corner on the last pitch and freaked out. Rope please!

EDIT...Meant to say it was DJP not Dan.

Sorry Dan you're the man!
Posted by: Dana

Re: Free Soloing - 06/30/11 05:41 PM

Did that happen to Dan? I climbed with him a bit, and I distinctly remember him saying he had soloed ED and he had no trouble. Perhaps it was DJP?
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 06/30/11 05:45 PM

I heard the same story except that the climber was DJP. an added detail was that it was seeping or wet in a critical place (above the 3rd pitch overhang) which gave the trouble.
Posted by: curmudgeon

Re: Free Soloing - 06/30/11 06:28 PM

Right it was Don not Dan.

Sorry my memory ain't what it used to be.

Don must have seen GOD that day!
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 07/01/11 04:54 PM

Originally Posted By: charliebutters


Honold is one of the few modern climbers I follow to any degree. It's part fascination, part respect. He comes off as awkward until you read enough interviews, and you get a better idea of who he actually is. We did see him that day at the Gunks out near Bunny, but opted to leave him alone as he was already being acosted by climber #41992. It will be interesting to see the 60 Minutes interview when it's finally put together and aired.

So I'm not against free soloing, 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 which more than likely will result in a hideous death, to do it in front of people. I've one other time seen a free soloing climber two or three pitches up on a neighboring route, and it was early season late in the afternoon on a weekday. Prior to that, many climbs without ever seeing one.

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.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 07/01/11 04:58 PM

Side note - 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 (the exception seems to be when money matter related to Mohonk are raised, particular the neighborhood association and that drama). This is a nice place to talk about climbing. smile
Posted by: Rockanice

Re: Free Soloing - 07/02/11 05:48 PM

"full head of hair" - I guess my re-definition over the years has evolved as more and more of mine has disappeared!
My eyesight ain't what it used to be either. Never met Donald, but having led the third pitch of his Vultures Know route in the Nears, I can believe he doesn't lack a set of cojones.

edit-spelling
Posted by: worthrussell

Re: Free Soloing - 07/02/11 09:50 PM

I saw the guy soloing fH and i bolted. I said nothing but he certainly didn't look all that confident. If i were to free solo, which i wouldn't, i would make damn well sure that i was comfortable and confident on the route. He had thick glasses and hiking boots and seemed to be down climbing and reassessing his situation way too much. Ballsy yes brainy hmmmmmm
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 07/02/11 10:42 PM


The oft quoted Bill Ravitch..... "Don't be a witness."
Posted by: Dana

Re: Free Soloing - 07/03/11 12:22 AM

Bill R. was often quoted, true, but he would occasionally give demostrations, as well.
Bill and and I would occasionally finish the day by doing Retribution and Nosedive. One fine day we done just this and as we were rappeling off Nosedive a party set up a toprope on Retribution.
One of the climbers was gettin winched up the route but all the way up - as far as she got - she was telling everyone within earshot that the moves weren't all that hard, lots of big holds, etc. This continued after she lowered off, and it was clear Bill was getting really annoyed at this presumption. When she hit the ground and told her friends that it wasn't really 5.10, that maybe next time she would lead it - that was just too much.
Bill put his EBs back on, soloed 10 feet past the crux, and then downclimbed back to the ground. Not much for the crowd to say, of course, but when Bill got back to the base, he looked this woman in the eye - she was still standing there - and said: "I don't know. It seemed like 5.10 to me."
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/03/11 03:54 AM

Free soloing has been an intrinsic part of climbing since its very beginnings and isn't "out of place" anywhere, certainly not in the Gunks, which has a very long history of extensive free solos in every era, going all the way back to the first days.

When I first came to the Gunks, it was common for many climbers to spend some time free soloing easy routes, very often, as Rick mentions, in large and sometimes boisterous groups. Whatever level you climbed at, it was fairly common to free solo two to three grades easier, and free-solo downclimbs, e.g. Three Pines and Silly Chimney, were a common method to descend from many hard routes (a practice which, in retrospect, appears to have been far safer than rappelling has turned out to be).

The practice seems to have declined in the last 20-30 years. Some reasons might be

(1) The separation of rock climbing from mountaineering, which may involve essentially free soloing much of the time even with a rope on.

(2) An enormous and ongoing accumulation of safety procedures, safety knowledge, and safety equipment that makes it possible for those who want to limit their risks to enjoy the sport. With far less knowledge and much more primitive equipment, an earlier generation had to rely more on their own competence, so the transition to free soloing was not as big a step as it may seem now.

(3) The advent of protection ratings made it possible for climbers to avoid risky situations they dealt with far more regularly before those ratings.

(4) The advent of sport climbing established the notion of almost completely separating risk and difficulty and drew people to the sport with an aversion to the former and a passion for the latter.

Personally, I think that free soloing ought to be a private encounter between the climber and the rock, and it is wrong to purposely do it 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.
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 07/03/11 10:36 AM

Free soloing has been an intrinsic part of climbing since its very beginnings

What people did before ropes were invented. What mountain goats and mountain sheep did before there were people.
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 12:31 PM

I think of all those stories I've read about Tobin Sorenson. talk about spectacles in front of an audience. once, a spectator couldn't take it went behind a bush and puked.

RG hints at this, but I've always felt the commercialization of soloing (images of it on advertising and in film) are something I don't want to see and don't approve of. During the film festival when they showed the Alex Honold on Half Dome, I walked out. (yes, I tried soloing once and it wasn't for me.)
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 01:04 PM

this thread makes me want to puke more than watching anyone solo does.

whats next? not allowed to run it out if someone else is around? not allowed to get on R rated routes? not allowed to lead on only passive gear? not allowed to high ball?

i think of the interview with crusher for the derek hersey piece included in front range freaks. to paraphrase he says something like "if you've never gone soloing you've never really gone climbing" - this was in the context of saying that going climbing means (or meant) you went out and did some following, some leading, some bouldering, some soloing...they're all part of climbing....3rd class, 4th class, 5th class...its all relative

to declare that soloing has no place in climbing, or no place in the gunks is at best ignorant and at worst insulting to the history of climbing, the history of the gunks, and aesthetic aspects of climbing in the first place. this kind of attitude speaks not to the selfishness of the soloist but to the shortsighted selfishness of the commentator.

while i agree that generally speaking soloing is obviously most often and perhaps best pursued alone...that this in no means precludes one from soloing when others are nearby. with more and more crowds at the gunks it becomes more difficult to find alone time at the cliffs. while i wouldnt solo on the frogs head wall when it was crawling with people i wouldnt avoid soloing in the gunks because someone happened to be sitting at the base of the cliff or racking up on another climb.

what of the soloist who isnt local? who only has one or a couple days a year in the gunks? should he or she refrain from climbing because of a disapproving ego at the base?

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
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 01:28 PM

I was hoping this would engender some controversy!

people are going to solo, Steve. it's a valid part of the game for some people. I tried it myself. I just don't want to watch it. I've already watched enough world class climbers solo. and now it's my prerogative to walk away from it.

it's the commercialization of it that bothers me the most.

the one soloist that I admire is Peter Croft. he is amazing.
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 01:43 PM

phlan-man

i couldnt resist....

by all means its your prerogative (isnt that a great word?) to walk away and you should if you dont like it....but just the same its the soloists prerogative to solo...world class or local nobody....just the same...

croft, potter, bachar, arnold, gullich, huber, honnold, lacelle, edlinger, destivelle, reardon, davis, hersey, sorenson, yabo, humar, steck, leary, messner, and the local guy or gal at your local crag....they all have something to admire...and while they all may solo for different reasons, you can bet they share some of the same motivations....and i'm willing to bet that commercial interests are not chief among them
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 01:47 PM

Climbing is about knowing your limits. If you climb at all and think you are never de facto free soloing then you are kidding yourself. You never ran it out in 5.3-5.5 territory?

When I think about soloing I always think back to the day I broke my ankle. On that same morning I saw a guy with a little backpack head up High Exposure, free solo. I thought he was crazy.

Then I promptly hurt myself while wearing a harness, using a rope, and placing gear as liberally as I was able to do.

I didn't hear any accident reports about the soloist so I assume he did just fine.

So which of us was more in touch with our limits that day? Which of us was crazy? Which of us was safer?
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 06:33 PM

The primary thing that keeps each of us off the deck is our CLIMBING, not our protection. The soloist sees that quite clearly.

Long story told short: Many years ago I spent an eternity keeping a young man about my college age alive after he fell about 60 feet to the deck of City Lights. He didn't intent to solo but came undone from the rope. He died that night. It stuck with me quite awhile and possibly still does. His choice to climb and mine to try to help him. While I did not return to leading my level for about a year I would not change my response. This game is, for me at least, much more about the people than the grade. Choice is a beautiful thing and who are any of us to decide for another?
Posted by: see

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 07:28 PM

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



I agree there's a long history of soloing as a part of climbing and the development of different climbers, both at the Gunks and elsewhere.

I quoted part of your response because I have some firsthand knowledge of this. I used to climb at the Gunks occasionally in the mid-90's (yeah, that long ago). Lived in CT and climbed at the local gym in Wallingford. The brother of a guy I lived with in CA while a grad student was a grad student at Yale. A close friend of his and co-worker was a pleasant and intense German (I think) woman who climbed at a very high grade (I never climbed with her, but she sent stuff in the .11-.12 range fairly easily in the gym and I would guess led 10s or 11s at the Gunks. She died soloing, I believe, Son of Easy O. It was her decision to spend a nice fall day out soloing and that climb was very well below her grade. Unfortunately the job of claiming and picking up her body fell to my friend and it wasn't something that came easily for him. My point is that while the consequences might end for you at a specific moment (assuming you die rather than sustaining an injury that makes you dependent on the care of others in a lifelong way), they exist for those you leave behind and you might think of what that means to them.

My 2 cents based on a bit of actual experience -

P.S. edited to also add that the circumstances you cite as having to "endure" really don't hold a candle to the stuff this guy went through emotionally on this. being inconvenienced is one thing, being bereaved and grief stricken is another entirely


Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 08:10 PM

with no disrespect meant...

you have to go back 15 years for one example of a soloing fatality in the gunks. many more accidents and injuries - fatal and otherwise life changing - happen far more frequently to people on rope. thats the point.

your friends experience would have been different if his friend had died in a car accident? or a roped climbing fall? many of us have had friends die climbing. it sucks. i dont think anyone is going to argue that.

and i really mean no disrespect...i was the first responder to a fatality at the gunks just a few years ago. turned out to be a hiker who fell from the top of the cliff. that he wasnt a climber didnt lessen the impact it had on me. it was a thursday in april. the 19th i think. i avoided the frogs head wall, where his body landed, for months. i put up prayer flags the next day because i felt like i had to do something for him.

death always has greater consequences for the living. but this has as little to do with free soloing as it does with hiking, roped climbing, or driving. this nice hiker i found died from a 200 foot fall off of the trapps. but its laughable to suggest hiking has no place in the gunks dont you think?
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 08:43 PM

I remember the German woman who died soloing - was not there but heard details from the rangers the next day. nearest they could tell she would have had the route well within her capability but got off route on easy o and ended up pumping out on son of easy o and fell off. I suspect that would not have happened had she been roped up. what is is the proportional deaths of tens of 1000's of people who hike or climb on a rope to the hand ful who free solo. somehow some of this rings hollow. a tragedy either way, but to me a soloer is sticking their neck out a tad even if they are a world class athlete.
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 09:41 PM

i wouldnt know the death rates per hour of various activities. thats not the point. but i dont think it would be any higher for soloing than for many other things.

in any case it doesnt matter. in absolute terms it happens far less frequently. so any spectator is more likely to witness a roped fall. as you say it is indeed a tragedy either way.
Posted by: Coppertone

Re: Free Soloing - 07/06/11 09:43 PM

While climbing in and of itself is a selfish activity, at least there are some levels of protection including, ropes, gear, partners etc. There is room for error, you can easily make a mistake and have little consequence other than a fall onto rope only go up and give it another go. If you make a mistake soloing you are dead.

Soloing is the ultimate indulgence in selfishness. I also have no problem with it when you are not married and don't have a wife/husband and children that depend on you every day. I have soloed some easier routes myself, however once my kids came along that ended as well some some of the more run out riskier leads that I had done in my earlier climbing career. In my opinion soloing when you have children that depend you is just plain selfish, irresponsible and a bad decision. I have tremendous respect for the accomplishments and contributions of some of the climbing greats that have past over the years such as Dan Osman and John Bachar but I have a real problem that they died and left children behind. While they may have been following their hearts and doing what they loved when they died, at some point it is no longer just about you and what you want to do. Your actions have lifelong consequences for those closest to you.

I realize that this is a different tangent to this thread but I think that it is an important one.
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 10:03 AM

agreed its a different tangent.

i dont intend to disagree with you, as i dont have a wife or kids or responsibilities at that level so i certainly cant speak from experience with these kinds of decisions.

but i'm curious though. what do you say to the soldier, race car driver, cop, fireman, etc who has a wife, kids, family, mortgage, job with responsibilities, etc? are they selfish?

i'm not saying that those hazardous occupations are the same as free soloing, but they are still choices nonetheless. for dano and bachar you could argue that they werent making selfish choices for fun. they were doing it for work. thats how they made their living - as professional climbers. in that sense its not much different from the cop, soldier, fireman, miner, oil rigger, etc who gets killed on the job. i'm just curious where you would draw the line.

my knee jerk reaction is that i think its bizarre to label someone as unjustly selfish for free soloing and not for a host of other voluntary recreational activities that millions of otherwise "responsible" parents participate in all the time. how many drive for fun? or drive fast sportscars for fun? or drive fast or off road cars in risky dangerous ways for no reason? or go hunting? or who ride motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles? how about drinking for fun? you can do all of those things in conservative and responsible ways, but accidents happen in all of them, and i'm willing to bet that the accident rates are as high if not higher than free soloing. and there are a lot of otherwise responsible parents out there who partake. selfishness in free soloing might be better measured by your overall competence at it, the appropriateness of the situation, your experience, your intent, etc - not the worst case scenario, which would likely rule out a host of other professions and lifestyle choices.
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 02:04 PM

The situation is certainly complex and subtle and I'm not going to make judgements about anyone else's choices. I think that, in general, spouses or partners of dedicated free-soloists know very well who they have cast their lot with, at least if they are able to be honest with themselves, and if they choose to have children, they participate in the complex dilemma about what is or is not appropriate.

