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PSA - Free Solo - This Sunday Night - Nat Geo Channel

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20 hours ago, spystud13 said:

The thing that amazes me is you would think that guy would have to be a fucking beast with upper-body strength. I’m talking like old school Mr. Olympia-type shit. But he was tiny. 

It's the difference between actual functional strength and beach muscles.  Being strong and looking strong aren't necessarily the same thing.

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On 3/5/2019 at 7:53 PM, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

If you think the holds were amazingly small for this, go watch The Dawn Wall. The Dawn Wall is so smooth that it was considered impossible to free climb until Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson climbed it four years ago.

Liked that one as well.  The skeptic in me couldn't help but feel like some creative license was taken in that one though.  They knew that the climb essentially came down to two back-to-back pitches, but they said that neither of them had ever successfully traversed either one?  Even after 100's of well-rested attempts over the better part of a decade.  But they decided, "fuck it, it will work itself out when we do it for real"???  After watching Kevin take over a week to traverse the side climb (and Tommy opting to go completely around the jump on the fly), I guess I believe them, but that they would risk their success without a single successful attempt prior blows my mind.

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RE the dawn wall: There simply aren't many .14D slab pitches anywhere, much less that are traverses.  They didn't really have anywhere to practice except on the route itself, plus it's not like the way they went was super defined.  They tried different versions of pitches in previous years, putting up a route like that is a very fluid process.  In year 7, yes it came down to being able to do the hardest pitches, but that is after years and years of work not knowing if it's even possible.  Plus, they had more cameras up there every successive year as they came closer to getting it.

Compare that to Adam Ondra, he repeated it the next year and did it in 8 days.  He didn't have do do any route finding and had a blueprint to follow, and he also had a non-climbing partner to shoulder more of the hauling/rigging/belaying.  All he had to do was climb the pitches.  Tommy and Kevin had a shitload of help and it still took them the better part of a month.

 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, drt said:

RE the dawn wall: There simply aren't many .14D slab pitches anywhere, much less that are traverses.  They didn't really have anywhere to practice except on the route itself, plus it's not like the way they went was super defined.  They tried different versions of pitches in previous years, putting up a route like that is a very fluid process.  In year 7, yes it came down to being able to do the hardest pitches, but that is after years and years of work not knowing if it's even possible.

But it seemed Tommy identified relatively early on the two crack systems--lower and upper--that at least seemed plausible.  The pitches within those systems was fluid, but the horizontal gap between them was a constant, defined by that thin darker-colored band, with no other alternatives.  They said in the documentary that they took hundreds of failed attempts at those exact 2 pitches in their months long scouting/practice sessions, knowing it was the key..  The thought process to decide to go for the real thing anyway--with zero confidence that they wouldn't end up "stuck" in the middle of the wall--is completely foreign to me.

Edited by aggie08

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11 minutes ago, aggie08 said:

The thought process to decide to go for the real thing anyway--with zero confidence that they wouldn't end up "stuck" in the middle of the wall--is completely foreign to me.

The thought process of people that decided to make a living climbing a flat vertical wall hundreds of feet off the ground is a tad different. 

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37 minutes ago, drt said:

RE the dawn wall: There simply aren't many .14D slab pitches anywhere, much less that are traverses.  They didn't really have anywhere to practice except on the route itself, plus it's not like the way they went was super defined.  They tried different versions of pitches in previous years, putting up a route like that is a very fluid process.  In year 7, yes it came down to being able to do the hardest pitches, but that is after years and years of work not knowing if it's even possible.  Plus, they had more cameras up there every successive year as they came closer to getting it.

 Compare that to Adam Ondra, he repeated it the next year and did it in 8 days.  He didn't have do do any route finding and had a blueprint to follow, and he also had a non-climbing partner to shoulder more of the hauling/rigging/belaying.  All he had to do was climb the pitches.  Tommy and Kevin had a shitload of help and it still took them the better part of a month.

