Free Solo


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 701 - 720 of total 743 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 4, 2019 - 03:09pm PT
Being first lasts forever.

Trad climber
Mar 4, 2019 - 03:44pm PT
I thought it was a good watch. Good to see the personal side.

Ice climber
Mar 4, 2019 - 06:17pm PT
Good point tokeR

And being last isn't that bad either as long as one finishes :)

Mar 4, 2019 - 09:50pm PT
I was overwhelmed with emotion from the Boulder Problem entry to the top out: had tears in my eyes. I am so happy to have witnessed such a feat of perfection.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 5, 2019 - 08:38am PT
re: the frontier beckons

"I am so happy to have witnessed such a feat..."

"For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan

Per aspera, ad astra.
Rattlesnake Arch

Social climber
Home is where we park it
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 5, 2019 - 01:45pm PT
TFPU Fructose...
Rattlesnake Arch

Social climber
Home is where we park it
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2019 - 07:14am PT
Back to Corrigan's article in Climbing:

So will the movie encourage more people to free solo? Probably a couple. But at the same time, did we all encourage Honnold to free solo El Cap by lavishing praise upon his previous big solos and, later, by lining up at the box office for this documentary? I think we did.

Whilst I still contend he has a valid point, his logic suffers here. Honnold had already free soloed El Cap by the time we lined up for the documentary.

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Mar 6, 2019 - 08:04am PT
I just watched Free Solo with my wife last night for the first time. I had a vague tingling of something I wrote on in 2003 about a free solo death at Donner. I just went back and dug it up to read it again.

While I would agree in hindsight it is a little dramatic and doesn't really focus enough on the personal accountability aspect, here is what I thought about it then and still feel to some extent:

1st off, condolences to the family. I hope they will get through this tough time.

W/O knowing the background of the individual, it is obviously all speculation at this point, but it makes you wonder what the effect of all the media coverage in both magazines on soloing will have. How many people will it lure with the seductive simplicity? How many of those people will be lured into a false sense of secuirty after a few easy outings on pristine rock and good weather? Someone who's partner bails and they are stuck only to remember a magazine article telling him how "cool" it was to solo? Was Justin one of those people?

Then a hold breaks, a thunderstorm hits, high winds, a small tear in the rubber of a climbing shoes, or just a regular foot slip causes it all to come crashing down resulting in a rather pointless loss of life. I am sure Justin had people who love him dearly, all of his future and potential gone :(

I don't know what the answer is to the dilemma that I see. Hell maybe there is no problem at all and it is only an issue to me, but I know as I have read the "Dangerous Games" article and other pieces on soloing, I thought about how many younger people would read it and think soloing was cool for all the wrong reasons. I know magazines don't kill people, but they sure can plant a seed, a very dangerous seed that sometimes the inexperience of youth is not yet fully capable of cultivating.

I know if I worked at the mags, I would seriously be wondering if somehow I was not an accomplice to senseless death. I know Justin is the one who made the decision to set rubber to rock that day, and he paid the ultimate price for it. But why sensationalize an activity that can easily have death as the final outcome? Sure you put in a little tagline at the beginning of the article telling people, "Soloing is dangerous and you may die..", but then you move on to expound it's glories for 20 pages. Within seconds the tagline is forgotten.

Some people will claim its Natural Selection or something akin to that, but at some point the magazines need to realize that there are impressionable, or even worse, mentally unstable people who will read a piece that talks about how cool soloing is for 20 pages and not fully realize the consequences. Why would they? Something bad always happens to the other guy right? It would never happen to them.

Well, meet "some other guy". His name was Justin and now he is gone.

Mar 6, 2019 - 08:25am PT
I just saw it for the first time. I enjoyed it! It seemed to me to strike a measured balance of perspectives, especially coming from a climber director.

It is I think unquestionably a stunning almost inconceivable accomplishment on Alex’s part.

But maybe like Sanni, it’s hard for me to understand what it’s an accomplishment in service to - the world’s most accomplished mental warrior vanquishing his personal windmill in a way that society values comparably to a moderately successful dentist.

But I’m glad he does it, if that’s what he wants to do, and I especially admire his honesty and humor and humility about himself. If other people derive happiness from forming connections with people, whereas he, as he says about himself, gets a sense of “satisfaction” from doing this, feels “good” to do this, is “delighted” by doing this - great! I’m glad that he’s trying to make himself happy like those other folks are doing.

And while he has this transcendent capacity to control his mind in a way that allows him to free solo el cap, maybe he’s self-aware enough to know that he lacks an ability (that others might possess) to control his mind in order to transcend the simmering resentments he would feel if he allowed his social connections to interfere with pursuing his dreams (like his neurologically diverse dad was unable to do?), even if maybe transcending those resentments is not something he’s been willing to even try to do. Maybe doing that, or trying to do that, just wouldn’t make him feel satisfied or good or delighted in the same way that doing that makes other people feel happy.