My personal choices correspond to Dave's. I've done a ton of free-soloing over the years, up to a grade below my maximum leading ability at the time, as well as a slew or R- and X-rated leads. I loved it all, but gave it up when my daughter was born because I wanted to be around as she grew up and, although I was very confident about my abilities, the odds that were once acceptable just seemed different.

I have to say that even 24 years later, I still miss free-soloing moderate routes and often feel I have to resist the pull. In a way I feel that free-soloing is really the essence of what climbing is all about. I might add, however, as I close in on 70, that I can no longer trust my body to respond in the predictable ways of my youth, and of course I am nowhere near as strong or as fit, and this would almost certainly keep me from going back to soloing in any case.

Bachar, who I've know peripherally for years, faced all of these issues and made choices that proved to be fatal. His death had a deep effect on me, because if anyone in the world could live the free-soloing life and die of old age, it would have been him, and any lesser mortal now has to ask why they think they can control the risks when he did not.

All climbers indulge in a certain amount of double-think. They know that even if they are careful, climbing will eventually put them in risky situations, and they trust that their experience and mental control will see them through. Free-soloing is not some completely different activity, it is just a matter of degree, something that it is important for all climbers to understand. With that understanding ought to come tolerance, because we are all actually playing the same game.
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 02:05 PM

Coppertone, my earlier post was intended to address exactly the kind of mentality you exhibit in your post. I used to feel the same way. The stakes are high in climbing, but we take safety precautions. Soloing, on the other hand, risks death at all times and is therefore more dangerous, irresponsible.

But this kind of thinking doesn't honestly evaluate climbing. You can't protect every move, and most of us when we climb might as well be soloing at times when we climb through easy territory. The way we protect ourselves at these times is to try to remain well within our limits. The same can be said for leading on ice (during which most people find it unacceptably risky to fall) and alpine climbing (during which every party makes a constant decision whether the territory can be done solo or requires roping up).

Take my earlier example of the soloist I saw on High E. I assume this person was a competent climber at a much higher grade than 5.6. He knew there was almost no chance he would fall off of High E. I've never fallen off of it either, but I don't feel that kind of comfort so I don't think it would be wise for me to solo it.

But I can't say he was wrong to feel that comfort. If I say he's wrong then I'm wrong for climbing the cruxy bottom of Raunchy without stick clipping the tree. If I say he's wrong then I'm wrong for soloing up the Uberfall to help someone with a toprope setup on Phoebe. If I say he's wrong then I'm wrong for climbing City Lights, with its 5.4 runout above the crux. That would be a potentially deadly fall, but I feel there is practically no chance I'm going to fall there. So I happily climb it and enjoy it.

I'm saying you can't draw this easy distinction between soloing and roped climbing. Both involve the same evaluations of the risks you are comfortable with. Different people are comfortable at different levels.
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 02:15 PM

I really appreciate the cogent and passionate discussion. You folk are a pleasure.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 06:53 PM

Originally Posted By: phlan
what is is the proportional deaths of tens of 1000's of people who hike or climb on a rope to the hand ful who free solo. somehow some of this rings hollow. a tragedy either way, but to me a soloer is sticking their neck out a tad even if they are a world class athlete.


That was what I was thniking to... percentage wise, I suspect there's a higher mortality rate per solo climber than per roped climber. Don't know if it's 1% higher, 100% higher, or how we could even find out those numbers.

I'm not sure I'd go as far as banning the practice, or think scornfully of those who engage in it... but it's not something I would condone either.

Didn't Dan Osman die base jumping with ropes or something non-climbing related?
Posted by: whatthegunks

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 08:54 PM

Soloing requires complete focus. When done well, smoothly, in control, it is the ultimate expression of mastery of the pursuit, mastery of body and mind. Choose to or not to but do not claim that you are smarter or better because you are tied to a rope.

If you use the rope master the technique, do not delude yourself that the latest gizmo added to a giant rack of gizmos makes you better, safer. Admit that the gizmos are a crutch, that holding on, moving smoothly and maintaining a clear and calm mind are first.

Before insisting that people do not solo how about this advice; finish your knot, double back your harness, always put knots in the ends of your rope when you rappel, if you are not going to tie the rope to yourself or an anchor put a knot in it so it can't get through your belay plate=close the system, protect the second, place the good piece before you wobble your way to that ledge you see above you risking a ground fall, practice lowering somebody with a plaquette style device before you are on a ledge 50' off the ground, admit your limitations and then work your ass off to push past them. Do not fake it.
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 08:58 PM

Yes, Dan Osman died when he made a jump off an overhanging face, sorta like bungy jumping, and there was rope/anchor failure. It was a practise he had done numerous times before.
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 07/07/11 11:43 PM

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.climbing/browse_thread/thread/816f763ab36ceffa/dddc7e3db5defbb5
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 10:53 AM

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.
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 01:38 PM

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.
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 02:22 PM

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....
Posted by: Welle

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 02:31 PM

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...
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 02:39 PM

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.
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 02:53 PM

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.
Posted by: GOclimb

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 03:54 PM

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
Posted by: Mim

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 04:09 PM

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...
Posted by: TerrieM

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 04:58 PM

And so the consensus is....there's no consensus!
Posted by: Coppertone

Re: Free Soloing - 07/08/11 07:24 PM

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.
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/09/11 12:21 PM

Originally Posted By: GOclimb
In free soloing, as in any other climbing, people can be more or less cautious...He almost fell, and beat himself up over his own recklessness...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 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


agreed. for the most part. except that i dont think most people condemn the clueless roped climber more than the clueless unroped climber. clueless is clueless and reckless is reckless. but soloing in and of itself is hardly any more reckless unless it is. i would be personally just as critical of an inept, clueless/ignorant, or downright reckless soloist as i would of a similarly roped climber.

like bachar in largo's story i think many climbers who engage in soloing routinely have a moment at some point where they push it a little too far and have to have the hypercritical conversation with themselves. its important to be constantly reflexive in that way; to evaluate your ability and mindset, and keep an open mind about how far is too far. but i think thats true of climbing in general - and i think a lot of people dont do this.

i think the guy in your link - described as drunk, despondent and possibly suicidal over a failed relationship - could have been doing any one of a number of things other than soloing that could or would have ended in his death, injury, and involvement of 'innocent bystanders' - he just happened to be a climber, and chose soloing instead of train tracks, a building balcony, reckless drunk driving, or any one of a number of other ways to almost try and kill oneself
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 07/09/11 12:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Coppertone
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.


for sure this turned out to be a good thread. and agreed that its a topic where i think a lot of us can agree to disagree.

i dont think anyone is arguing that margin isnt smaller for soloing - we all know it is. i think the question really is whether or not the distinction - as far as selfishness or recklessness or appropriateness - is one of kind or more one of scale. i argue its a difference in scale, and as a result of the fact that that scale isnt very clear, its hard to condemn soloing over any other form of climbing when practiced well.

it seems that both you and rich suggested that in addition to eliminating soloing, you've also cut back on the hard and scary runouts. this to me suggests we actually agree more than disagree - that the rope offers a sliding scale of protection. and isnt categorically 'safer' than soloing.

the point about the cop, soldier, firefighter is an interesting one. and to be honest i hadnt originally considered the social hero or 'altruism' aspect. i'm not sure it absolves you of your choice if you get killed in the line of duty. you still have a choice dont you? in other words you might choose a life of service even if it means you might leave your kids without a parent. but you decide that its worth it because you might help others. but someone might continue to solo with kids because they decide its worth it because of what they get out of it. so now we're making a value judgement about potentially abstract societal benefit being worth getting killed over, but what might be called personal betterment being selfish. i can see your point for sure, and i'm not arguing that i definitely disagree, but i'm not convinced either. dead is dead if the argument is about being there for your kids.
Posted by: Jannette

Re: Free Soloing - 07/12/11 04:12 AM

Here's the video of Dan Osman's free solo speed ascent of Bear's Reach on Lover's Leap. That video was the first I had heard of him.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e0yXMa708Y

I suspect the following video, solo of the same route with a helmet cam, may have been inspired by Dano's video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xc2xr7mGH4

The climb looked like so much fun, it inspired me to spend my vacation in Tahoe. I climbed Bear's Reach with my kids today, it was as fun as it looked... however we took much longer and had lots of gear with us...

Jannette
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 07/12/11 01:29 PM

Way to go Jannette.
Posted by: acdnyc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/12/11 04:13 PM

This isn't climbing but is this close to Soloing in another medium. The performer explains why she did it.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/12/aerialist-seanna-sharpe_n_895545.html
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Free Soloing - 07/12/11 10:50 PM

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Personally, I think that free soloing ought to be a private encounter between the climber and the rock, and it is wrong to purposely do it 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.



"...it is wrong to purposely do it in front of people who have not chosen to observe the event."

I don't really follow this line of thought because it seems to imply that it becomes the climbers responsibility not to disturb anyone who might be watching. I am sure that there are climbers who feel uncomfortable being near someone who has chosen to run it out or lead an R or X rated route in the same way that a hiker on the carriage road might get nauseated by seeing someone rapelling.

"Doing it for an audience..." Perhaps the difference lies within the motivation. Climbing for an audience, whether it's soloing/bouldering/trad climbing I suppose would necessarily be extrinsically motivated, but the climber who is intrinsically motivated shouldn't feel that they need to practice their climbing in secrecy.

Now Rich, I'm sure you'll have some well thought out reponse that schools me, but I'll probably still solo Ken's crack even if people are walking by. smile

One last thought similar to what Terrie and others brought up but I just wanted to give my own take: There are climbers who do all sorts of very dangerous things on the cliffs with ropes that make me feel uncomfortable and there are soloists who climb solidly well within their limits that I find a pleasure to watch.
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/13/11 12:54 AM

Haha, back in the day when the Uberfall used to back up with descending climbers, we used to solo down Ken's Crack.

The Vulgarians also periodically ran the Ken's Crack Speed Trials (top-roped). I think Dick has the record, in some incredibly short time...

Nah, I don't have any well-formed response Chris. I'm not entirely sure I believe what I wrote myself. I do think that when free soloing is done in front of an audience, there is an element of showing-off that is almost unavoidable, and this leaves a bitter taste, sometimes even for the soloist. I also think---no, actually know---that sometimes free-soloing encourages other people to do it, and sometimes these other people really shouldn't be doing it.

I don't know whether the soloist has any responsibility for the bad judgement of those he or she might be encouraging, but I feel better about it if that isn't an issue because there is no one there to see.

I think I've made it clear how much I've personally enjoyed free soloing. I haven't always done it in solitude, but I must say in retrospect that I'd feel better about it if I always had.
Posted by: TerrieM

Re: Free Soloing - 07/13/11 01:15 AM

I'd love to see a speed trial on Ken's Crack redux(TR, of course - not free solo)! Maybe it could be an "event" on the day the guides offer seminars at the Film Festival weekend....
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Free Soloing - 07/13/11 04:59 AM

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
... we used to solo down Ken's Crack.


Certainly a different era and a different mindset! I used to think that if I was able to go back in time once, in a time machine, I would choose Europe in the 1600's, but now I think I would choose to go back to the Gunks in the Vulgarian days!

What I love most about soloing is that the mindset is reduced to one simple principle (not falling) which means one no longer has to think about falling. This is also the mindset needed in mountaineering, but I think that as the idea of rock climbing as training for climbing mountains continues to evaporate so will the view that soloing has any practical merits.
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/13/11 09:42 PM

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
Posted by: talus

Re: Free Soloing - 07/14/11 01:46 PM

i agree that if you solo just do it, don't talk about it, and don't do it for an audience
Posted by: GOclimb

Re: Free Soloing - 07/14/11 03:32 PM

Yikes. Very lucky everyone was okay.

Once had a belayer drop her climber. He landed on my belayer at the base, who, had he not dropped the rope as he was knocked backwards, would have pulled me off the top of the pitch I had just led (but not built an anchor on yet.)

Beware of falling meat-bombs?

GO
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/14/11 04:51 PM

The latest hazard at crowded crags.
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 07/15/11 07:10 PM

one time up in new hampshire we were up on a climb and I was belaying my second who was coming up, and a soloer came up and tried to pass her. she got upset and he was being a real jerk and I really got mad - no, furious. believe me - the thought of doing the unthinkable really did cross my mind. I have seldom been that upset.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 07/20/11 03:57 PM

This just in from Super T. A soloist falls from Fairview Dome and survives to walk away.
www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1550025...tm-medium=email
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/20/11 05:51 PM

Same incident described a few posts back. The link I posted is to a first-person witness account.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 07/20/11 05:59 PM

I thought it sounded too familiar.
Posted by: jads

Re: Free Soloing - 07/27/11 04:51 PM

Great thread.

One thing I haven't heard mentioned.. is that kids don't get to choose what kind of parent they have or what kind of risk/reward choices that parent makes. It is my strong belief that kids change the game. When one becomes a parent, one is obligated to prioritize the children's interests.
As in most things in life, this becomes a question of where to draw the line. No one lives risk free.
My opinions: Soloing with kids is beyond the line. Leaving a child parentless is an unacceptable risk for the benefits of soloing (which I don't discount).
Sure, people get hurt on gear, but gear saves many peoples lives also. Things can go wrong: Bachar has a accident with a weak arm, a German woman solos on an unknown route, a snake is in the hold, a rock breaks off. Not all is controllable.
With the variability in judgment, experience, gear, conditions, psychological state we need a community that encourages and promotes safety. And I think safety should be a primary factor in decision making while climbing or mountaineering.
As for the lines of people on whom others don't depend, well...like I said, a good thread. My personal advice is not to solo... much.
Posted by: retr2327

Re: Free Soloing - 07/27/11 09:31 PM

Finally, something we can all agree on: "Soloing with kids is beyond the line."