 

Ondra is also the best climber of all time

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14 minutes ago, Not a cat said:

The thought process of people that decided to make a living climbing a flat vertical wall hundreds of feet off the ground is a tad different. 

Sure, I get that part of it.  And if even one of them had completed those two pitches once in their, let's say, 300 combined practice attempts, then I can see them taking that risk, even if a normal/sane person wouldn't.

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Most observers didn't think Jorgeson was capable of completing the traverse and most thought Caldwell would get it done when he got up there on the main attempt.  

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DQA: Did Tommy and Kevin both complete all of the climbs on DW? I assume they did, but I wasn't sure.

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They did albeit using slightly different routes.  Caldwell skipped around the dyno while Jorgeson completed the dyno

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Watched it for the first time tonight and will watch again. However, after reading this thread, I expected the girlfriend to be way worse about the whole thing than she was. 

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If you watched the replayed Nat Geo versions, they cut a lot of the girlfriend out. The very first night was commercial-free, since then they’ve had commercials which cut out most of her scenes. 

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That may explain it, we DVR’d the replay that has commercials.

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Loved it.  One thing that blew me away didn't even involve him being on the wall directly.  AH was mentally practicing the moves necessary to cross one traverse, I'm not going to remember its name.  He's like hand here, foot here, kick, pivot, etc...  Like 20 movements that had to be done in order to move maybe 15 feet of the 3000 he climbed.  It was like a kata, seared into his memory.

I can't imagine the level of preparation and focus necessary to achieve what he did.

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Just saw this on Hulu. This guy is clearly somewhere on the autistic spectrum like his father, but aren't we all. He's also a total badass.

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2 hours ago, Goredho said:

Loved it.  One thing that blew me away didn't even involve him being on the wall directly.  AH was mentally practicing the moves necessary to cross one traverse, I'm not going to remember its name.  He's like hand here, foot here, kick, pivot, etc...  Like 20 movements that had to be done in order to move maybe 15 feet of the 3000 he climbed.  It was like a kata, seared into his memory.

I can't imagine the level of preparation and focus necessary to achieve what he did.

the rest of the climb is relatively speaking probably very "routine" , and that section (there were 2 that was the focus of the doc) he had to practice over and over tethered.  i dont think they said how many times hes attempted it on rope. 

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Well, I figured not every inch had to be practiced that way, but after a certain height any miss is death.  Eagle shits on your head randomly?  El Capitan and gravity don't give a shit.  Maintain your concentration or die.

AH is more singular as a mental freak than he is a physical freak.  A lot of people are physically capable of making that climb and do -- with ropes.   But I don't know that you would find anyone else on the planet that could maintain that focus and concentration over a lifetime of preparation to have the skill level required to even consider free soloing El Capitan, then spend six years of preparation for this specific climb to spend four hours being literally perfect or dead.

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Disregarding the overall scope of this/no ropes etc., the craziest part for me would be having to bust out the bouldering problem (and also the moves needed for the Enduro corner) after hundreds of feet of climbing "relatively" easy/standard big wall pitches (I believe a lot of them are rated at or below 5.10, although there are a few 5.11/5.12 areas). Completely different style of climbing and would be insane.

The hollow flake section looks like it would be a blast to climb (with ropes, obviously).

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AH is more singular as a mental freak than he is a physical freak...then spend six years of preparation for this specific climb to spend four hours being literally perfect or dead.


Yeah, that’s why to someone’s point above I can’t believe they didn’t comment more on the guy in unicorn PJs.

Maybe the guy recognized him as AH, maybe the guy noticed he was free climbing. (He’d have to right?) They obviously said something even if it was just “good morning.”

Cant have girlfriend around. Cant have camera men on route. Here’s a random dude in unicorn PJs try and maintain focus so you don’t die.