And maybe he just slightly underappreciates how humans’ pro-social emotionality, as manifested in other people, contributes to humanity’s “accomplishments” compared to his appreciation of his own drive for “perfection.” Anyone can be happy and comfy? It doesn’t really seem like he can do that (he won’t allow himself to enjoy carving a pumpkin in the context of a socially connecting shared holiday because he resents being told when to celebrate that socially connecting shared holiday), despite his incredible abilities and privileges, and it might not be as easy for other people as he seems to believe it is.

And if those other folks (or we) can’t understand exactly what it is that he accomplished, or why, it probably shouldn’t surprise us if he (or we) can’t understand the same about them.

I’m grateful to Alex for helping us expand our awareness of what a human mind is capable of. And I’m grateful for my dentist too.

And for the filmmakers! At the end of the film Alex says that the movie might be better if he cries, but honestly, I think the movie is better that he doesn’t.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 6, 2019 - 08:29am PT
Fascinating it is to contemplate a female free solo of El Cap Freerider.


What, too soon?


Trad climber
space-man from outer space
Mar 7, 2019 - 03:51pm PT
Badass ! The angle of the video on the last pitches is incredible. Also thanks for the beta on the boulder problem. The movie is rad.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Mill Valley, Ca
Mar 7, 2019 - 04:47pm PT
not tying a stopper knot myself.

-with an inexperienced partner is inexplicable. End of story.

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 7, 2019 - 07:49pm PT
Has anyone seen comments by Wayne Merry about FREE SOLO? I would love to hear what he thought of the movie.
Rattlesnake Arch

Social climber
Home is where we park it
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 8, 2019 - 03:57am PT
...the fault mostly lies with Alex for not properly instructing her etc. I believe he admits as much...

Alex writes:

"I didn’t really blame her—I should have asked how long the rope was, tied a knot in the end, and been generally more attentive. It was obviously her fault, since the rope went through her hands. But as the vastly more experienced climber, it was really my responsibility to make sure we didn’t get into that kind of situation."

Honnold, Alex. Alone on the Wall (Expanded edition) (pp. 214-215). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Mar 8, 2019 - 06:55am PT
I wonder sometimes about the influence of images, stories and videos that depict free soloing--or unroped climbing as it's more commonly practiced. At a coffee shop in Bishop a couple of years ago, a young barista was hyper excited about going to do her first "solo"--Cathedral Peak. I had no idea about how much roped climbing experience she had. That wasn't long after that young man died soloing Matthes Crest. Just last year, a young friend of ours, a woman in her early twenties, did her first "solo" on Cathedral Peak, no doubt encouraged by her boyfriend. This particular ascent of course made it onto social media with a pic of her far off the deck and some line about being so grateful for the experience. I found this ascent to be extraordinarily unwise. She'd only been climbing a couple of years and had done very little traditional climbing and virtually no alpinism. She didn't crash and burn, which we're extremely grateful for. I wonder, however, if she would have even tried it if the climb were truly SOLO. When you're out there totally alone, no emotional support or encouragement from others, it's a different game. I dabbled in unroped climbing and some solo alpinism. My technical rock solos are very limited, but I did them with years of experience under my belt, including some grade V's and one El Cap route. If anyone is thinking of getting into the unroped game, they'd do well to consider how much care, practice and experience Honnold et al. put into it.

For some perspective, read this:

john hansen

Mar 10, 2019 - 09:29pm PT
I saw it that night. It was great. Wonder how many times he practiced the

'karate kick move' and nailed it. Was he 10 for 10 on top rope before he went for it? He seemed very confident from there to the summit. Such control..

The changing thumbs move was pretty friggen hairy just by itself.

A true zen master.

Mar 11, 2019 - 12:58pm PT
Ricky Bobby: Wait, Dad. Don’t you remember the time you told me “If you ain’t first, you’re last”?
Reese Bobby: Huh? What are you talking about, Son?
Ricky Bobby: That day at school.
Reese Bobby: Oh hell, Son, I was high that day. That doesn’t make any sense at all, you can be second, third, fourth… hell you can even be fifth.
Ricky Bobby: What? I’ve lived my whole life by that!

I’m glad Alex never got the clarification, and glad Sanni never needed to. They make a good team.

Mar 11, 2019 - 04:24pm PT
"The changing thumbs move was pretty friggen hairy just by itself"

I can't imagine doing that with all that space below you. Not sure I could have done it BITD if it was a foot above the ground.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Mar 11, 2019 - 06:26pm PT
MGuzzy, thanks for the link. It took me to the NYT piece by... Daniel Duane. I had missed that.

"Vanishingly few elite climbers make careers out of free-soloing, and plenty call it irresponsible and deplorable, but in their heart of hearts they all recognize it as the final word in bad-assery."

"The changing thumbs move was pretty friggen hairy just by itself"

I can't imagine doing that with all that space below you

Not even in my dreams. Even grabbing a huge god-hold like that "weird ear" Alex at some point refers to high on the route would give me the heebie jeebies imagining just my luck it might break off. Out of this world.

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Mar 11, 2019 - 06:37pm PT
My mind trying to picture soloing Freerider is like my eyes trying to look at the sun.
Messages 701 - 720 of total 743 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta