CLIMB and PUNISHMENT- An Open Telegram to Alex Honnold


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Trad climber
Bensalem, PA
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:22pm PT
"Crime and Punishment" was written by Dostoyevskiy, not Tolstoy.

Social climber
Davis, CA
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
Yes, let's tell people how they should climb.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:25pm PT
"What matters" to a 20-something and "what matters" to a 40- or 50- something plus (let alone an older climber poet) can be as different as day and night. It's really a simple truth defined largely by our biology, our wiring and programming, and those set on looking for or establishing absolutes in right or wrong in this area won't find them.

Trad climber
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:27pm PT
I don't think its for us to discourage or encourage Alex Honnold in whatever he chooses to do. Anyone other then his close friends and family.
A bunch of old farts setting around their computers sending a message to the stongest bold climber in the world to....stand down? hahaha
I think Alex has it in his capacity to do whatever he chooses to do. Far better to warn off those climbers to the Himalaya whom expose themselves to objective dangers they have no control over like rock fall, avalanches, and storm, then to beg conservativism of this new generation of young climbers that have abilities far beyond what we can comprehend.
That said, a hearty Welcome to Ed Drummond who was out breaking the limits when I was getting into climbing.

Trad climber
Lander, WY
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:28pm PT
I like this post. The Hollywood Gladiator Effect is so alluring that it's hard to separate what you are doing for yourself vs what you are doing for the crowd. If you win, that's great, but if you can't make the distinction and get sucked in too deep, well, free soloing is unforgiving.

Too bad it got this way. Too bad it's no longer mainly an activity for social misfits and has become so much more mainstream. It was easier to be distainful of the crowd then, and thus easier to ignore that siren call.

But, it's all still up to the individual, if you want to push it to the edge. The price you are willing to pay is strictly up to you.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:30pm PT
It's all good and Earth shattering if he makes it.

Just another tradgedy if he doesn't.

Yeah, I never want anyone to say "yeah, but he died rock climbing" about me.

Climbing is great and climbing is good bit it ain't that great and it ain't that good.

Trad climber
New York, NY
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:31pm PT
Can people provide some input as to why this climb seems to be in a class beyond what Honnold did on Half Dome? I am pretty clueless, obviously, but I am sure there are others here like me who will read this thread and wonder where/what the specific risks are. I will assume some discussion will come out in the thread on specific sections at some point, so I hope I;m not going to get the "go away kid, ya bother me" push off.

edit: okay - tell me to shove off. I hadn't realized it was The Nose being referred to. Thought the OP Title was the name of a route being referred to. Never mind(but I still want all the young climber chicks to go after Honnold, so I will leave the post).

Personally, I wish Alex a long, happy life, and that some young hottie(who is deserving of a nice young man) snags his heart. I only saw him at the 2009 Facelift, and then of course saw the Midnight Buttress/Half Dome film, but I don't see why the girls aren't stalking him like mad.

Good Luck, to Alex, in whatever pursuits he has. Sincerely,
TacoBelle Aunt Happie
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Tampa, FL
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:32pm PT
Did I miss something? Is there talk (not just speculatory spray) that Alex is going for the captain?

Mar 19, 2010 - 01:32pm PT
And all is art on a grand stage above lesser art. Lesser art that might include a less eloquent letter written to the same climber about his roped climbs, some of which are likely more dangerous than his solos. But the rope shows that we care, in a token kinda way.

Some people have green eyes, and some have a fierce drive to explore the limits of their minds as they meet nature on a scale in her favor.

the last bivy
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:35pm PT
a huge welcome to Ed Drummond, who's heart is larger than the planet itself, who knows all the risks and all the rewards.


Trad climber
San Diego
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:38pm PT
I was never been under the impression that Alex would choose to solo the Nose. I always though that free rider at 5.12d would be an "easier" route. Im curious what Largo will say about this.

Trad climber
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
yes, ed's post certainly helps to reduce the sideshow.

Old Pueblo, AZ
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:42pm PT
The Nose? Really?
I figured Freerider.

The only thing that's uncalled for is Hank's comment.
Hobo dickcheese?
THAT'S next level.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:46pm PT
Favorite quotes so far:

Edwin Drummond-
"I was a tree. I grew, and I cast my shadow. And now itís time to wind down, and that in itself brings a whole new set of challenges and interests."

Mark Hudon-
"Climbing is great and climbing is good bit it ain't that great and it ain't that good."
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:54pm PT
I too quite enjoyed the hobo's dick cheese comment- I might steal that for for future use. Thanks Hank.

As for this topic- if the guy does go for El Cap, hopefully he keeps it quiet until it's done.

Hopefully he does it, or doesn't do it for his own reasons and not for the folks out here in the peanut gallery.

I wasn't climbing when Bachar was pushing solo standards back in the day, but even he would say that the Moritorium was not what soloing is about. Just cuz you can doesn't mean you should- might be the point. Merely surviving is not the standard.

Croft on Astroman- did people think this was crazy and a death wish?- Probably. Some probably still think that.

Ed is right about the consequences though. They are hefty. When you are young, or really focused, it is easier to ignore those consequences so perhaps the old guy's perspective is valuable and not "uncalled for."


Trad climber
Mar 19, 2010 - 01:58pm PT
Big welcome Ed. Wonderful poet, gentle man, wise well beyond your years. Thanks for the important post. Whether Alex will listen or not is his call - but the elders have to speak up. I suspect the "camps" on this issue could be divided up on age alone. The youth do want more challenge and more glory. The graying know better.

That said, someone, someday is going to free-solo the nose. Don't know if the time is right.

Ed, I hope you stay around. Many here would appreciate your input, whether in verse or prose.

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Mar 19, 2010 - 02:01pm PT
Drummond was doing pants-filling shite before many of us could fondle a nut.
A HUGE welcome!

Social climber
Mar 19, 2010 - 02:03pm PT
Do it Alex, do it if you wanna! Put the oldsters in their place in history!
The Larry

Moab, UT
Mar 19, 2010 - 02:03pm PT
"Why didn't Lynn solo it?

Because they were never as strong as Alex?

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Mar 19, 2010 - 02:03pm PT
I look at Ed's post as more of a cautionary warning from someone who has lived the climbing life and is passing on his wealth of knowledge to the next generation.

I admire that because as was noted up-thread, there are many other amazing climbers who left us too soon, and unfortunately for all of us, we can never hear their voices, posts, or wisdom again. Who knows what they would have added to the sport, or to the lives of their family and friends, had they not perished on their last climb.

I was a minor player on the edge team that lowered Werner some 600' down NA wall to rescue a roped soloing Ed Drummond in 1984(?), the same rescue that two Zodiac climbers were helped up and over. I remember how grateful Ed was to be safe after his ordeal, and thinking how fortunate I was to have an opportunity to meet and chat with him on our way up to the summit that night to camp.

Think about the wealth Ed has added since that day to the global climbing community, and what many lost when the Japanese who tried to top off the Nose during that same storm died during their brave struggle.

Ed's warning is cautionary, but I see it as loving as well, and given the source it makes me proud to be a climber.
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