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Here's an interesting article about some of the variations he made to the route to feel more secure. I wish they would have included more of this technical type stuff in the doc, but they were clearly aiming at an audience who doesn't climb or know a whole lot about climbing. It would have been nice if they had listed the grades of the pitches instead of just the height when they showed them as well.

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Thanks for that link.   I didn't understand some of it, but he's a very good writer (maybe he had help) and reading about his preparation and concerns adds another interesting layer to the documentary.

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4 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Here's an interesting article about some of the variations he made to the route to feel more secure. I wish they would have included more of this technical type stuff in the doc, but they were clearly aiming at an audience who doesn't climb or know a whole lot about climbing. It would have been nice if they had listed the grades of the pitches instead of just the height when they showed them as well.

Interesting article, even if I didn't understand some of it (not being a climber myself). This part made me laugh:

Quote

About the Author: Alex Honnold, 33, is an aspiring sport climber. 

Aspiring....OK.

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Posted (edited)

Lol, sport climbing is a style of climbing where there are bolts drilled into the wall so all you have to do when climbing on lead is clip a quick draw (two carabiners joined by a loop of webbing) to the bolt and then clip your rope into the other carabiner. This is in contrast to trad climbing where you have devices you jam into cracks in the rock before clipping in. After you get to the top of a pitch you belay the person below you and they climb up removing your protection (called cleaning the route) until they get to you. Then you repeat the process until you get to the top.

Obviously what Alex Honnold does is mostly trad with a bit of free solo mixed in, so he is just making a joke about aspiring to the easiest and most popular type of climbing.

Edited by NotActuallyALonghorn

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Alex breaks down movie scenes, pretty funny:

 

And when he waves his big hands around, I keep thinking of this:

Its-Always-Sunny-in-Philadelphia-Season-

 

 

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17 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Obviously what Alex Honnold does is mostly trad with a bit of free solo mixed in, so he is just making a joke about aspiring to the easiest and most popular type of climbing.

He's actually been spending more time recently sport climbing and acknowledges that he isn't great at it in comparison to the best in the world like Ondra and Sharma.  He has been working on getting stronger so that he can climb more difficult sport routes.  Referring to himself as an aspiring sport climber is an accurate reference to his current focus.

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Wow I liked this movie.  When it was over, I my first thought was that it didn't address more in depth lots of the stuff I was interested in - namely a bit more about his psychological make up, some more on the technical aspects of this, and maybe a tad more on the physical requirements.  But ultimately, other than the 10 minutes or so of Home Depot, I thought it was fine.

I didn't really have any problem with the girlfriend.   This was a human trying to deal with a cyborg, so I don't think anyone would have come out looking anything other than someone getting the cyborg' way.  Plus, good god her dimples melted me.

Boy, Yosemite is beautiful. 

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Watched Dawn Wall on Netflix the other night and agree with whoever said it might be as good or better than FS. 

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2 hours ago, 4th&Five said:

Watched Dawn Wall on Netflix the other night and agree with whoever said it might be as good or better than FS. 

Watch Valley Uprising, it gives you a lot of the history of Yosemite and talks to climbers from several eras. From a sheer climbing/Yosemite standpoint, it was a better movie than both. Watching Dean Potter progress through his various level of crazy stuff was interesting especially since it had to be done right before he died.

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I've watched all of those plus meru,  and loved them all.  For an out of shape guy that cant do a pullup, I'm really into mountain climbing.  Part of it is the awe of their physical feats, but also that these are just guys that say fuck it and take a different path.  

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Posted (edited)
On 3/19/2019 at 8:13 PM, miguelito said:

Alex breaks down movie scenes, pretty funny:

 

And when he waves his big hands around, I keep thinking of this:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Its-Always-Sunny-in-Philadelphia-Season-

 

 

 

 

He really has giant hands compared to the rest of his body. I wonder how much is muscle and how much is just hand size.