If you must solo, leave them home.
Posted by: TerrieM

Re: Free Soloing - 07/27/11 09:42 PM

At Stobly(Siberia) free-solo climbing is traditional, and a family outing.
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 07/27/11 10:45 PM

...which means that when the soloist decks, they land in the family picnic basket, which can then conveniently be used to transport the remains to a more appropriate location.
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 07/27/11 10:53 PM

Originally Posted By: TerrieM
At Stobly(Siberia) free-solo climbing is traditional, and a family outing.

Stolby.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwCyM84HCcA
Posted by: Chas

Re: Free Soloing - 07/29/11 02:06 PM

I liked the little gem of wisdom from Jim Donini on SuperTaco.... If you are going to solo and fall, fall early.
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Free Soloing - 08/01/11 12:16 PM

or from Alex McAfee's guidebook section entitled Finding a Partner:
"Dale Bard once said, 'The best thing you can do to improve your soloing is to get a partner.' Dale has got it together."
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 08/07/11 12:40 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwCyM84HCcA

Death is common place to them at these crags, where no rope or pro is used. COMMON PLACE.

In light of this, what I already know, what I've learned recently, and what I think I know, I'm pretty much convinced this isn't an activity I will ever practice myself or recommend anyone else do.

I also don't think it's good ethic to advise others to do it, publicly. It's essentially, IMO, bad advice. Like telling someone to pour water in the gas tank of their car. It might not stop the vehicle immediately, but it will eventually the more you do it. I'll be as bold as to say matter of factly to the pro-soloing community here: keep your thoughts and ideas locked up inside your head. I don't care you do it, I don't care if freedom of speech protects your right to say you do. When it has the real potential to affect other people's lives, rights of the whole trump your individual selfish desires and afflictions. Thrill seekers need psychological help. I see every needless death of a soloist as a indictment against the entire soloing community. Shame on all of you.
Posted by: TerrieM

Re: Free Soloing - 08/07/11 01:07 PM

The last comment on that video says

"..Good afternoon! I live in Krasnoyarsk and itself each days off I go there. I confirm, many(a lot of,much) person there goes, but is far from being all climbing. Basically people rise on the simple courses, not representing to serious danger. They do not demand rocky footwear and cords. Complex(difficult) courses many go with equipment - cords, обвязки, delays, carbines. The basic danger on Columns not absence of a cord, but insects, the spiders called "клещами", carrying fatal chronic diseases."


So - sure, there have been people who died at Stolby. Just as there have been deaths at crags throughout the world. To say "common place" - really?
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 08/07/11 04:33 PM

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.


Hmmm...first you raise the issue and get the discussion started, then you praise the civility of the discussion, and then you criticize the people whose opinions you solicited in a way that presages a decline in civility.

Turning to content, every climbing death and every climbing injury, and the huge majority of them occur to climbers who are not soloing, is "needless." No one is forced to go climbing.

If the so-called "soloing community," which I think, properly understood, includes all alpine climbers and a majority of trad climbers, somehow bears responsibility for soloing deaths, then there is no avoiding the conclusion that the climbing community, together with its magazines, videos, movies, and internet forums, is equally responsible for all the needless climbing deaths.

This sounds to me like the rants one hears from people who regularly break speed limits but who call those who drive 5 mph faster than they do crazy. Climbing involves the voluntary assumption of risks. There is, of course, a spectrum of possible risks assumed, but all climbers, especially all trad climbers, expose themselves to the potential of a needless death, and anyone who speaks of climbing in positive tones could be accused of complicity in encouraging such risky behavior.

Free solo is how climbing began. Until the introduction of nylon ropes, a leader was a free soloist with extra responsibilities. Free soloing will always be part of the climbing experience, and it is not intrinsically different from other climbing pursuits. Get used to it, or perhaps rethink your own involvement in climbing and the risks you yourself volunteer for.
Posted by: whatthegunks

Re: Free Soloing - 08/07/11 05:36 PM

I'm sort of thinking that unless it's coming from the end of Dirty Harry's 45 most deaths are "needless".

The Stolby video goes to the heart of how far apart people's ideas about acceptable risk are, it's personal and cultural. People in a given community have different perceptions and entire communities can have wildly different ideas too. I have had several people that I have guided point out how they saw all kinds of people soloing in areas out west and that here in the Gunks it's rare. When I lived in Boulder people were soloing all over the place, Eldo, the Flatirons, Boulder Canyon, it's just totally common and accepted. Stolby is a whole other level, a hundred and fifty year climbing history that has evolved into what goes on there today; insane? seems that way, but that is merely my perception and who am I to say.

Point is that I hate to hear people getting righteous about how bad soloing is when the average person perceives the risks we all take as climbers as nutter and they don't know any differences between a bolted sport route and Talus Food, it's all crazy. Is soloing riskier than a competent leader climbing within their limits? yeah, but not everybody on a rope is competent or within their limits and that's when things get fuzzy. A totally focused soloist that is floating a hard wired route is arguably a lot less likely to crater than a new leader fresh from the gym with a copy of Gunks Select and a rig of shiny cams.

The soloist that presents a danger of falling on you or your friends deserves a ration of shit, but the rest deserve your silence.
Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 08/09/11 08:07 PM

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Free soloing will always be part of the climbing experience, and it is not intrinsically different from other climbing pursuits. Get used to it, or perhaps rethink your own involvement in climbing and the risks you yourself volunteer for.


+1
Posted by: acdnyc

Re: Free Soloing - 08/09/11 08:37 PM

Originally Posted By: whatthegunks
I'm sort of thinking that unless it's coming from the end of Dirty Harry's 45 most deaths are "needless".


Dirty Harry used a .44 Magnum.

Roland use a single action .45 with saddle wood handles.

Most soloing careers end up at the same place. At the bottom of the the climb. I've done it and may do it again. I've solo climbed rock, ice and mountains. That's in the past but even now the only real feeling I have left from it is that I cheated death.

It also leaves a slimy film on my senses. It makes me feel so irresponsible to the ones I love and the people and one dog that love me. For some moment of personal gain that holds no real value outside of a "Hey, look what I did" moment my loved ones could suffer for a lifetime. Maybe that feeling has changed for me because I'm recently married or I'm older and "wiser".

But, does that mean that I won't do it again?
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 08/10/11 02:52 PM

"..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.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 08/14/11 12:51 PM

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.
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 08/14/11 02:37 PM

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?
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 08/14/11 03:46 PM

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?
Posted by: whatthegunks

Re: Free Soloing - 08/14/11 04:32 PM

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.
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 08/14/11 04:38 PM

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?
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 08/14/11 04:44 PM

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...
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 08/14/11 04:49 PM

LAUGH OUT LOUD!
Posted by: GOclimb

Re: Free Soloing - 08/23/11 09:13 PM

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
Posted by: GOclimb

Re: Free Soloing - 08/23/11 09:16 PM

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
Posted by: Coppertone

Re: Free Soloing - 08/24/11 03:56 AM

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.
Posted by: GOclimb

Re: Free Soloing - 08/25/11 03:50 PM

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
Posted by: tallgirlnyc

Re: Free Soloing - 08/25/11 04:25 PM

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.
Posted by: Chas

Re: Free Soloing - 08/25/11 04:29 PM

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.
Posted by: Mike Rawdon

Re: Free Soloing - 08/25/11 10:18 PM

Where's that Dead Horse emoticon when you need it?
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Free Soloing - 08/25/11 11:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
Where's that Dead Horse emoticon when you need it?


He's not dead yet...

Posted by: tallgirlnyc

Re: Free Soloing - 08/27/11 01:53 AM

come on Mike, did you forget this is gunks.com....
we love to flog topics ad infinitum because we only have 10 posters...
Posted by: Coppertone

Re: Free Soloing - 08/27/11 02:20 AM

I forgot that I had posted previously so I need to repost my same opinion.
Posted by: oenophore

Here's an example of safe soloing - 08/27/11 11:34 AM

Posted by: chip

Re: Here's an example of safe soloing - 08/27/11 02:21 PM

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.
Posted by: RangerRob

Re: Here's an example of safe soloing - 08/27/11 03:46 PM

New Reality show....

America's Next Top Boulderer
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Here's an example of safe soloing - 08/27/11 11:04 PM

[quote=] [/quote]

Lucky barnacles.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 08/30/11 09:42 PM

Originally Posted By: GOclimb
I'd bet dollars to donuts that this was his plan all along.


How much would you be willing to bet?

I was on the fence, I'm not anymore. I made my mind up, as it seems many here have as well. It was probably a dead issue before it was even discussed (pro and con), and in the back of my mind I knew I wasn't ever going to consider soloing 'safe'. There were no compelling arguments that made sense in the risk worth the reward context, and then I started digging and it just became plain as day that the practice just didn't jive with me.

There's a lot of level headed self righteousness in this thread. I'd imagine that's the zen state one needs before that hold breaks, rock hits you from above, foot slips, etc and you plummet to your death, a messy pile of fool for someone else to be bothered with now.

There was a similar culture of sameness when discussing the holiest Preserve and its dealings, and the advocacy people seem to be having some good fun with the gunks.com conformity of singular uniqueness. Just keep passing the koolaid between you. It's the rest of "us" that are bent.

Rock climbing can be safe AND fun. There does not need to be a distinction between these words. They should be synonymous, but sadly are not in certain climbing circles. Bummer, dude.
Posted by: Welle

Re: Free Soloing - 08/30/11 10:55 PM

Originally Posted By: stoopid
...hold breaks, rock hits you from above, foot slips, etc...


holds break and rocks fall when you are roped up too.

Originally Posted By: stoopid
Rock climbing can be safe AND fun.


It can be but not always - you have to always anticipate dangers and risks. Heck, people have died climbing in the gym even. If you think rock climbing can be always controlled to be safe and fun, you in it for wrong reasons.
Posted by: rg@ofmc

Re: Free Soloing - 08/31/11 01:27 AM

Disagreeing with others is one thing; disagreeing with yourself is quite another.

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.


Originally Posted By: stoopid
There was a similar culture of sameness when discussing the holiest Preserve and its dealings...Just keep passing the koolaid between you.


Originally Posted By: stoopid
I was on the fence...


Originally Posted By: stoopid
...in the back of my mind I knew I wasn't ever going to consider soloing 'safe'.


Thanks for complimenting us on being level-headed. But try as I might, I just can't help thinking it isn't what you meant. May I suggest substituting "pig-headed?" It is more in keeping with your new tone and it is in better alignment with the paranoid characterization of the rest of us as followers of Jim Jones.

Now then, where did I set down that koolaid cup?
Posted by: Aya

Re: Free Soloing - 08/31/11 10:56 AM

make mine sugar free please
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 08/31/11 01:45 PM

Mmm, koooooolaid!
Posted by: Chas

Re: Free Soloing - 08/31/11 02:21 PM

If you consider any form of climbing safe, (or driving for that matter) you aree living in a land of delusion. Its just all a matter of how much risk do you want to assume in your life.
Posted by: cfrac

Re: Free Soloing - 08/31/11 02:24 PM




Originally Posted By: stoopid

...then I started digging and it just became plain as day...
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 09/02/11 09:57 PM

Hey Stoop, are you the same guy who said Ken's Crack is an unsafe lead over on mtnproj.com?

Just checking.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 09/03/11 11:09 AM

Originally Posted By: SethG
Hey Stoop, are you the same guy who said Ken


Probably, it's a little slick and the first couple moves might end up with people decking on that large bolder. I've heard people have gotten hurt/killed hitting that boulder, and it seems reasonable that could/would happen. I wouldn't lead it. Anyone leading 5.7 at the Gunks is likely a relatively strong climber so their margin for error is probably wide enough this is rarely an issue. And after just a few moves and placement of a few quality pieces early the risk is probably gone. Ken's Crack is a really good climb and easy to setup as a TR (and safer on top rope although I reclal using a couple directionals). I'm sure I meant PG13 (had a R???), but in light of thinking about it the GEAR is G, but the climb is polished and at least it's duly noted now.

There's tons of risk inherent in climbing, and to increase it soloing is what I'm resisting.

Let's get back to koolaid drinking. My favorite flavor is Grape.

Posted by: schwortz

Re: Free Soloing - 09/05/11 03:02 AM

from the beginning you seemed like a troll...but if you're not a troll then...then...shit...i dont know...for your sake i really hope that you're just a troll
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 09/05/11 12:16 PM

for your sake i really hope that you're just a troll

Not a good thing to wish for. From Wikipedia:

in Scandinavian folklore, trolls become defined as a particular type of being, generally held to be larger than humans and notably ugly. Numerous tales about trolls are recorded, in which they are frequently described as being extremely old, very strong, but slow and dim-witted. They are sometimes described as man-eaters and as turning to stone upon contact with sunlight. Into the 20th century, the origins of particular Scandinavian landmarks, such as particular stones, are ascribed to trolls.

From that description, it seems that if they wanted to climb, they'd have to solo at night.
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 09/05/11 02:38 PM

Originally Posted By: oenophore
for your sake i really hope that you're just a troll

Not a good thing to wish for. From Wikipedia:...

For someone who scrapes as much as you do off the net, I'd think by now you'd know the meaning of troll:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29
Posted by: AOR

Re: Free Soloing - 09/05/11 05:02 PM

Originally Posted By: retroscree
Originally Posted By: oenophore
for your sake i really hope that you're just a troll

Not a good thing to wish for. From Wikipedia:...

For someone who scrapes as much as you do off the net, I'd think by now you'd know the meaning of troll:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29


I could be wrong, but I believe "o's" post was tongue in cheek.
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 09/06/11 04:00 PM

Originally Posted By: AOR
I could be wrong, but I believe "o's" post was tongue in cheek.

