Could Alex Honnold have climbed back down to escape?


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Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 12, 2019 - 08:06am PT
He could, as long as heís careful not to make the Tangerine, Trip!
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Mar 12, 2019 - 06:32pm PT
I watched Free-Solo again last night and went away thinking that doing the slab pitch with a headlight may have freaked him out. It seems like you would want to be able to see more easily if things went south. I led those pitches back in 1972 if they are the same as the ones for the Triple Direct. I liked the movie better the second time knowing where the meat is - I could relax and enjoy the rest of it.

Trad climber
Mar 12, 2019 - 09:38pm PT
he could, but as Hersey said (once you start) " you either do it or you don't"


Mar 14, 2019 - 04:28pm PT
Probably not much risk for him.

Sure, in retrospect, no risk. Yet for some reason when we think about it, when we think about rapping down and taking rope and harness off, we experience a yikes even just thinking about it.

I could relax and enjoy the rest of it

Itís funny for me (too?) it was kind of hard to relax watching him do it, even knowing that he was successful at doing it and knowing that he didnít fall and that he wasnít going to plummet off the boulder problem to his death. Even knowing it, it was still kind of stressful for me to watch.

But itís almost the opposite for him I think. Even not knowing the outcome, heís maybe not as stressed doing it as I am watching, even when I do know the outcome.

Thatís I think why itís so hard to honestly say what HE is capable of. You can say, if you want to say, based on what you think, based on what youíre capable of, based on what you might imagine the experience would be like for you.

But him? Who knows. All I know is that what heís capable of doesnít match what I think.

The first time in the dark on free blast when he grabbed the sling - what was that sling doing there? There just happened to be a sling there to grab at the crux of that pitch when he decided to bail out by grabbing the sling? Was that just an option he had in case he got to that point and wanted to bail out by grabbing a sling? I didnít really understand that.

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Mar 14, 2019 - 05:52pm PT
I for one am glad that the sling was there.....

Mar 14, 2019 - 11:30pm PT
He didn't pull on a sling. In Enormocast 133 Alex says that, in his aborted attempt, he pinched and stepped on the bolt hangers to reduce the cruxy slabs from 5.11 to 5.10. Then he borrowed a double length sling and biner from the camera crew to rap a thousand feet on a Munter hitch.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Mill Valley, Ca
Mar 15, 2019 - 05:57am PT
Without harness?

Mar 15, 2019 - 08:45am PT
Hey thanks. In the movie he says he cheated on the slab and they show him with the sling - thought thatís what he meant. Yea agree about the sling - Iíd much prefer to have him alive than have him having free soloed el cap.

Even the peripheral stuff freaks me out - the idea of climbing that slab with a headlamp, or rapping down and reclimbing the last few pitches for better camera shots.

But if in our computations we decide that 5.10d doesnít hold much risk for him, when 5.11 caused him to cheat and give up (for the moment) on his dream, ok. Weíre free to believe whatever we want about whatís true for him. Maybe our mental computations match whatís true for him, and maybe they donít. Kind of true for everything for all of us I think, but that never seems to stop us.

Mar 15, 2019 - 08:49am PT
Without harness?

You don't need a harness to rap.

A sling around your waist works too.

Tucker Tech did El Cap routes without a harness; just one rap 1 inch webbing around his waist with no leg loops ....

Mar 15, 2019 - 09:10am PT
There is a huge difference in the security of a 5.10d crack and a 5.11 slab.

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Mar 15, 2019 - 10:11am PT
Chuck Norris would have made El Cap turn upside down, so that he could up-climb back down.
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