I was cracking up at his face after they show the lizard in that one clip - it was the first time I'd noticed how his hair was sticking out everywhere and he looked kind of crazy. Then it's followed by his nonchalant description of what it feels like to have a bat hit your hand while climbing. And then "I had a friend get bitten by a rattlesnake on a boulder in Yellowstone. But that's just bad luck." LOL.

Edited by austingirl

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12 hours ago, austingirl said:

He really has giant hands compared to the rest of his body.

He had some freaky looking feet too.

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On 3/24/2019 at 9:19 AM, 4th&Five said:

Watched Dawn Wall on Netflix the other night and agree with whoever said it might be as good or better than FS. 

Caldwell's history and personal struggles are much more interesting than Honnold's.  The climbing in Dawn Wall was also significantly more difficult.  The grandeur captured in Free Solo and the ridiculous danger of Honnold's climb are stunning though.

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12 hours ago, austingirl said:

And then "I had a friend get bitten by a rattlesnake on a boulder in Yellowstone. But that's just bad luck." LOL.

In one of the interviews that I've heard, he talks about an older guy falling pretty far (on a rope) and breaking both of his ankles. Similar to a 100-foot fall that Tommy had when he and Alex were climbing roped together. Tommy was not hurt.

The older guy had to hang out all night on a ledge with broken ankles before being airlifted out the next morning. 

It was funny how matter-of-factly he told it -- like the rattlesnake bite.

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On 3/24/2019 at 7:48 AM, tantric superman said:

Boy, Yosemite is beautiful. 

Yosemite Valley is a must-see.  Worth every bit of effort to get there.  You can stand there and stare at the sights again and again and feel like you are looking at postcards, not believing it's real.

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On 3/24/2019 at 11:06 AM, Brew said:

Watch Valley Uprising, it gives you a lot of the history of Yosemite and talks to climbers from several eras. From a sheer climbing/Yosemite standpoint, it was a better movie than both. Watching Dean Potter progress through his various level of crazy stuff was interesting especially since it had to be done right before he died.

Really liked Valley Uprising. It's something I would never think of. The aspect of the climbers that basically call that place their home, or at least home away from home, sharing it with the average tourist. Cool perspective on that part of it. 

Also watched the others mentioned. Free Solo, Dawn Wall, Valley, Meru. I have never climbed and am way too big of a pussy to ever attempt it, but I could watch these shows all day I think. 

Maybe I got spoiled because these 4 are the first and only ones I've watched, but are there any recommendations on other climbing shows like this? Or kind of like this? 

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https://www.outsideonline.com/2392988/fitz-roy-free-solo

Quote

This Yosemite Climber Free Soloed Fitz Roy in Patagonia
Jim Reynolds is a name you’ve likely never heard, but his free-soloing feats top those of Alex Honnold—if not in difficulty, then in length, commitment, and style


Hayden Carpenter

Chunks of ice hurtled down the headwall. The rime, which coated the top of Fitz Roy like a cap, was melting in the midday sun. A direct hit would be enough to pluck Jim Reynolds off the wall. Climbing free solo—with only his rock shoes, a chalk bag, and a pack—he veered off route, sidestepping the immediate danger, and continued climbing into unknown terrain on the adjacent rock face. A few hundred feet later, at 3:13 p.m. on March 21, the 25-year-old from Weaverville, California, reached the summit of Patagonia’s iconic peak. But the climbing for Reynolds was only halfway over. Instead of rappelling the granite monolith, the usual method of descent, he was about to do the inconceivable, something that had never been done before. He was going to free solo down-climb the entire 5,000-foot spire.

“By the time I got down to the lower slabs, they were soaking wet,” says Reynolds. “Imagine what a nightmare it was, down climbing in the dark with a dim headlamp, on wet, insecure slabs, not knowing exactly where the route went. And that was probably after 12 or 13 hours of non-stop movement.”

