Hardest Free-solo You Have Ever "Accidentally" Done


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Occupied Territory
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 20, 2017 - 07:35am PT
Okay, a climbing thread. Hope you aren't too shocked. Ever start up a cliff just sort of fooling around and then felt more comfortable climbing up instead of down? You end up completing the climb and scaring yourself good in the process? I never start out intending to free-solo a rock climb but in the process of scrambling have done it a few times by "accident".

A 5.10+(can't remember the name of the climb, maybe I'll find it later) at The Emeralds is my contribution to this thread.

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:01am PT
Freesoloed an easy looking line with my rack and rope to setup a tr in j-tree that the guidebook had no info on. A couple concerning spots but stayed in the mindset of don't worry this is easy, uneventful and established the tr. when I got down, looked at the guidebook a bit more and realized I was looking at the wrong part of the wall on the topo and had just free soloed a 10b. A nice tick that I said was "totally on purpose" to the rest of my group.
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:06am PT
Credit: jeff constine
not my hardest but i got a photo.

Occupied Territory
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 08:09am PT
Of course, I told my buddy I did it on purpose too. lol...then had to change my shorts.

Occupied Territory
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 08:31am PT
Area didn't have a guide to it at the time. It was just being developed. My friend scrambled up a gully to the top. I said, "Hey, I'll just scramble up this wall right here and meet you up there". Started climbing and just kept going. Was harder than it looked from the ground. Got to a point where the top looked more reachable than down climbing. Wasn't until several years later when a guidebook was published that I looked through it and saw that the climb had a name and a rating.

Occupied Territory
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 08:37am PT
Tennis shoes and no, just scoping the area out but late in the day and not planning on climbing.

The fat part of the bell-curve
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:39am PT
Some dome in Colorado. Started off easy enough, then high up it turned into wide-eyed, do or die moves. At the top I felt both stupid and bad-ass.

Occupied Territory
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 08:40am PT
Why don't you and I hook up to do some CLIMBING, shooting and SHOOTING sometime in the not so distant future???...

Talk about one hell of a TR we could have...

I had fun shooting on RF's ranch. Do you have access there? I don't know, something about shooting high caliber weapons and blowing up Tannerite targets in the middle of a national park was about the most fun I had ever had with a gun.

Occupied Territory
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 08:40am PT
At the top I felt both stupid and bad-ass.

Pretty much sums up my feelings at the time.

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Mar 20, 2017 - 08:42am PT
That crap that you get warned about at the top of the East Butt of Middle Cathedral in the aqua blue Meyers guide. Pure sketch when you're trying to beat the dark to the top of the descent gully around to the left. Yikes...

Occupied Territory
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 08:46am PT
Man, we really could put something pretty GUD together...

If we didn't kill each other first. :)
Spiny Norman

Social climber
Boring, Oregon
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:00am PT
Get a room you guys.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:16am PT
One year long ago Rifle Gap had a really fat ice year and I headed over from Denver by myself to check it out. I was about a week of warmer weather too late. Nothing had fallen down, but the tops of several free hanging ice climbs had gotten thin, detached, and rotten right where they pour over the cliff, although you could not see that from the bottom of the climb. I started up about three of these climbs and would get right to the top where a guy really, truly needs some good ice to pull over the top, and there just wasn't any there. Down climbing the steep little pillar from those thin and manky pour overs was pretty terrifying. So, I didn't really complete any of these climbs, but I climbed several of them right up to the last move over the top and then had to solo down climb the whole thing in order to save my sorry @zz.

Mar 20, 2017 - 09:42am PT
My first Valley lead, munginella. As I was working around the tree, I heard what sounded the Robbin's First symphony de Hex as they hit the rock and my belayer. The hexes and a stopper or 2 rained down on my friend Rob and he just started laughing at me (great support!!) telling me I fuct all of my placements and I should just keep going. I remember the finish was pretty casual as if 5.6 isn't enough...I can still picture looking down and seeing hexes swirling around the rope dinging off the rock and hitting Rob!!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:47am PT
Does simul-climbing 4000' mixed routes count?

Social climber
carmel, ca
Mar 20, 2017 - 09:59am PT
Adrenaline 5.11c next to Serenity.

Got to the top and wasn't tied in. Fall = dead or severely f*#ked up.

Definition of Free-solo on accident....

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 20, 2017 - 10:57am PT
I unwittingly climbed Quarter of a Man with dimpled Aliens.

.....in a single wide......
Mar 20, 2017 - 11:02am PT
Good thread.

Not the hardest, but sure recall......

Was a novice, unroped the last 250' soloing off Fairview's Regular Route, but turned left versus the normal exit right up easy 5th- class cracks.

Poised on 5.7 face, carrying a worthless rope coiled around my shoulders 800' off the deck. Not Fun 4 a rookie.

Social climber
portland, oregon
Mar 20, 2017 - 11:53am PT
Wow, admitting what a dumb ass I've been and lived to tell about it? More then once, for sure. Heres just two.

Saw a pro solo The Flake at JT. Saw him topping out and grabbing what looked like buckets to me. Just after the flake I realized there were no buckets, just scoops of granite. I got to the second bolt and heard some familiar voices from above and froze. I thought I might undo my chalk bag sling and sling the bolt. This bright idea quickly evaporated, I called for HELP! Just throw me something to grab. I was just a few feet from the top. Sure enough, it was some familiar faces that saved me.

Found out my brother had committed suicide while I was in the Valley. I will go solo Lena's Layback in his memory. Got up the crack OK when I realized there wasn't any way I was going to solo back down. Horizontal face climbing to get off. Gulp! Dug deep. One move at a time.

OK, one more just to prove I'm dumber then a rock. Rocky Butte quarry in Portland Oregon. I had practiced climbing up and down the start of Emotional Rescue. Then one day I go for it. I don't remember if it was onsight, doesn't matter. Got to an old pin about 15 feet from the top. Started to freak out and put my finger into the piton eye. Don't do that or I will die, so I just go for it. I may have asked for god's help, which in hindsight, just helped me to focus.

In hindsight, I had identified myself with climbing to the point of dysfunctionality. Climbing really was to make up for a lost childhood, masculine insecurity and lack of purpose in life. Plus, it was also damn fun, but not always.

Another time I was testing out a top rope solo device before I knew anything about science. I jumped off a large boulder to test a Gibbs ascender, the one with no spring on the cam. Bang! On my back. Walked away.

If your new to this sport and reading this, take Lowe's advice, "the best climbers are the ones having the most fun." If your not, re-evaluate.

Social climber
I'm Lolli.
Mar 20, 2017 - 12:07pm PT
Pic du Midi d'Ossau, Hautes-Pyrénées, France.
Not hard in itself, but we were up there birdwatching, not climbing, when suddenly clouds and thunder rolled in.

Not my photo:
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