I would hope so at this point, but it had just enough of a serious tone to it.....
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 09/06/11 08:50 PM

Originally Posted By: schwortz
from the beginning you seemed like a troll...but if you're not a troll then...then...shit...i dont know...for your sake i really hope that you're just a troll


Unfortunately in just 4 years of climbing I've seen things people who climb 30 years may never. Sadly, I'm certain this gives me persepctive I hope many others don't have to witness what I have to appreciate. My issues and posts are from the heart. The few who know me and have climbed with me here know that. I just hope that something in this thread triggers someone to stop and think about how they climb. Just might save them a bunch of hurt.
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 09/06/11 09:57 PM

My issues and posts are from the heart. The few who know me and have climbed with me here know that. I just hope that something in this thread triggers someone to stop and think about how they climb. Just might save them a bunch of hurt.

I, for one, believe you're sincere. Nevertheless it is belaboring the obvious to state that your initial post stepped on some sensitive toes. As RG's post pointed out, you seemed to be stepping yet harder in subsequent posts. It's unlikely that this post will be the last in this thread, but the latter seems to have reached retirement age.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 12:57 AM

Originally Posted By: stoopid
What's the deal with free soloing? Sunday someone climbed Frog's Head in boots. We were worried he was climbing up to jump off (he arrived at the climb by cane and was ignoring the other climbers trying to speak with him). Is this acceptible? Should we have said something? I realize a few people do it on TV, but I don't expect them to live long. I feel like I had the potential to help in that situation but didn't want to be a wet blanket if this was something he did 10 times a week. But he was ignoring people so... WTF?



That was me. Please allow me introduce and to explain myself. My name is Donald Perry, I hope you will forgive me for being abrupt, I will apologies for that in advice. I like to get to the point. So I am sorry if I come off as somewhat offensive, I do not mean to be, that is not how I sound in person.


First, when someone is soloing you don't bother them, it is very rude. Argue with them later, that's fine. If someone is asking questions like, "would you like a rope" when they are in the middle of something what do you think is going to be going through their mind? When I was on the 5.5 crux instead of concentrating fully on the moves, now I am being distracted with speculations about what the speaker may have meant by the reason for the question in the first place. Was it that I needed help either with a rope, medication, a straight jacket … whatever worked? I was too busy to be bothered about what anyone else was misunderstanding, my job was to take care of myself not anyone else, and I do not see any reason to apologize for that. Next time I will give a lecture before I start and ask for questions, perhaps that would be a good way to start my adrenalin pumping and avert distractions. Or maybe I can take a vote first. Anything is better than trying to carry on a conversation with someone while you are in the middle of a crux.


As a matter of fact to be honest with you I do that too, interrupt people while they are on the crux. But when I do it, it is to intently make them fall off. Sometimes it works! For example, it is impossible to climb hard while your are LYAO. The way I see it, this is the best way to find out how good your jokes really are. But you have to wait and bide your time, just till the point where they step onto the crux, and then I tell them the joke. If it is a good one he falls off, if not he keeps climbing. Distraction is key. I have some youtube links for this so here.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mopVSgx1RD0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2QnieQNU8s
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 01:48 AM

Originally Posted By: phlan
I guess he's got a somewhat receding hairline? and he wears heavy leather mountain boots - sounds like it was someone else?


They do not make those old leather boots anymore, you can only get them on ebay. What I wear now is la sportiva Glacier in the summer, they are lighter.

http://www.backcountrygear.com/la-sportiva-glacier-mens.html?gclid=CLGg-8mAiqsCFeZ05QodMVg5xA

and la sportiva Nepal in winter


http://cascadeclimbers.com/gear/clothing...-Boot-Mens.html

However, lately I have been walking around in sneakers sometimes, but I have not climbed in them, yet.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 02:20 AM

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.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 03:01 AM

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."
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 03:27 AM

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.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 04:33 AM

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].
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 04:53 AM

w
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 04:26 PM


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
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 06:01 PM

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.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 08:14 PM

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.
Posted by: TerrieM

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 08:27 PM

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...
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 08:27 PM

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.
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 08:29 PM

I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Don is absolutely right and what he says makes a ton of sense.
Posted by: ianmanger

Re: Free Soloing - 09/07/11 09:06 PM


Ha.
Originally Posted By: SethG
I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Don is absolutely right and what he says makes a ton of sense.

Originally Posted By: DonaldPerry
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


You just want to be one of the few people Don would permit to be out there :-)
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/08/11 12:22 AM

Originally Posted By: stoopid
Rock climbing can be safe ...


You said you were climbing for 4 years. I assume that means on the summer weekends. I have climbed full time year round for 25 years. So if we match apples to apples that would mean I have climbing for 150.5 years by your math. You are in denial and have not had enough hard knocks or experience yet to wake you up out of your self induced psychosis. You are mistaken, climbing is not safe.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/08/11 03:08 AM


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



I can suppose the author here is talking about making your climb a remote one, but here I am going to talk about publicizing your solo and having some respect in what you do. In this case other people may follow you by example. Below is the kind of example that I set forth for soloing.


Just for the record, I really do not solo just to solo. I would rather climb with a rope most all of the time, it leaves me less to worry about, and I do not see the point to it. If a climb involves some soloing, like Between The Lines 5.11 or something similar I will help celebrate it. I think its great to have climbs here we can accomplish hard problems without bolts, its really very interesting.


Mike Burlingame and I did the second accent of Enduro Man's Longest Hangout. Mike knocked off a row of loose rocks on the small ledge and sat down, where John Brag had left them there to keep the climb more to its original state. After that we just slung that giant "loose block" and used it as a chalkstone and lowered off on it. The block was our key piece of protection, where John Brag had only put # 2 stoppers behind it. Now it is no longer there, I do not know why. It held up under several times both our body weights.


These are the kinds of things I am talking about. However, as far as soloing climbs like Low Exposure or Star Action, if I had it wired, if I climbed more, if I had just done it twice already I might be tempted to try it without a rope, why not. However, then again, I would hate to see someone else doing it solo under the wrong or otherwise different circumstances. Besides, there is enough climbs with little to no pro that justify it elsewhere, so why should I belabor the need to solo when there is none? It is actually harder to lead a climb than it is to solo it, so why cut corners?, in the long run it makes things harder. That is, your going to be getting less climbs in if you fall.


I can imagine that someday in the near future I will often solo the first 15' of Double Clutch and the Gill Problem that goes through the roof to the right of it. It's fun. I have done these before solo. I don't have a problem with them. I have fallen off from up there before as well. I think I may solo Low Exposure, but I am not acquainted enough with it now to do that today as a workout routine. These are things I would do as a work out, but Retribution or Star Action are too far off the ground and I would hate to see other people doing it as well. The human body would not survive the fall very well from up there. However, by the same token, if the climb demands it, like Scary Area under the old retired bolt, then in that case I believe it is justified. [I think that bolt is now gone.] And once you get up there I do not think it is the kind of thing you should keep repeating on an old bolt, unless you rap off first and put the rope back up there to that high point. So I have my limits. And basically those limits are set on taking a lot of time and care to make sure there are no difficult or unforeseen obstacles. And by that same thinking it makes it impractical and impossible to go out and solo a list of climbs. It is however easy and practical for me to polish off climbs with a rope, I can do it with a clear head.


So I hope you understand what I am saying, there is a difference here. It is not the same kind of climbing. Soloing for me involves an over excessive obsessing with each move. It gets very annoying if that's all you do. For me it is a very impractical means for dealing with climbs. If I had to solo everything, if there was no such thing as nylon rope, I would do Star Action or some other 5.10. But it would only be once a year. The rest of the time I would be soloing 5.8 once in a while and bouldering 5.12 most of the time, both without taking repeated falls.


So yea, don't solo and do not make a completive sport out of it. Go bouldering instead, it makes more sense, don't fall, and don't use a ground mat. However by the same token, the climbs that have solo's built into them, you can do them if you are not in a hurry and can down climb, they involve a lot more time, energy, concentration, and commitment. And as you do such climbs you have to be ready at certain points on certain climbs to say "Enough is enough" realizing that you have to quit when you are potentially in over your head. Not all climbs are possible to do safely on poor protection. If you are not ready to quit on such things then you will get hurt. You have be a sometimes quitter and let other people finish the climb. You cannot have too much pride or become too attached, to than be willing to take risks just to quickly finishing a climb before someone else does. You should only finish through a climb if you are convinced you could do such things reasonably more than once.


I have been talking about the Gunks here, but some day I might try to do the Eiger, but I would not attempt to climb El Cap in a day. But now if we are talking about the Eiger or doing El Cap in a day or 2 hours, then that is a different story. For that you have better have a mind for soloing under pressure in the rain with a pack on your back or whatever. For that reason I could understand that kind of person rightly justifying soloing hard climbs here to do easy wet weighted or long little protected climbed elsewhere. I really do not know for certain what that king of continuous climbing is all about, but I assume that you have to have some kind of limits on how you climb differently than you would if you have a rope, I am not sure how anyone does that. Its out of my reach, I do not understand it, so I can't comment on something I know nothing about. I can only say what I know, that I don't know and don't want to know. I will solo Frogs Head but I am not going to solo close to my limit with any kind of enthusiasm or habitual desire.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/08/11 05:16 PM

Originally Posted By: stoopid
Probably, it's a little slick and the first couple moves might end up with people decking on that large bolder. I've heard people have gotten hurt/killed hitting that boulder, and it seems reasonable that could/would happen. I wouldn't lead it. Anyone leading 5.7 at the Gunks is likely a relatively strong climber so their margin for error is probably wide enough this is rarely an issue. And after just a few moves and placement of a few quality pieces early the risk is probably gone.



What you are implying here is that you would lead [i.e. pull up 3' of stack on the first piece i.e. solo] if the holds were not slick. If not you would at least advocate it. To help unravel your thinking ultimately what you are advocating is that everything should be top roped from henceforth and then turning around and contradicting yourself unaware of what you are implying.


The mechanics of soloing dictate [traveling down on only those solid roads] that you have to climb in such a way stable enough that your understanding and experience can agree that you are doing something that you have never taken a leader fall on nor would do the same in the future at the present understanding you are climbing at.


This means that if you are putting up a new route that is 5.11 solo from the ground up, for example, you can only go so far so that you can turn around, where it is still reasonable by experience that you can still reverse every more back to the beginning. That you understand that there are certain kinds of holds and moves that are solid and other kinds of holds and moves that are questionable. Questionable means that you may have to spend hours days or years hanging around trying to understand them. Questionable means that you may never do the climb because there is no way you can interpret the moves without doing them. You are not going to do anything new or outside your control.


Most of my climbing has to do with rigging. The time I have spent rock-climbing has lent itself to unexpected falls only off small footholds and un-chalked finger holds or unfamiliar moves. In other words, the falls I have taken [I can only speak from my experience] in my genre all have to do with stepping off. When I say stepping off I am talking about getting off that solid road and forcing myself into situations that demand a potential fall. In other words unexpected falls eventually fade into a thing of the past giving us a false sense of security. The problem is there is a lot to keep track of, and if you are having a bad day you may cross over that boundary unexpectedly without knowing it.


If however you are repeating a route (not doing a new climb) or climbing something straightforward at a comfortable grade pre-known grade, then in that case there is a reason to assume that you can send with absolute certainty. That grade could be 5.13.


Homeowners climb ladders to clean gutters and housemaids stand on chairs and tables to dust ceiling fans. And this is true even though OSHA says you need to be tied in. These people are not going to listen to you either. But if you purposely make decisions to stay always within your mental and physical ability your doing the same thing as a home owner who is climbing a ladder without a rope or a house maid who stands on a rickety old table she has stood on many times before.


Problems arise when someone assumes climbing is safe, you yourself are a perfect case in point, and then takes that thinking with them up into these enlightened genres. I have heard the gods say it. But I have also heard them as they change their minds just as understood by the Greeks. Problems arise when one underestimates all the complexity. Problems arise when you are off your guard, none of us completely understand the world we live in or our own selves for that matter. Soloing near your limit has an element of false security to it. If you do it very rarely it is reasonably predictable that it will have no effect whatsoever. But if you do it repeatedly then it is unreasonable to assume that eventually human nature will not take its natural course where you will find yourself missing the mark just like the rest of us given enough time. The mistake my not happen in your own life time, but given that same equation repeatedly eventually there will be bugs will start to turn up in the code.

Some video of can be seen under the following names on youtube. com

PanAroma: Alexander Huber
adidas Outdoor Alexander Huber - Free Solo
Tre Cime di Lavaredo Dolomites Climbing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqUC7oVH1Nc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96JIohKsQVY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT6nkZjGYkU&feature=related
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/08/11 07:25 PM

Originally Posted By: stoopid
What's the deal with free soloing?


I think you should change your name, I do not think you are stoopid.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/08/11 11:40 PM

Originally Posted By: stoopid
What's the deal with free soloing? Sunday someone climbed Frog's Head in boots. We were worried he was climbing up to jump off (he arrived at the climb by cane and was ignoring the other climbers trying to speak with him).

Is this acceptible? Should we have said something? I realize a few people do it on TV, but I don't expect them to live long. I feel like I had the potential to help in that situation but didn't want to be a wet blanket if this was something he did 10 times a week. But he was ignoring people so... WTF?


Forget about it .... read this instead. I should have posted this in the beginning. You have only been climbing 4 years?, you need to concentrate on yourself, forget about that guy soloing:

CLIMBING SAFELY
.
********************
.
Royal Robins once said that he didn't have many exciting stories to tell because he did not get himself into the same situations that other climbers did. This paper is written to explain some of the old mountaineering ethics like those of Royal Robins.


Sound climbing ethics concerning safety usually develop very slowly for most people. This is because the last reason most climbers are out climbing is to develop responsible limiting safety standards for themselves to follow. Most people do not understand what their risks are until they make repeated mistakes that are noticeable directly to them. Some climbers conclude that accidents and death are part of the game, and cannot to be avoided. We believe this to be true to a degree. However to conclude that we have no control over our safety is illogical. To say that all accidents are unrelated to any standard one might develop is to be ignorant of the fact that every outcome is based on something that causes it. The universe is not founded on random laws. Every accident has a cause. The cause of most accidents is clearly because those involved in them are willingly ignorant of the risks they are taking.


