Can Free-Soloing Be a Dick Move?


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Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 8, 2010 - 06:14pm PT
I remember when the Curry Company decided to run the climbing school in the late 60's, they would sometimes take people up Monday Morning Slab. At the sign out station (IIRC) they had a sign asking us not to free solo (or in those days, Third Class) when the school folks were in view. The reasons make perfect sense to me.

However, if someonse asks and I give them permission to climb ahead of me, I don't think they're rude if they do the climb quickly and safely, whether roped or not.

Of course, those who read the above carefully will realize that I said nothing about your situation. That's because I wasn't there, and, like you, am very reluctant to judge.



As to soloing, my personal feeling has been with roped or ropeless, I solo to be alone, and hence don't want to be around people or getting in peoples way.


Mountain climber
Mar 8, 2010 - 06:35pm PT

a solo of some remote route,

a solitude move,
a personal experience,
a personal choice.

a solo of intersection rock,
a dick move.

Mar 8, 2010 - 06:55pm PT
Dick move because you had a rope on it. No rope up yet, would not be so dick a move, unless there were other similar routes available, then full dick factor applies. Also, if he was a local, dick move regardless. If he was visiting from far away, perhaps less dickish.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 8, 2010 - 07:06pm PT
I think part of the issue is perception. Back in the day at Josh, I'd be out there with some friends and people like Bachar, Leclinski, sometimes Yabo would cruise by and solo a route as we were getting ready to climb it. We were all about six or seven years younger than them, plus they kind of owned the place and were kind of demigods (especially Bachar), so it was kind of a cool thing, like we got a front row seat to a rad solo. It never struck me as rude or dickish. I think most people on this site, who knew them way better than I did wouldn't consider them to be dicks. Even now, in retrospect, I could try to view those acts in a different light, but my initial impressions of 'just some really good climbers cruising thru' still rings true. They got their climb in. We got our climb in. Everyone had fun. What's the big deal?

Mar 8, 2010 - 07:20pm PT
I think it was a DM because he had to do it while people would obviously be watching.
The freesoloists I know couldn't give a rats ass whether or not others are present while they practice.

A couple of years ago I was belaying a friend up Double Cross in Jtree. A freesoloist passed my friend while she was halfway up the route and climbed to my belay. I told him to keep moving and he did.
It was obvious to me that his climbing through our belay was an ego boost for this poor little man.

The safety issue this guy presented to our party almost cost him some dental bills.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 8, 2010 - 07:26pm PT
Free-soloing has some analogies to masturbation.
1. Almost everyone does it.
2. Some pretend that they don't do it, for the most part unconvincingly.
3. It's best if done in private, and not to excess. Those who insist on doing it in public, writing about it, or being filmed/photographed, often need to ask themselves why they're soloing.
4. Too much may amount to self-abuse, or worse. But it may still be good for you.

Free-soloing is or should be a private thing.

Anacortes, wa
Mar 8, 2010 - 07:34pm PT
I had a guy downclimb past my 8 year old daughter while she was mid route at Jtree. Dick move.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Mar 8, 2010 - 07:36pm PT
If he cratered right in front of you you could have said, "Hey, dick, you soloed in here, you soloed up there, I guess you can just solo out of here, eh?"

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Mar 8, 2010 - 08:02pm PT
The correct response, once the tool in question begins the route, is to call all young ladies within shouting range into view and state, in your best anthropologist voice, that "Young men of the species, having been overlooked by the 'maker,' typically demonstrate a desire to compensate for their 3" penish by attempting foolish assaults on common sense."
James Doty

Trad climber
Idyllwild, Ca.
Mar 8, 2010 - 08:11pm PT
That climbing out of the blue past people already climbing sh#t is definitely a dicky move. At least on short crag routes. On long routes you got to give soloists a break.If they fall on you at least you're tied in.

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Mar 8, 2010 - 08:28pm PT
Reminds me of an incident at the Scruffy Bands, Ice climbing in Little Cottonwood Cyn. It was a warm day and my pardner and I went up to do the "normal route" (1983 or so). 30 feet up were some bail screws. Just as I was starting up a guy comes up and says "can I solo up and grab that stuff? I said, sorry I am on my way. He looks at my selection of 4-5 screws and says "damn you guys got lots of pro for that thing you dont need more gear." I keep going.

As I belay my pardner from the top, I notice he is soloing the line to the right of us. Now the top of that climb ends on a slab and on a warm day it can be treacherous as there was also fresh snow on top of the slab. I notice him dinking around trying to top out...

Next thing I know I see him at the bottom, about a 150 foot ride. My pard finishes fast and we get down there to check up on him. Poor dude's leg twisted around the wrong way, grapefruit size bruise on his head amidst other things. I got to hand it him, he held it together pretty well. I stayed with him, avoiding moving him but throwing my coats on him, talking to him as my pard went for help.

He said, "glad you guys were here, that would have been a long crawl back to the road." Now, its not too long, and this guy held it together real good but it did require a stream crossing in those days. Hard to say how he would have navigated that.

I forget all the things wrong, I think ankles and legs broke, concussion, other stuff.

I know he felt kind of dumb about those remarks he made to us guys who to him, might have looked like gumbies, but it was not the time to bring it up. Taught me that when I soloed his same line a month later to do it when it was real cold and nobody was around.

Social climber
From the gettin place
Mar 8, 2010 - 09:07pm PT
I don't know why he wanted to solo it when he did. Neither do I know why you're butt-hurt about it.


Trad climber
Near Squampton
Mar 8, 2010 - 09:28pm PT
Not a dick move, until he lands on your head.

Agree on the poseur aspect though.

I had the same thing happen this weekend up in squamish. He asked, I said ok, he climbed and got out of our way.

Totally another scene if there is falling going on. I don't need my day ruined by some turkey. If they know what they are doing then cool in my books.


Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Mar 8, 2010 - 09:55pm PT
+1 that this is a troll post, but I see trolling all over, and that doesn't meant that it is the case.

+1 that it wasn't a dick move.

Trad climber
Bozeman, MT
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2010 - 10:16pm PT
No troll. 100% true.

I am a judgmental person and thought this guy was being a bit of a dick and was curious about about whether other climbers might think the same way.

Maybe I am actually the dick for thinking that he was being a dick.

I know the soloist in a roundabout sort of way so this decision has further repercussions.

the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Mar 8, 2010 - 10:26pm PT
dick move for sure..
john hansen

Mar 8, 2010 - 10:31pm PT

One time bitd , we were at at nintey foot wall and there were three or four different groups climbing , couple top ropes set up.

Three older looking guys show up and start soloing all the climbs that no one is on. Pretty impressive.

Couple days later my friend called me and said

"Dude, that was Bridwell"

Mar 8, 2010 - 11:00pm PT
Radical has it nailed.

And .... this is just another dicked up thread .......

Mar 8, 2010 - 11:00pm PT
"Maybe I am actually the dick for thinking that he was being a dick."

Naah, I wouldn't say that at all. A real dick would write the guy off as a dick without any further thought. You are obviously trying to understand this situation better. Good on ya'.
Off White

Tenino, WA
Mar 8, 2010 - 11:18pm PT
I had a guy solo past my follower on The Flake (5.8 on Intersection) long ago. It was definitely a dick move, but I realized that following through on my urge to boot the dick off the ledge would have been an even bigger dick move.

Messages 21 - 40 of total 126 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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