You may recognize Jim Reynolds as the man who partnered with Brad Gobright in 2017 to break the speed record on El Capitan's Nose route. But his free solo ascent and descent of Afanassieff (5.10c) on Fitz Roy, which might be the longest free solo ever, has launched him to the next level. The climb itself is huge, and no one has ever down-soloed anything of this caliber. “It would take a competent team of two, pitching it out, two days to do that climb,” says Ted Hesser, a climber and photographer who also summited Fitz Roy this season. “To commit to something like that, free solo, is so bold because there’s so much terrain, and it’s very alpine in nature—there’s loose rock, snow, ice, and variable conditions. It makes my stomach drop.”

To put this ascent into perspective, when Alex Honnold completed his ground-breaking free solo of El Capitan’s Freerider (5.13a) in Yosemite, he climbed 3,000 feet in 3 hours, 56 minutes. Including the down climb, Reynolds free soloed 10,000 vertical feet in 15 and a half hours. While Afanassieff is technically easier than Freerider, it’s on a remote alpine peak with serious objective hazards and route-finding challenges. Freerider, in comparison, is a well-traveled route with clean rock in one of the busiest national parks in the U.S.

Before his free solo of Freerider, Honnold spent countless hours on a rope, rehearsing and memorizing every hand hold, foot hold, and move on the route. Reynolds, on the other hand, climbed Afanassieff onsight, meaning he had never climbed the route before (except for the first third, during an aborted free-solo attempt the week prior, when it didn’t “feel right”) and had no prior knowledge of the sequences of moves. To be clear, both feats are ridiculous—possibly insane—but Honnold's climb is maybe the only other exploit available to place what Reynolds has just pulled off in its proper context.

Reynolds is on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team (YOSAR). He knows the risks of climbing firsthand. “Mountains are beautiful, but they’re brutal as well,” he told National Geographic. “I have seen the consequences of what you look like when you fall 1,000 feet to ground. Those images of death are a part of me.”

In the weeks leading up to his Fitz Roy solo, Reynolds also onsight free soloed—up and down—two other Patagonian peaks. On March 9, he free soloed up Filo Oeste (5.11a) on the West Ridge of Aguja Rafael Juarez, and then free soloed down the Anglo-Americana (5.11b) for approximately 4,600 feet of climbing in total. Only two days later, he free soloed up Chiaro di Luna (5.11a) on Aguja Saint-Exupery, and then free soloed down the chossy Kearney-Harrington (5.10b) on the tower’s North Face, approximately 3,800 feet of climbing.

Reynolds didn’t head to Patagonia this season, his first time there, with the intention of climbing ropeless and alone. He began the trip climbing with partners as a roped team, the way most people ascend the region's large granite peaks. “I really enjoyed those experiences, but each time, I felt like I wasn’t able to express who I was as a climber,” he says. “And I didn’t really know what that meant.”

The answer for him was free soloing—not just up, but back down as well, in the purest style of climbing he was capable of. For Reynolds, free soloing is deeply personal, not something to be glorified nor condemned. Like an echo of Dean Potter, he describes climbing as a form of art, and to him, free soloing is pursuing that art to its highest level. “Maybe you climb every pitch ropeless, but is it a true free solo if you rappel?” he says. “The fact that there’s a question doesn’t mean that it’s not a free solo, it just implies that there’s a higher level of style possible.” He’s quick to add: “It’s not like I did it in the highest standard possible—I still used climbing shoes and a chalk bag, so there’s still a greater style out there for someone else.”

He carried a rack of gear for protection and a thin rope he could use to rappel on his free solos of Rafael Juarez and Fitz Roy (but he left his pack at the base of the Chiaro di Luna). He planned to down climb the routes, he says, but that wasn’t his expectation. “The expectation was to do whatever made the most sense in the moment and to have options,” he says. “You want to have as many options as you can to keep your safety margins as wide as possible so that if anything goes wrong, you’re not like, Oh, this one small mistake means I’m going to die up here.”