Over the years successful safety concepts have been found by those in the military, big industry, insurance companies and O.S.H.A. The reason for this is that safety engineers have developed opinions and rules based on observing years of information from many kinds of accidents, the reason for this is that companies and our taxes pay employ people to analyze safety. One must carefully develop a model of the risks and then set standards to compensate for them if they wish to realistically deal with their environment.
Below are the fundamental rules one can use to govern their safety in the acronym S.A.F.E.


S. "Safety first". Putting safety first means that surviving rather than climbing is your primary objective. It means safety comes FIRST and everything else comes SECOND! However this can become increasingly hard to do in certain kinds of climbs.


A. "Analyze". Prepare yourself before climbing to develop effective safety habits in light of the risks you are taking. Ascending is something one needs to set his mind on after all of the possible dangers are eliminated. Equipment use skills and theories about falling are best developed at a level where you can find insights into the laws that govern your surroundings. While one is learning in the first five years they should not use the rope to support their weight. Years ago experienced climbers did not weight the rope while free climbing. Even catching leader falls has also proven to be something one must know beforehand and not learn by experience. The most important of all rules is not to rely on anyone to do anything for you. Double check everything your partner or your group does! Trust no one and nothing, always analyze. This is one of the most important of all rules. Just as important is finishing whatever you start, as in tying any knots you start.


F. "Faith". Ultimately it is true you cannot protect yourself from anything. Pray.


E. "Experience". Using your experience is a key factor in avoiding fatal mistakes. Reinhold Messner is a good example of how experience has been employed to avoid fatal mistakes. But climbing is not an activity where you should plan on learning how to protect yourself from your own experience and mistakes. It is better if you can find an experienced climber and some books from which to build your ideas. I have been a professional rigger, demolition expert for the industrial smokestack industry, and a rock climber for over twenty years. For me it took at least five years to really just START to understand all the risks and then be able to make sensible decisions naturally and quickly.


Being self assured is the greatest of all errors. To succeed and survive especially in the more difficult terrain one must know how to take great risks and truly know instinctively when one is in danger and when one is free of danger. No one can tell you this. Here a set of rules will not help. There are many complex solutions to life threatening situations that you must know instinctively to be able to act responsively and effectively. I have been on jobs where men died or became permanently disabled from their mistakes. I have come to believe very strongly that one must develop accurate conclusions about how they will respond to things before they happen. It takes years of experience to become a practical engineer, so it should be of no surprise if it takes five years or so, up at the cliffs to learn how to rig climbs effectively.


In places where safety must be guaranteed (such as on private land in NY) it is essential that precautions be taken which will guarantee that there will not be any accidents or law suits. A workable model for this is to always have climbers top roped, even if they are on the lead. Self belay devices on static ropes are sufficient to accomplish this. And always have people tied in when they are setting up these top ropes. In sensitive areas organizations should be formed to oversee these activities, see that safety rules are enforced, supply insurance, and where necessary lease the land.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/08/11 11:51 PM

HERE IS SOMETHING MORE SPICIFIC. I WOULD ADVISE YOU READ IT.

SAFETY RULES

******************************************

Introduction:
The most important thing to remember is that climbing is always very dangerous. One can never predict what will happen or can happen. So then being self assured is the greatest of all errors. Do not rely on anyone to do anything, double check everything your partner or your group does when ever you can. This is one of the most important of all rules. Just as important is finishing whatever you start. These rules can only be applied effectively by experienced climbers.

Belaying:
Always hold the rope in a manner so that you can pull some rope in if your leader should fall. Watch the person you are belaying closely to be sure you're giving your friend the shortest leader fall possible. One should not lock the rope off on a belaying device when a leader is falling on crappie nuts. Instead in this situation it is most always safer to let the rope slide a little as when one belays climbing ice. It takes a while to learn how to do this. You must not push your decisions on your protection past what it is able to bear. In some instances where there is a steep pendulum into something it is often necessary to catch leader falls after the leader has fallen past the object he may crash into. However this can be very dangerous if you don't know the angle of the rock and the amount of rope drag. Don't let a new climber belay without a gregree. Often they lose track of which rope end of the rope to hold onto. Do not belay directly under the leader if you can help it. Rocks, equipment and the leader himself can land on you. Before climbing tie into your harnesses and stay tied in until you are off the climb, if you have more then one person have more then one rope. If you are top roping, while hooking into your tie-in carabiner on your harness check and make sure it is clipped to the right place on your harness. It is can be assumed that one is clipped in correctly, though no one has checked to be sure what they are attached to. Or each climber assumes the other has sorted through a maze of gear and knows what everything is clipped into. Do not clip carabiners on your pants. Try and belay off better anchors besides yourself. It is safer and easier to rescue someone if you can be free to move around. There is a lot to lowering an unconscious or injured leader who is more then half a rope length out from the belay. The best solution to this problem is to always climb with a 400' rope. But unfortunately it weighs too much and no one ever plans on falling and getting hurt. In most instances it is better to be tied in with some slack so that you can move out of the way of falling objects. If you have ever worked on a construction site you may have read a sign on the crane that says, "Don't talk to the crane operator!" It's there for a good reason. Likewise don't talk to the belayer when the leader is climbing. Belaying under an overhang is great protection against falling objects. However, if you are not anchored you can crack your head or break your neck on the roof. As a rule always have an anchor behind you cinched up tight so you do not get pulled under the leader. If your leader falls on a questionable placement it may not be a good idea to lower him until he unclips from it first. It could pop when he gets near the ground. If you are going to be belaying for long lengths of time, like on an aid climb, use a gegree or put some knots in the rope if you are using a stitch plate and always tie into the end. Depending on where your leader puts his first placement you may want to anchor yourself in a location that will best insure that the first anchor stays in place. Do not belay in a way that the leader will fall into the rope. This can cause serious problems for the belayer and the leader. Your leader should always, as a rule, belay where he can see and hear you. If communication is impossible do not climb up, rather avoid further problems and wait for him to move the belay ... unless you are half way up the Eiger and it is raining rocks. If you cannot hear the leader and he has run out of rope you can also climb up a few feet (if the going is not too bad) to give him slack. Make sure that you first grab the nut tool of course. Don't leave your pack directly below where you will climb. You may drop a rock on it. If you are lowering a person and the rope is hanging below you it can get caught on something below. Before you belay on a ledge with loose rocks take as much time as necessary to remove all of them away from the edge of the cliff!!! Do not lower a swinging person. Wait till they stop swinging. Always tell the second it is their responsibility to be sure they don't climb ahead of the slack you are taking up. Do not belay someone on a traverse that has no protection. Let them go back down if necessary and change the protection for them. Whenever you belay overhead remove the elasticity from the rope first. Keep the rope tight near the ground and ledges. If you have children or new climbers don't let them hang or fall on the rope. They will end up swinging into things and get hurt. New climbers should learn not to fall. The best way to do this is to give them a swami belt for a harness, unless it is on longer climbs where they can get stuck hanging off their swami and die. My opinion is that it is child abuse to take anyone climbing that is under 16 or 18 years of age because they have no idea what they are really getting themselves into, to a greater extent. If you come to a crack where the rope could get caught place a nut in the crack to prevent the rope from getting caught later. Shorten slings by using a looping method only so that you can't loose carabiners. If you come to a questionable placement on a climb which is a turning point on the climb above a ledge or the ground into a difficult area it is wise to climb back down to the ledge and test the nut. This must be done with two ropes, for if the nut fails you must be tied into another rope so you don't break your ankle. When you place nuts observe the rock to see if there are cracks around them indicating the soundness of such a placement. You will find that it takes practice to get used to climbing with more then one beginner because things can easily become complicated. A lot of people make concentration very difficult. If you are leading and you have placed a nut that is causing rope drag come back down and remove it when you get to the next good placement. Do not use slings unless they are needed to keep the rope straight or to keep loose nuts from falling out of cracks, no sense in falling any farther then you have to. A few inches sometimes can make a big difference. Now and then you can use two carabiners instead of a short sling if you wish. However, on bolts and pitons the carabiners can unclip from the rope very easily. One needs to keep an eye on them while one climbs. Carry a long cord to equalize your belay anchors.


Rappelling:
Do not use a munder hitch to rappel with, that knot has a dangerous tendency to unclip locking carabiners. If you have a pack on or are carrying a person, normal rappel procedures will not work. You must secure the load to the descending device carabiner first. If you are rappelling on fixed lines and use a figure eight it will not work because of the way it kinks up the rope near the end even more so then other devices. If you are rappelling and you come up to a knot, do not rappel too close to it, otherwise you will never be able to get the knot out. Tony Kurz died on the Eiger by making this fatal mistake. It is a good idea to always put a knot in the rope, but it must be at the end. Note that it may roll out when your belay device comes up against it. Also keep in mind that the rope can easily get caught in cracks. If you are rappelling always note where the end of the rope is. You don't want to be under the end of your rope with it gets stuck in a crack over your head. This can leave you in a situation where you may need to be rescued. Get in the habit of always keeping an eye on the part of the rope that is a few feet off from your brake hand. Otherwise you will unexpectedly lose the rope one day. While rappelling down or climbing up look for wasps if you are in the Gunks. If you see any in the air watch where they land, they probably have a nest there. If there is less then four wasps in a nest they will usually let you pass without stinging you. They will let you know if you can pass by how fast they move their front legs. While rappelling down do not allow lichen to fall below you. If it goes past a large wasp nest the wasps will follow the falling lichen to where you are. This can be a big problem if you're lowering someone. If a wasp stings you in the eye it will blind you. When you are rappelling keep your hair clothing and breasts away from the descending device or you may get caught in it. Rings can also get caught in cracks and remove your fingers.


Other:
Watch your partner if he or she is a new climber that they don't bump their head on protruding objects when walking or climbing. When you climb on someone else's gear check their slings that the ends of the slings extend out from their knot at least two inches. To untie tight knots a hammer can be used to loosen them. Do not load jumars more than 300 pounds. It will damage the rope. If you lock a carabiner under a load you will need to load in it to unlock it. If you lead a climb in the morning you will find that as the rock gets warmer some nuts may become stuck more readily due to the rock contracting. If you are swinging on a rappel you may dislodge loose rocks over your head. The bowline knot does not work properly when loaded from the loop. Everything must be tied in all the time. Anything not tied in will eventually fall sooner or later. Before you take short leader falls on your own protection, you should have at least 1,500 hours of leading experience. Before you belay you should be tested by catching leader falls with a weight when you are off guard. This can be very dangerous for the belayer if he does not know anything. When you become experienced, you will find that it is not necessary to fall more then two feet or so to finish a hard climb and that falling is a part of doing hard climbs. However falling is not something one should ever do as a beginner. If you think a rock is loose do not touch it. If you decide to test and see if it is loose you have to think about what will you do if it starts falling. On of the keys to aid climbing quickly on A1 - A3 is to move on whatever you put in the rock the first time. This can be very scary especially if you fall once. It is a good idea to have a shock absorbing sling to clip into your daisy chain so that in case you fall your body will not absorb the shock of the fall. It is a good idea to have a small sling on your harness carabiner. The reason for this is so that a downward load can be placed in your carabiner where it is also attached into your harness (Willans) without damaging it. The short sling will distribute the weight on top of your harness better then a carabiner that would damaging your harness. It is a good idea to have a hammer for removing nuts that have been fallen on. It is a good idea to have a headlamp. When you're climbing explain to your partner what you are going to do if you are going out of his sight. Make sure your belayer is concentrating on you. Always remain tied in and don't be in a hurry.

Mental awareness. Accidents happen more readily under the following circumstances:

If you are unable to concentrate on what you are doing for any reason, such as just having broken up with a girl friend for example. In this situation you must stop climbing or continue at a greatly reduced rate to allow extra time to think. Do not push yourself. Don't hurry. Take as much time as you need to be able to think over oncoming situations clearly. When you are arguing with one of the people you are climbing with and are not communicating properly with them. When you are under emotional stress from a disagreement with another party member. When you are under emotional stress for any reason, especially if a member of you party has just gotten injured or has died. When you are afraid. When you have not had enough sleep, especially over a number of days. When your body temperature has drooped from cold weather. When this happens you will find you will not be able to think quickly. When you are suffering from lack of food and water, always take extra on big walls. When you need to hurry. When your partner has set up a belay needlessly out of your hearing range. If the person you are climbing with is inexperienced wait till he climbs back down and tell him to set up a belay closer to you so you can communicate. One solution to this is to let a more experienced member of your party lead to a ledge between you and the inexperienced leader. He can lead off the same protection that has already been placed by your leader. When your equipment is in a mess. This will only slow you down and cause you to drop things. When there are optical illusions such as in chimneys that distort where 90 degrees is, making there appear to be ledges to rest on where there is none. When children are involved. Where there are children they should be away from the cliff and the rocks that fall off by erosion. Where there are children and inexperienced climbers there should be two experienced climbers to help on either end. A child can untie himself from a belay without knowing it.

The climbing ethics I learned from Bill Ravitch as a teenager.
When you are leading a hard climb like retribution you must have a plan in place before you pass your last good piece of protection. What we mean by this is that you must determine how far you can go up the cliff based on how far you can fall safely without hitting something. Most of the time when we fall one can know that he was going to fall before hand. And so one should be able to jump away from whatever is underneath him when the rock budges out in the way. But this has not always been the case. Ones goal is not to get to a rest or a ledge or a comfort zone or to anything other then your next possible placement and work on putting your next placement in even at the risk of falling. One should never want to get too far out from a good situation. Your aim should be to down climb rather then fall. Sometimes this rule must be broken though as with many of these rules. And through experience you will know when you can break this rule ... to keep climbing without protection in certain instances. In fact unfortunately sometimes this will be the essential thing to do.

