In my opinion magazines, intelligent leaders, and video makers should not be promoting this kind of stuff.
Yes. No one even cares what you do on a rope anymore unless it's 15.5c... and even then it's boring compared to solo'n Half Dome with nothing more than a chalk bag and a power bar.
I think it was Louis CK that said kids are so stimulated now that they can't even enjoy five minutes looking at the wonders of Yosemite.
How far off are we from the futuristic movies where TV shows are an actual game of Russian roulette?
Filming Dan Osman dying didn't change anything. Would filming a free solo death finally change things? Doubtful, I suppose.
Not that I don't want boldness, climbing has always appreciated boldness. I'm blown away by the free solos of these amazing routes. It is totally exciting and fun to watch. I just worry, and personally don't want to encourage it.
I honestly don't know how some of these guys never get hurt. That alone is amazing to me.
I know. I just got a wasp sting up on Tahquitz a couple weeks back... I jumped and started swatting. But I was on an easy route with a rope. If I was close to my limit and free soloing...
If you were good at free-soloing, focused on something difficult you would easily ignore a bee sting. That focus is part of the allure of extreme sport.
I don't have a good answer for any of this. I do think folks should be free to do as they like in the mountains foolish or not. That judgement of foolish is a slippery slope. It is quite reasonable to say that any climbing activity is foolish on some level.
I KNOW some folks are soloing more foolishly than others however.
Recently I made the judgement that I was not at all impressed by a certain wingsuit stunt. I felt that there was no way to be certain of the uncontrollable variables such that even perfect mental/body control could ensure a very high probability of survival. Relying on a large helping of luck for survival is a place where I simply tune out and think.. IDIOT! Is that different than the successful familyman who looks at any climbing and thinks IDIOT.. I'm not truly sure. Different values certainly.. but the conclusion is perhaps no less valid.
Relying on hard earned skill and mental focus while accepting some basic level of objective hazard such as random rockfall impresses me. I spent a great deal of time in that arena in ski-mountaineering. No regrets and in many cases I was probably safer when I couldn't make a mistake than some days at the resort.
Fact is I'm a fraidy cat. I don't do something unless I am damn sure I can do it safely. I've done a few pretty cool things that others would have thought rediculous and that many of todays best have not repeated in as good or difficult a style. I was able to do those things because I was damn skilled and spent pretty much every day living that type of skill.
I'm no longer that competent because I don't have the burning desire and singleminded focus for those things that I once had. I miss that ability sometimes though.
I enjoy the hell out of seeing it displayed so well in folks like Honnold.
1. non-soloists trying to understand free soloists is as non-climbers trying to understand climbers, as the sedentary trying to understand the lives of the nomadic, or as the bureaucrat trying to understand the life of a warrior.
in all cases it's easier for either extreme to dismiss the motivations of their counterpart than it is to be open to the validity of the internal mysteries which, individually, we all have to accept.
2. how quickly some forget john bachar on that's incredible, henry barber on wide world of sports, or the newspaper coverage of expeditions to the himalaya in the mid-twentieth century...
i.e. the more things change: the more they stay the same. as humans we will always be fascinated by those living their lives on the fine line between the "known" and the "unknown", especially when that is coupled with the fine line between being and not-being. the only change, through time, is where the line is at.
tl;dr: "I'm the one that's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to" applies equally to the other, as it does to ourselves.
"I honestly don't know how some of these guys never get hurt. That alone is amazing to me.
I think it's because there is a Spirit that is everywhere and there are no coincidences.
It's not the soloists who die usually. It's in the high mountains or ordinary climbers making a mistake.
And despite people who worry about people free soloing for the wrong reasons, I find that when you are unroped and doing anything that feels dicey or scary, it gives you a quick reality check. Only the truly confident stay with it unless they have a death wish (an those guys seem to prefer hard aid)
Big Jim just turned eighty this year and questions the notion that we might gamble fifty years of living for a climb; any climb, rock, alpine, roped, unroped.
He says he'd hate to have missed the last fifty.
There was an excellent line here on ST that went something like this;
"If some chimp swaddled in free stuff finds themselves climbing with a photographer dangling nearby, they might not be climbing just for themselves."
The great Pedro Croftini ventured that (and I'm paraphrasing here) "If you find yourself falling through space to your demise, clothes flapping, because you wanted to impress someone, you've made a big joke of yourself."
I'm not sure when the climbing sponsorship game began and although it's definitely older than Mountain (now there's a stab from the past!), Climbing or Rock and Ice magazines, the concept did take hold with the advent of modern climbing media.
Now with I Phones and the Internet, you don't have to wait eight weeks for global profile.
The stakes in rock climbing seem to be pushed much higher and it would appear if you're not in danger of decking off of 13+ or free soloing, you're not going to have a profile worth attention or sponsorship.
The same is true for a lot of other high risk sports and if you're not putting it all on the line, it's not worth watching (or sponsoring).
The point is that this dynamic could put a lot of pressure on today's impressionable young athletes hungry for their fifteen minutes of fame.
In the context of this thread, Marc doesn't appear to be driven by recklessness or the pursuit of media profile.
I've had the privilege of talking to him a couple times as he did me the courtesy of asking my thoughts on routes he was interested in.
He shared a great piece on his experience soloing an aid route I put up years ago and collectively, these engagements suggest he's motivated primarily by the love of climbing and adventure.
I suggest Marc, like many other great examples in our sport, is following the age old "Warrior Athlete" path common to many high risk adventure sports unique to a society protected from the challenge of daily survival.
Hopefully he'll keep it in perspective, stay solid, know when it's time to change his focus and avoid becoming a tragic statistic before his time.
Talk to any climber, who's any good, luck is the reason they're alive...
Some fantasy about everything happening for a reasons, is just level with a grade school girls- mentality.... musing- about her dead fish floating in her fish tank.
Human's aye, are destroying the Earth at a rapid pace, and thinking that a higher power has control over everyones fate; well, frankly and shirly, is just brain dead and insulting to the many greats who have perished.
One person's luck is another persons karma. Fact is, in a mechanistic universe, I think soloists and city drivers would be dying in much much higher numbers. Even myself, I've had more than 9 lives and countless close call stories. \
The higher power is within us, a part of us, not an external force or "Other"
Even perishing climbing isn't the worst thing for us (hard for loved ones) We go on.
I'll say this: If you are bummed over life and suspect there might be an unconscious part of you that's tempted to bow out, don't do dangerous stuff. The will to live is a huge force in creating "luck."