It is important not to fall as a rule, since the rope should be used as protection and not a means of ascending, unless you are jumaring climbing. Falling or hanging on the rope often is not advisable for new climbers since they still have a lot to learn about protection. Sitting on the rope at a crux looks kind of dumb anyway since it removes the unexpected outcome and suspense of climbing something hard and achieving the goal of a legitimate ascent. Unless one is being lowered, doing a route beyond your means and sitting on the rope is pointless. Why not climb something easier?
Once you determine if you have a good placement (not just a satisfactory one) then you have a new starting point from which to work on your climb. If you have a satisfactory placement in and you fall and the protection holds do not lower down too quickly. Going up might be wiser since you do not want to risk having a less then satisfactory placement pull out and you hit the ground or a ledge.

The way you tell if your protection is good is by looking at it, not yanking on it. If you have placed a nut there must be a narrowing slot below your placement. This will further set your placement if you fall and this is what qualifies it as being a good placement. Second, it must be set somewhat by yanking down on it. This will assure that it will not fall out when you move past it. This is especially important if you are not going to use a sling. Climbing down to place more gear or remove gear is something that is a part of climbing. Unless you incorporate down climbing into your technique you are taking greater risks.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 09/08/11 11:58 PM

I see a lot of arguing and posturing to 'prove' climbing is unsafe, and yet millions of people engage in it every year and don't die or get injured, and over the course of their climbing career never do. Again, hypocritical to say something is dangerous and then make it more dangerous by engaging in the most dangerous variety of the activity. Obviously the point you're making has absolutely nothing to do with safety or danger.

If you can't answer a simple question while soloing and people being there/potentially saying something to you might freak you out, then don't do it in front of others. Yeah, maybe everyone at the base needs to sign a release before you start up the wall. If that's what it would take for you to feel at one with a bunch of people freaking out and wondering if you're some psychopath about to kill themselves. Let's face it, you have a pretty gruff personae. [FWIW, I was the calmest of the two climbers with me, they wanted you off it seemed at any cost and I was the one who suggested we just pack up and leave (we were done anyway)... so I guess your brush paints wide strokes as you colored some pretty solid and respected climbers PINK with your comments]

By all rights, with zero information, the wearing of boots, and lack of communication it was not a stretch to believe you were going up to take a quick, final trip down. If random people at a crag think this, perhaps you should look at that and why you're chosen to put yourself so far apart/away from the average, balanced individuals in the climbing community. Frankly, you looked creepy. It wasn't a stretch at all. You could have said ANYTHING ("I'm fine folks," WHATEVER). But I digress, I think you get off on it. And in your replies I definitely see the inflation of ego. Maybe everyone should have rapeled immediately upon his majesty's arrival, for he wants to climb! Oh wait, that's right, you wanted us there for whatever sick mental trip doing this stuff sends you on.
Posted by: worthrussell

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 01:28 AM

Donald, no offense but your posts are way too damn long and boring. Whole lotta shit and no substance. If you wanna solo in old ass leather boots and and onsight solo 5.10's youre the man. If we ever hang out maybe i'll get you a lap dance at the blue moon strip club in New Paltz. Maybe those ladies of the night will be super impressed with your shabby chic boots and double denim attire. I personally have no problem with free soloing, but you looked anything but confident. I've seen guys free soloing cck and wasn't nervous for them in the least. Your style, in both climbing and wardrobe, are severely lacking.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 01:45 AM

Originally Posted By: worthrussell
...looked anything but confident. I've seen guys free soloing cck and wasn't nervous for them in the least. Your style, in both climbing and wardrobe, are severely lacking.


1. I did not like the move.
2. I was weak, the 5.4 was hard.
3. I had to get the downclimb wired.
4. I had to take my time to think about it and work around it or come down.
5. In the end I found a reasonable solution and went up to a small ledge rather then down to the same one I was on.

I was fine and in complete control that day.

However, many years ago I had a problem off route on the second pitch. I was out of shape and running out of steam on the 15' traverse over the hang solo. I hate to think about it, it gives me the chills.

Whats wrong with blue-jeens?
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 01:50 AM

Originally Posted By: stoopid
I see a lot of arguing and posturing to 'prove' climbing is unsafe, and yet millions of people engage in it every year and don't die or get injured, and over the course of their climbing career never do. Again, hypocritical to say something is dangerous and then make it more dangerous by engaging in the most dangerous variety of the activity. Obviously the point you're making has absolutely nothing to do with safety or danger.

If you can't answer a simple question while soloing and people being there/potentially saying something to you might freak you out, then don't do it in front of others. Yeah, maybe everyone at the base needs to sign a release before you start up the wall. If that's what it would take for you to feel at one with a bunch of people freaking out and wondering if you're some psychopath about to kill themselves. Let's face it, you have a pretty gruff personae. [FWIW, I was the calmest of the two climbers with me, they wanted you off it seemed at any cost and I was the one who suggested we just pack up and leave (we were done anyway)... so I guess your brush paints wide strokes as you colored some pretty solid and respected climbers PINK with your comments]

By all rights, with zero information, the wearing of boots, and lack of communication it was not a stretch to believe you were going up to take a quick, final trip down. If random people at a crag think this, perhaps you should look at that and why you're chosen to put yourself so far apart/away from the average, balanced individuals in the climbing community. Frankly, you looked creepy. It wasn't a stretch at all. You could have said ANYTHING ("I'm fine folks," WHATEVER). But I digress, I think you get off on it. And in your replies I definitely see the inflation of ego. Maybe everyone should have rapeled immediately upon his majesty's arrival, for he wants to climb! Oh wait, that's right, you wanted us there for whatever sick mental trip doing this stuff sends you on.


I said "no thanks!"! guess you did not hear me or there was too much talking down there to hear me.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 02:09 AM

"you looked creepy"

Of course I looked creepy, I was creepin up on a Frogs Head.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 02:12 AM

"I see a lot of arguing and posturing to 'prove' climbing is unsafe, and yet millions of people engage in it every year and don't die or get injured, and over the course of their climbing career never do."

OK, how do you climb safely? If its so simple then you should be able to explain it to me very easy. How do I climb safe, soloing aside obviously.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 02:26 AM

"you wanted us there for whatever sick mental trip doing this stuff sends you on ... they wanted you off it seemed at any cost..."

That sounds like the lyrics to some song I heard before, but I do not know where.

1. No, I wanted the climb there for whatever sick mental trip doing this stuff sends me on. So I sent it.

2. I find newbies annoying, they create problems. I have to constantly yell at them, or lecture them, or else ignore them.

3. I used to have nightmares of falling, I would wake up in a cold sweat. Do you still have those? I don't.

But lets get to your first point HOW DO YOU CLIMB SAFE?
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 02:31 AM

I've never had nightmares (any type).

I climb safely by obviously not associating with climbers like you, for starters.

You're sick (possibly physically, definitely mentally). I'm not going to play your little games. Have fun posting 600 word diatribes about how lowly we are. Sage advice on an internet forum, never seen that one before!

If you climbed nearly as well as you type we wouldn't be on page 16. Next time you want to suck at something do it in private, the side of a rock wall isn't youtube.

We've seen good soloists and they climb confident, strong, and we even had someone interact with us playfully on a climb. I've met soloists in Yosemite that were down to earth, even congratulated us on doing the wall different than they've seen before. That's style. You're just some wacko who happens to climb.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 02:37 AM

OK so, climbing is safe but you don't know how or why? Obviously if you did you would tell me in less than 600 number of words. I am still waiting.

If you are the one that is so sane and I am the one that is so mental then you should be able to set me straight. But instead you keep throwing out ad hominem redherrings. Whats up with that? Can you *Please* give me some quick answer(s) on how I can make climbing safe like you? Or should I conclude that there is no way to know?
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 03:08 AM

If you want to be concerned with insulting me, be my guest, do so all you want, that's fine. But what you should be concerned with, for yourself and those you care for, if you have any amount of decency at all, is your complete inaptitude to define what you claim is so self evident, where you have the need to side step it by calling attention to an ad hominem excuse you think you should be entitled to, to ignore any responsibly for things you say. You see it is very easy to say climbing is safe. It's another thing to prove it by reason and logic.


If you cannot back up what you have to say now then there is no reason for either I nor anyone else to take ANYTHING you have to say with any amount of the lest bit of sober earnestness.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 05:13 AM

The way you prove something is factual is you form an argument against it. If the argument is repeatedly unanswerable then in this way you can assume you are on to something. It is through this method of dialectic that any idea can be proven to have substance or to be empty.

Stoopid says climbing is safe.
Stoopid is confronted with "How is climbing made safe?".
Stoopid cannot answer the question coherently.

Conclusion 1.) Climbing is not safe. 2.) Stoopid is not a safe climber because he cannot define how climbing is made safe, nor has any desire to do so. Stoopid does not have a safety plan or method. 3.) Stoopid is a loose cannon.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 03:33 PM

Stoopid refuses to debate with the insane, therefore stoopid prepares for a weekend of climbing.
Posted by: stoopid

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 03:41 PM

Originally Posted By: worthrussell
I personally have no problem with free soloing, but you looked anything but confident. I've seen guys free soloing cck and wasn't nervous for them in the least. Your style, in both climbing and wardrobe, are severely lacking.


Worthy (har har) of quoting. Awesome.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 04:05 PM

Originally Posted By: worthrussell
Donald, ... your posts are ... whole lotta shit and no substance.


There is no way to decipher what you are talking about either about shit or substance, until then what you wrote unfortunately amounts to incoherent babble *in relation to the subject the thread concerns*. Do you have an example of "Shit" or "Substance"? If not, if you have no desire to make yourself understood, then you need to move on, as other have, to something that better suits them.

Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 10:57 PM

Now that this thread has become one of donald perry vs stoopid, I'll suggest that they carry on via personal messages.
Posted by: Mike Rawdon

Re: Free Soloing - 09/09/11 11:05 PM

Originally Posted By: oenophore
Now that this thread has become one of donald perry vs stoopid, I'll suggest that they carry on via personal messages.


Now what fun would THAT be?
Posted by: ianmanger

Re: Free Soloing - 09/10/11 12:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Mike Rawdon
Originally Posted By: oenophore
Now that this thread has become one of donald perry vs stoopid, I'll suggest that they carry on via personal messages.


Now what fun would THAT be?



Agreed. Watching Don mess with stoop and worth is good thread.
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 09/10/11 03:33 AM

Stoop & Worth,

You can insult Don. That may be easy. He may not be "sane." He may have "unfortunate taste in climbing footwear." He may be prone to endorse the odd "conspiracy theory." He may live "in a van down by the river."

But the fact remains that he has the better of the argument. As far as I can tell he's the only one making an argument for his position (albeit at greater length and with a touch more rambling than I might advise), while you refuse to defend your own, instead choosing to call him names and criticize his personal technique.

But Don's own climbing isn't the issue, or if it was before it isn't now. The thread became about soloing in general and you guys (or at least Stoopid) have put a line in the sand and said soloing is on one side (the reckless side) and roped climbing is on the other (the safe side). I think this distinction is at best facile. At worst it is dangerous to the life expectancy of anyone who entertains it.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/10/11 03:57 AM

Originally Posted By: oenophore
Now that this thread has become one of donald perry vs stoopid, I'll suggest that they carry on via personal messages.


Once, I went to Bayards alone in the winter, I climbed a lot in the winter. No one else was up at the cliff for months. I started to solo something around the middle of the cliff, and at one point I found myself in a lot of trouble when I suddenly realized the part of the cliff I had gotten myself into was all one giant collection of loose blocks. Climbing down was no longer an option, things were moving around. I managed to get off somehow and remember it as one of my most complicated experiences of my climbing carrier.

One winter Jim Munson was alone climbing at the Bayards, He had camped out there by himself and was climbing near the top. He said the temperature was around 20 degrees and gusty. It was starting to get dark when he saw something that stopped him in the middle of his climb, it paralyzed him with fear, he could not move, he could not get off the climb. Yet on questionable rock he could not go up or climb down, there are questionable places there in the Bayards where you never know for sure if you are in over your head. What stopped him cold was there was a man standing on one of the ledges in a white shirt with his hands stretched toward heaven looking up. He did not want to disturb the fellow . . . he did not know what he was looking at, or if it was perhaps something, someone who had come there to meet him. He was afraid of having eye contact with this person, as I suppose I would too. He got out of there. Eventually he was able to move and found the strength within himself to move off the cliff and away from this thing. Some how he climbed around and made it back to his tent, found some soup, and fell asleep. I do not believe he has ever returned to there since.


One time back when I first started climbing a boy went up to climb Roseland in the Nears. He climbed up, thinking that he would find a rest. And he kept climbing up, and then up again running it out from placement to placement. Eventually he made it up into the traverse. He never did find a ledge to rest on though. When he could hold on no longer he had to let go. He fell off from quite a ways up there and came down hard on that big boulder at the base of the climb. His pro pulled out and he died. I cannot imagine the pain his family went through because of this needless death, they must have been devastated. What did they think of the rest of us who continued to climb, in a way were we mocking him? Perhaps this is the person that Jim saw? When I would sleep at the bottom of the Uberfall at night I slept in the stokes litter when it rained, it was balanced up on top of that rock under the big overhang. Sometimes it would rain for days, I was alone. There was nothing to be concerned with, no bills and plenty of money, the cliff was my home, it really was my only home. That litter I slept in had been used to carry out the dead bodies of people who had fallen off the cliff. One time a young boy had fallen off the top of the Uberfall next to the place where I slept, that's what Bill Ravitch told me, about these people who had died while he was there. Often I would think of them at night, sometimes I would not be able to sleep, (you went to bed when it got dark). The wind would howl through the trees, and it would make you think about these people who had died suddenly without warning. It was sad, suddenly they were in a trap to fall to the ground and too their death. Perhaps we were making light of their plight by continuing to climb?, I think in a way that we were. There was no one there on many nights. It was just me and the cliff, and the blood of the people who had died. And I am sure some of their blood was on the stokes litter as well. Do they visit this place again?, I would sometimes wonder. And if they did what would they say? These are the kinds of things you can sometimes think about when you are in the mountains, it is only you and these cliffs and whatever else there might be out there in the dark.

No, I think Stoopid has brought up a extremely valid concern only because it is held by many a climber, that climbing is safe. I am not going to mention any names, but his concern is not merely held by new climbers. However, I think the thinking is simple and is fatally flawed. There is nothing to support it, the idea stands on thin air. This argument has nothing to do with anything personal the way I see it. There is a lot of blood spattered all along here, and I would not be surprised if there are not some dead people looking over our shoulders. In fact I am sure that there is. When there is a lot of blood, guts and dead people involved I am not interested in bashing Stoopid, I am interested in bashing his stupid ideas to smithereens. And I think I have done that. I don't believe he has anything left to stand on. But, only time will tell for sure. If he keeps posting ad hominem arguments we know it's over, at least as far as he is concerned.

PS Sorry if I get a little emotional, but I hate the idea that seeks to dismiss these … trapps.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/10/11 12:21 PM

Many people have died, and more have become permanently injured and disabled. People more concerned than we are about death and falling. If Stoopid is wrong, he does not need to apologize to me, he needs to apologize those who are now suffering, those who haves died, their families, and those who may listen to him rather than heed our warnings. Is everyone whose life had been taken by these Trapps a damn fool?, or is it foolish to believe climbing can be safe? Some people cannot climb unless they believe this lie. But I know we all lie to ourselves about this, if we did not then none of us would climb.
Posted by: chip

Re: Free Soloing - 09/12/11 02:11 AM

Thanks for these stories. It might be easy to discount things that do not have video or other irrefutable evidence, but even then we all choose our own beliefs. It wouldn't be faith if such evidence were available, eh? Such an experience as someone standing on a ledge when you know it can't be another person would get my attention. Early experiences helping fatally injured people may be one of the reasons I have lasted as long as I have with as little climbing talent as I have. I would not share here the couple stories of unexplanable I have, but anyone can ask me if you are bored at the cliffs.
Posted by: retr2327

Re: Free Soloing - 09/12/11 02:27 PM

If you're bored at the cliffs, you're doing it wrong.

Bored at work, however, is another story. Any time you want to share you stories, I'd be happy to read them.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/12/11 04:54 PM

delete
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/12/11 06:41 PM

There is more people soloing at the Gunks than you think …

When people witness a rock fall, they think it's a freak accident. After the rock hits the ground people just forget about it and go back to what they were doing, and the rock, he just sits there. But the truth is that it happens all the time, I have witnessed literally hundreds of rocks fall off the cliff.

I wish I watched all these rocks, how mental block rolled around into the place where you can now climb stupid crack vertically. Did it happen so perceptually slow people could not see it, or did it happen fast? The Trapps sit on shale, you can see that right away if you go over to the Nears. That means all the rocks you see on the ground are rocks that have fallen and rolled off the cliff at some point. Anyone who puts up a new route is going to have to deal with loose rocks.

But that's not the only danger. Without warning here you have people on bikes with dogs running behind them and people falling out of the sky. What happens if your toddler falls over the edge of the carriage road onto his head in the confusion? Will he break his head or will he break his back or will he break his neck?, who knows. You would have to deal with being potentially charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. Ten feet is a long way to fall head first without a rope. Stoopid and company would be better understood if they posted something about this.

Some people believe in getting a small hard hat and the toddler leash. I say instead, go home and buy a sand box and some sand, your kids will never know the difference. Those are the size rocks your kids want to be playing with anyway.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 09/12/11 09:02 PM

Don, if you click on "edit" at the bottom of your personal post, you'll now see an additional button, "delete post". It will remove the entire post completely.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/12/11 11:58 PM

After a few views the delete post is disabled, yet the "edit post" still works. My choices are sometimes limited.
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 09:46 AM

There is a 24 hour life of a post wherein it may be deleted by the poster. But if there's a reply, only the content thereof is deleted.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 11:43 AM

Originally Posted By: oenophore
There is a 24 hour life of a post wherein it may be deleted by the poster. But if there's a reply, only the content thereof is deleted.


Ah, live and learn.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 01:19 PM

delete
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 02:21 PM

John Young points to "Survival of the Fittist" 5.13a Lost City, Mohonk Preserve, Shawangunks/Gunks NY Brian Kim prepares to lead the route.

http://mattcalardo.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/MCP-Portfolio/G0000DStgn2qgwgI/I0000kABpcWzBlCc

Originally put up by Scott Franklin in traditional style (he banged pins in from the ground up), this hard, technical route has become a popular top-rope testpiece in the Gunks. It was also the site of the first free-solo of a 5.13 by an American (also Franklin). The crack immediately to the right, is Persistence 5.11b/c, first climbed by John Stannard. The blank wall right of the crack is home to Mantronix 5.13d FFA Jerry Moffat photographer: Nicolas Falacci

http://www.rockclimbing.com/photos/Misc/Survival_of_the_Fittest_21049.html

Searching Rui Ferreira>Lost City, Gunks at picasaweb.google.com https://picasaweb.google.com/109847866880521794057/LostCityGunks

Brings up a photo guide to Lost City and Servival

https://picasaweb.google.com/109847866880521794057/LostCityGunks#5462993511034019634

The Lost City - Gunks, NY
http://www.summitpost.org/the-lost-city-gunks-ny/611988


Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 03:24 PM

Originally Posted By: donald perry
After a few views the delete post is disabled, yet the "edit post" still works. My choices are sometimes limited.

But why do you keep doing this? Do you lack conviction in what you write? Maybe drafting it first before posting could help. Or are you merely trying to be annoying?
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 03:57 PM

Originally Posted By: donald perry
Originally Posted By: oenophore
There is a 24 hour life of a post wherein it may be deleted by the poster. But if there's a reply, only the content thereof is deleted.


No, you get a message saying "the post can no longer be deleted". You can't delete it. You can still edit it though, for a while longer.
Ah, right you are. Things used to be the way I outlined above. I tested this with a junk first post followed by a reply. I deleted the reply, which allowed me to delete the initial post. So if one wishes to delete a replied-to post, the replyer(s) must first cooperate by deleting their replies. This becomes quite tangled if the replies have replies.
Posted by: retr2327

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 07:25 PM

Oh what a tangled web we knit,
when first we practice to edit.

With apologies to Sir Walter Scott.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 09:53 PM

delete
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 09/13/11 10:24 PM

I replied to my own post, deleted it, and still had the same problem with no posts at all against it. I have sermized that it has to do with the number of views you have to it after it is posted

I tested this by creating a junk post and went back and forth viewing that post a dozen times. I deleted it then. What gives?
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 02:33 AM

Stoopid: "There's tons of risk inherent in climbing, and to increase it soloing is what I'm resisting."


The fact that you are "resisting" shows you are no different then the rest of us! The first thing you learn when you start climbing is that to climb in good style means that you do not need the rope. The rope becomes something of a reminder that you are not free, you can only dream of leaving the rope behind. Climbing with a rope leads to wishing to be set free from the rope. There is nothing glorious about hanging or falling on a rope or needing a rope. Naked we came into this world in former days familiar with and attached to a rope, as anchored to life itself. But then there was a day when that cord was cut and we left that rope behind. We defied death and learned how to live and to breath without a rope once.


There are two climbs that sit together in the Gunks, one is Never Never Land, and the other is Never Say Never. If you keep climbing with a rope, regardless of what you think you know now, never say never because some day you may find yourself climbing without it. And if you keep dreaming of a climb, and you keep climbing it, it is only natural that you may someday say "I know I can do that without a rope". And ultimately you will never climb hard if you are not going to push things to the limit. What climbing is really all about is not repeating someone else's climb. You are really climbing when you are willing to climb into unknown territory and unknown conditions. Ultimately climbing is about taking calculated risks. And over time you can get better in narrowing down those unknown ungraded risks to a line as thin as a hair.


If you already know that climbing without a rope is sick, you should know that climbing with a rope is sick too. Because as time goes on you will become more and more comfortable with climbing with less and less protection.. You will learn more about rock, what protection is really necessary, that in most places you do not need runners, and what you can and cannot do. You will learn to take very little gear with you rather than everything you own.


You are like a week end crackhead saying you are safe, that you have everything under control. I don't believe you. You are already climbing above your protection! And if you plan on climbing hard and putting up bold new routes and keeping up with the rest of us, it wont be long till you realize you are not in Kansas anymore. You're not safe, I suggest you quit climbing while there is still hope, before it's too late, before you wake up and realize what you have gotten yourself into. You can not always be controlling climbing, sometimes the climb controls you.


But one thing you should know, these days you are now in are the most dangerous. It takes a solid 5 years of climbing just to get started, don't underestimate it. And don't solo ... its dangerous .. keep "resisting".


Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 03:51 AM

And someday I will be able to solo those 5.4's in style, it's only a matter of time, if I don't die first *of natural causes*.
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 03:53 PM

a true master of the sport can solo the unthinkable and be relativey "safer" than I might be on easy routes roped up. the sheer nervousness I have always had about something going wrong could generate a situation where it makes something go wrong. that has never gone away for me or even got less. I always put in tons of gear. even after 30 yrs of climbing. the master soloist never has that hamster wheel inside his head, you can tell watching that their head is clear and focused. and also, the "super natural" aspect of the gunks is there. did Jim see Jesus there at Bayards? he could have. I have also seen strange, terrifying and exalting things in our home mountains. victims of accidents and tragedies do haunt certain spots, it can be felt. they warn us, have something to teach us, they feed my hamster wheel. climbing is not safe. if you can make it past your 1st five years, it might get a little better.
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 04:22 PM

Originally Posted By: phlan
did Jim see Jesus there at Bayards? he could have.


Oy, if he did don't tell anybody! The last thing we need is a pilgrimage site at Bayards!

1. Kent would make a fortune.

2. The traffic year-round would be worse than leaf season.
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 05:18 PM

Originally Posted By: donald perry
Stoopid: "There's tons of risk inherent in climbing, and to increase it soloing is what I'm resisting."


The fact that you are "resisting" shows you are no different then the rest of us! The first thing you learn when you start climbing is that to climb in good style means that you do not need the rope. The rope becomes something of a reminder that you are not free, you can only dream of leaving the rope behind. Climbing with a rope leads to wishing to be set free from the rope. There is nothing glorious about hanging or falling on a rope or needing a rope. Naked we came into this world in former days familiar with and attached to a rope, as anchored to life itself. But then there was a day when that cord was cut and we left that rope behind. We defied death and learned how to live and to breath without a rope once.


There are two climbs that sit together in the Gunks, one is Never Never Land, and the other is Never Say Never. If you keep climbing with a rope, regardless of what you think you know now, never say never because some day you may find yourself climbing without it. And if you keep dreaming of a climb, and you keep climbing it, it is only natural that you may someday say "I know I can do that without a rope". And ultimately you will never climb hard if you are not going to push things to the limit. What climbing is really all about is not repeating someone else's climb. You are really climbing when you are willing to climb into unknown territory and unknown conditions. Ultimately climbing is about taking calculated risks. And over time you can get better in narrowing down those unknown ungraded risks to a line as thin as a hair.


If you already know that climbing without a rope is sick, you should know that climbing with a rope is sick too. Because as time goes on you will become more and more comfortable with climbing with less and less protection.. You will learn more about rock, what protection is really necessary, that in most places you do not need runners, and what you can and cannot do. You will learn to take very little gear with you rather than everything you own.


You are like a week end crackhead saying you are safe, that you have everything under control. I don't believe you. You are already climbing above your protection! And if you plan on climbing hard and putting up bold new routes and keeping up with the rest of us, it wont be long till you realize you are not in Kansas anymore. You're not safe, I suggest you quit climbing while there is still hope, before it's too late, before you wake up and realize what you have gotten yourself into. You can not always be controlling climbing, sometimes the climb controls you.


But one thing you should know, these days you are now in are the most dangerous. It takes a solid 5 years of climbing just to get started, don't underestimate it. And don't solo ... its dangerous .. keep "resisting".

Quoted for historical record.
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 05:19 PM

Originally Posted By: SethG
Originally Posted By: phlan
did Jim see Jesus there at Bayards? he could have.


Oy, if he did don't tell anybody! The last thing we need is a pilgrimage site at Bayards!

1. Kent would make a fortune.

2. The traffic year-round would be worse than leaf season.

The story is all part of Kent's and MPNA's diabolical plan to artificially inflate the value of their lands.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 09:44 PM

"did Jim see Jesus"

Could have been anyone or anything, but it was a person, and he did not want to find out what he was doing there. That's what he told me. I believe him, I think it was a spirit.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/14/11 11:25 PM

more loose stuff on the North American Wall feature and Zodiac October 19, 2009 if you're interested:

"...flakes free fell for what seemed like an eternity, slowly spinning and twisting in the air ..."

http://www.bigwalls.com/forum2/index.php?topic=743.0
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/15/11 04:29 AM

Alex Honnold does not solo all the time. And he did not on-sight Phoenix. So, I suppose I can relate to that after all, because he admits it's intense in his interviews and at the same time admits he has his limits. He says he goes forward being able to down climb. He has the moves wired and goes over them in his mind, it is not like he is onsight leading it. His skipping protection "all that junk" "having to place pro" is a physical advantage, it only takes him a few minutes to get to the crux and he can still down climb. He says in analyzation of his solo's thus far that he feels he has not stepped into a place where he is out of control, nevertheless he also says sometimes he wonders if he has while he is climbing.

I doubt if he will fall if he continues to have the same amount of preparation and reservations about soloing in the first place. I did not realize there was any planning behind what he was doing, I thought he was just going for it. And … he also admits he does not get pumped.

But then again we are talking about 5.13, there is not a lot of wiggle room, and nobody's perfect. So given enough time something will happen. It's not safe.


PHOENIX 5.13A Photos:
http://www.lezec.cz/clanek.php?key=9528&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=link

http://www.mountainproject.com/images/79/76/106197976_large_b568f5.jpg

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/106515880

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/105875281

http://senderfilms.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/honnold-phoenix1-blog1.jpg


Alex Honnold Free Solos The Phoenix (5.13a) in Yosemite:
http://rockandice.com/news/1473-alex-honnold-free-solos-the-phoenix-513a-in-yosemite


Solo, Part I: Alex Honnold Interview
http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web08x/wfeature-solo-honnold


The Phoenix solo – Alex Honnold interview and rare Ray Jardine insight
http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=38260


VIDEO PROFILE: BD athlete Alex Honnold 5.13 sport climbing at Phalanx of Will, Arizona
http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-...of-will-arizona
Posted by: retroscree

Re: Free Soloing - 09/15/11 06:38 AM


Quoted to preserve the collection of links, because you never know when this DP clown will delete the post.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/15/11 01:32 PM

Alex Hommold:
Originally Posted By: Hommold
Well a lot of things are different. The most obvious is that I'm stronger now than when I started soloing. I'm climbing a number harder, so things are just a little easier. Not getting pumped makes everything feel much more secure." … As for taming fear, I'm not sure if I'd phrase it like that. The first time I jugged I was gripped. It was the West Face of Leaning Tower in the Valley—super exposed, overhanging. But after doing a few more walls it became routine. The first time I soloed it was a little scary. Everyone says, "If your foot pops you die," or "What if you get stung by a bee?! You'd die." One by one I had all those things happen to me. I've blown feet, had birds come out of cracks, had bats hiss (which always scares the shit out of me), and nothing ever came of it. You go up there and climb—sometimes you get off route or sometimes it's dirtier than you'd like, but you either push through it or climb down. Nothing dramatic; nothing crazy; certainly never really "do or die" not to say that can't happen, and if it does you're in a bad way."



Ray Jardien in response to Honnold Interview:
Originally Posted By: Jardine
I seconded the Phoenix once, and I was surprised how much easier it was. When on the lead I always sewed it up, so it was much harder placing the pro on the lead … Everything we do has some element of risk. People die getting out of bed. In fact, most people die in bed. So I'm not one to say that free soloing is too dangerous. It's a personal thing, not subject to anyone's all-mighty judgment. The person doing the judging is not safe either.




I think I can prove my point, that as time goes by climbing with a rope becomes more secure in one way and more dangioiurs in another, possibly to compensate so you can get the same amount of adrenalin rush, or perceptual danger that you had when you first started climbing. That climbing is dangerous with a rope because almost unperceptually you could end up soloing. Another problem Hommold has is that he is running out of hard climbs. If he can climb 5.13 on lead without falling, just how many climbs is he left with that he can do under pressure? In this way today for people like Hommold, climbing changes rapidly, a level of difficulty has disappeared for Honnold, where the only way he will ever see it again is by soloing. Climbing with a rope is dangerous; you could be tempted to solo if you get too good at it.


Another thing going on there is a level of over confidence. You cannot compare soloing one grade down and on ever smaller holds to "getting out of bed" or "nothing crazy". This proves my point about our natural tendency to say climbing is safe. If anything these guys should be admitting is that they are getting more dangerous not more safe. But they are not. Soloing is dangerous like driving without brakes, not like driving with them. Perhaps it would be a good idea to temper ones ideas with people who have never climbed to get a realistic perspective.


None of us have much of a past nor can see into the future beyond death by a scientific method. We can't bring up photographs, it is a matter of faith. It is something unknown by Ray's perception. But Ray even goes so far as to say he knows for a fact that death is not "not subject to anyone's all-mighty judgment". Being that the argument for evolution and creation can be argued to have the same amount of factual proof I think it can be argued that overconfidence many times comes with climbing here. Ray says he used to solo, but stopped after he slipped once on a 5.11 while soloing.


BTW, you cannot delete or edit posts back beyond a day more or less.
Posted by: Coppertone

Re: Free Soloing - 09/15/11 06:37 PM

At least Advocacy was entertaining to some degree. DP is just long winded and of even less interest. I think we need some new pictures for guess the route so we can at least view a post that is interesting, as this stuff was old before it was ever posted.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/15/11 06:56 PM

In the process re-visited the reasons why and how climbing is dangerous and what is the reason for soloing some of these things never occurred to me before. For example, how or why people solo or understanding that if you get too good and do not like putting up new routes so much, like Honnold, you run out of things to do. He admits he is running out of things to do. There are problems with becoming too good a climber I never thought about that in relation to someone who does not like to put up new routes. In other words, even if everyone is board, I'm not. Sorry you're board.
Posted by: Advocacy group

Re: Free Soloing - 09/15/11 07:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Coppertone
At least Advocacy was entertaining to some degree. DP is just long winded and of even less interest. I think we need some new pictures for guess the route so we can at least view a post that is interesting, as this stuff was old before it was ever posted.


hey coppertone the original MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation thread has sped past the 30,000 view mark! So if you're hankering for a little MPNA there are 39 pages of fun for you to flip through at your leisure. Rest assured we will be posting some new and exciting stuff SOON.

Thanks, MPNA
Posted by: worthrussell

Re: Free Soloing - 09/16/11 05:06 AM

Seth G I make no personal jab at free soloing on my post. I simply stated that I thought Donald was a Crazy bastard and watching him free solo made me nervous. If someone was belaying him inattentively right off the deck I would have been just as nervous. He looked unstable and shaky. No issues with free soloing, go for it, just know your limits and the route you climb. Donald is a liability and his long winded posts are the only thing that make me cringe more than his climbing.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/16/11 01:53 PM

You're mistaken, you can't tell by lookig. For example,
I would not have looked shakie if I just did it, as tempted as I might have been to do just that. But the reason I did not just do it, the reason I did look shakie is because I was gauging my limitations being sure I could pull it off next to a ledge. You guys and what you were thinking were the farthest thing from my style. You don't know what you are doing, you do not know what you are seeing, you do not know what you are talking about, you cannot even define a safe method or plan when asked. You and Stoodid demonstaight a complete lack of forethought in that reguard. If I did not know what I was doing I would have not looked shakie (my priorities would have been simple
) and not spent oodles of time clogging up the route. You got a lot of newbies falling off the cliff these days. Don't underestamate us old timers, it's rare that we are any kind of liability.
Posted by: worthrussell

Re: Free Soloing - 09/17/11 03:22 AM

So let me get this straight if you didn't know what you were doing you wouldn't have been shaky but since you did you were? Donald you have blinded me with your logic. I concede you are a master of both soloing and argument.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/17/11 01:46 PM

OK, I can see you still don't believe me.

ALL ABOUT LEATHER HIKING BOOTS:

I guess you guys do not rock climb when it is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, too bad for you. You should know that it is only really cold when it gets below 10 degrees, then you have to put your hands in your pockets sometimes. Some people's hands are hot no matter how cold it got. But the boots, they have to do with big walls, climbing all day long, edging or climbing in the Gunks in the winter! That's what they are made for, and for that there is nothing better. You think you can belay in snow covered ledges in those slippers you ware? Back in the 70's I had a choice to make between two climbing shoes, Eb's and Chouinard shoenards by Vasque, the same people that made the leather hiking boots.

The shoenards were for edging and the Eb's were for smearing. Dick Williams said that he got those shoenards because there is a lot of edging in the Gunks, so I bought them. Basically they were light, stiff, and some thin cuts in the bottoms, and covered the ankle. After climbing with those awhile I switched back to hiking boots. I also use them for jumping off high ball boulder problems. And, they are very comfortable on tiny edges and not worth changing into anything else unless there is some smearing or some big overhangs involved. The weight of them sits on the cliff, and unless your on Foops or Matinee it does not make any difference.

ALL ABOUT SHAKIE MOVES:

When you see these guys climbing so very smooth, you're not seeing very much, really. But you would not know that, but don't feel bad, most people don't. I used to climb with an overweight climber, his name was Stokie Baker, he taught me what it meant to push things to the absolute limit. He knew how to throw in bomber placements in a blink of an eye, but the way he got up the climbs was simply amazing. I thought he was falling off the whole way up. The way he handled the rock was deliberately not to get comfortable and organized. That takes some balls. He just gave it all he had, and although he was heavy and weak he was pushing up new route 5.11's in a flash on sight!!! Most climbers could flash a grade harder if they were not so busy trying to annualize what they were doing and get comfortable, but they either have no idea or they don't have the balls. I write this in defense of this unknown style of climbing, I think it deserves a lot of respect, although it never has any. Virtually no one climbs like that. To get an only an *idea* of what I am talking about see this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DHn1xGQhlM

Boris climbing Supper's ready 5.12a
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 09/17/11 02:22 PM

Chouinard once said the ideal climbing shoe would be like a mountain goat hoof: outer part of sole hard for edging, toward the inside softer for smearing. when will rubber technology catch up?
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 09/17/11 03:48 PM

For a good tale of desperate soloing, check out this NY Times opinion piece.
Posted by: Ralph

Re: Free Soloing - 09/17/11 06:19 PM

Another Times article Some soloing, not really desperate. It is just a job, after all.
Posted by: TrappDyke

Re: Free Soloing - 09/17/11 11:21 PM

After watching that a couple of times I think I see what your saying. Despite his rushed nature he is actually in full control. I think we could all use some rigidity in our climbing.
Posted by: Mike Rawdon

Re: Free Soloing - 09/18/11 12:08 AM

The only thing shaky about that "Boris" youtube video is the way it's all spastic, MTV-style 2 second cuts pieced together.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/18/11 02:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Advocacy group
Originally Posted By: Coppertone
At least Advocacy was entertaining to some degree. DP is just long winded and of even less interest. I think we need some new pictures for guess the route so we can at least view a post that is interesting, as this stuff was old before it was ever posted.


hey coppertone the original MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation thread has sped past the 30,000 view mark! So if you're hankering for a little MPNA there are 39 pages of fun for you to flip through at your leisure. Rest assured we will be posting some new and exciting stuff SOON.

Thanks, MPNA


Thanks, good idea, I will see you at
Re: Taxes VS preservation...have at it!
http://gunks.com/ubbthreads7/ubbthreads.php/topics/60238/1
AND
Re: MohonkPreserveNeighborsAssociation Redux
http://gunks.com/ubbthreads7/ubbthreads.php/topics/60197/1
Posted by: SethG

Re: Free Soloing - 09/19/11 06:34 PM

Free soloing + entertainment?

You got it!

Bring your banjo!
Posted by: eparker_s

Re: Free Soloing - 09/22/11 07:42 PM

Originally Posted By: SethG
Free soloing + entertainment?

You got it!

Bring your banjo!



That sh rules
I like how they end each number with an "Alright, Alright" or just "Alright"
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 09/29/11 03:02 AM

stupid crack ... highball boulder problem, not a solo?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwtIfQzLyRc
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Free Soloing - 10/03/11 12:07 AM

Returning to the original post. CBS just aired a segment focusing on Alex Honnold's June '11 free solos of The Phoenix and the Chouinard-Herbert on Sentinel Rock. With numerous camera men on the face, two long lens teams on the valley floor and a few remotely controlled cameras on the route itself, they had it all covered, even as he cruised by the remotes, ..... whistling. More media attention, more TV drama, but it did make for some entertaining viewing.
Posted by: Chas

Re: Free Soloing - 10/03/11 02:38 PM

Originally Posted By: donald perry
OK, I can see you still .....


I rock climb when its below 32F. My second attempt on the Terminator ( a 5.12c tips crack at a little known crag called the Waterfall in Arizona) was with absolutely wooden fingers but I still climb with rock shoes. For that I used my normal shoes, but I also have an older pair of insulated Boreal Ninjas for when it gets really cold (like on Cayesh in Peru ( http://images.summitpost.org/original/198285.jpg ). I'll use leather boots for ice climbing but thats it, don't hike in them, don't like to climb in them. I'm even migrating to Fruitboots this year for ice and mixed climbing.

As for pushing it. A lot of people are pushing it day in and day out. I am climbing with a guy who after going out a couple of trad climbs we just put him on hard stuff. The first route I ever put him on was Swedlin Ringle- and he was leading (easy 5.12a at Indian Creek). The second route I put him on was Rubys Cafe (that one he only followed the first time he got on it). That is only easy 5.13a/5.12dish. I'll post a video of him on Red Planet (an overhanging 5.13 ring lock route)at some point. He neveer says take, but just climbs until he falls.

Funny thing about the internet. You don't know your audience, since your audience is everyone.

Rick, I agree with you that the piece on Alex Honnold was awesome.
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 10/03/11 10:47 PM

CBS just aired a segment focusing on Alex Honnold's June '11 free solos of The Phoenix and the Chouinard-Herbert on Sentinel Rock.

Impressive. It's all too humbling to watch someone solo something that most of us couldn't do on a toprope.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 10/03/11 11:25 PM

My ability to PM you guys is disabled and I can no longer post on tax vs Preserve.

Just as well, I needed to get on to other things, [I think I covered all the bases, said everything that could be said], the monitor did me a favor.

Just wanted to let you guys know what is going on. If anyone needs to reach me for some reason let me know on this thread I guess.
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 10/05/11 12:25 AM

"John Wayne never wore Lycra." — Ron Kauk about why he climbs in Blue-Jeans.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1586851500?tag=...amp;camp=211189
Posted by: donald perry

Re: Free Soloing - 10/11/12 09:57 AM

I went to Yosemite and found that you need to climb in something like blue jeens, lycra does not work very well in chimneys etc. Also, I went to solo double chin 5.6, I climb in order to get a workout. But I got stuck under the second roof. It took me about 20 minutes to figure it out without doing it before I did it before it got dark. And it was not much of a workout. I would have felt better doing a highball boulder problem. So my conclusion is that I wasted my time on double chin, and I should have rope soloed something harder.
Posted by: oenophore

Re: Free Soloing - 10/11/12 03:15 PM

"John Wayne never wore Lycra." — Ron Kauk about why he climbs in Blue-Jeans.

Did John Wayne ever solo a route or do any route for that matter?
Posted by: RangerRob

Re: Free Soloing - 10/11/12 07:22 PM

I'm glad soloing is free. I would certainly never pay to be that scared.
Posted by: crimpy

Re: Free Soloing - 10/11/12 09:22 PM

Originally Posted By: oenophore
[i]"John Wayne never wore Lycra."

i heard he spent his latter years trolling climbing sites.
Posted by: phlan

Re: Free Soloing - 10/12/12 01:46 PM

yes, there was this troll once upon a time that kept using the word "pilgrim!" right here on gunks.com.