Climbing, especially free soloing, often gets a bad rap as a selfish and solitary pursuit. But Reynolds doesn’t see it that way. To him, climbing is about the community—people supporting each other, learning from each other, and drawing inspiration from one another. “Without that, I don’t think any of these solos would have been possible,” he says. He mentions piggybacking off of Marc-André Leclerc and Brette Harrington who both free soloed Chiaro di Luna, and Potter, the only other climber known to have free soloed Fitz Roy, but taking those accomplishments further (all three of those climbers rappelled).

“They showed me what was possible, and I was able to envision this next style,” he says. “We’re standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, and we’re paving a path for those who come after us. It’s not something we’re doing alone.”

 

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I thought the film was underwhelming given the enormity of his achievements, but it's also hard to properly video free soloing when the guy is used to being alone and needs to focus. Honnold is a freak show.

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I’m glad Valley Uprising was mentioned here. I love that one. The marijuana plane and Royal Robbins/Warren Harding feud were good stories. Robbins was a good dude.

Not climbing, but if you like other outdoor adventure docs, a few others are:


The John Muir Trail by Outmersive Films



The High Sierra Trail by Outmersive Films (you have to rent/buy this one, I know it’s on iTunes at least. Maybe Prime Video)

Mile, Mile and a Half (also about the JMT, really well done)

Probably a few more I can’t recall at the moment. I’ll post them if I remember.

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10 minutes ago, Anton Chigurh said:

 The marijuana plane and Royal Robbins/Warren Harding feud were good stories. Robbins was a good dude.
 

 

There is an incredibly long thread on the climbing site Supertopo.com on the Lockheed Loadstar crash into the lake.  Lots of old guys that were there posting up with old photos etc (some of which where in the movie).  Supposed there were several climbing/outdoor gear companies that were funded out of sale of the weed.

B1qmQK-r4OS._CLa%7C2140,2000%7C715UNHEkx

 

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There is an incredibly long thread on the climbing site Supertopo.com on the Lockheed Loadstar crash into the lake.  Lots of old guys that were there posting up with old photos etc (some of which where in the movie).  Supposed there were several climbing/outdoor gear companies that were funded out of sale of the weed.
B1qmQK-r4OS._CLa%7C2140,2000%7C715UNHEkxxL.png%7C0,0,2140,2000+0.0,0.0,2140.0,2000.0._UX466_.png
 


Nice, I need to read that. Men’s Journal of all things ran a really good article on it that I read a few years ago. Let me find it.

Here it is:

https://www.mensjournal.com/features/the-legend-of-yosemites-dope-lake-w209503/

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Thanks for those other videos.  I hiked a bit of the Muir Trail back in 2000 or so.  Still one of my greater achievements.

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His buddy didn’t make it. 

Quote

California rock climber Brad Gobright reportedly reached the top of a highly challenging rock face in northern Mexico and was rappelling down with a companion when he fell to his death.

Climber Aidan Jacobson of Phoenix, Arizona, told Outside magazine he was with Gobright, and said they had just performed an ascent of the Sendero Luminoso route in the El Potrero Chico area near the northern city of Monterrey. Jacobson also fell, but a shorter distance, after something went wrong in the “simul-rappelling” descent, the magazine said.

The technique involves two climbers balancing each other’s weight off an anchor point. In online forums, many climbers described the technique as difficult and potentially dangerous.

Civil defense officials in Nuevo Leon state said Gobright, 31, fell about 300 meters (328 yards) to his death on Wednesday. The magazine account described the fall as 600 feet (about 200 meters). Jacobson suffered minor injuries, officials said.

Gobright’s body was recovered Thursday. The publication Rock and Ice described Gobright as "one of the most accomplished free solo climbers in the world."

Friends on Friday described him as a dedicated climber who would travel the West Coast, living out of his Honda Civic, following the weather on a diet of gas station food.

“In some ways, I think he was such a fixture of the climbing community and such a big character on the scene, I feel like I’ve always known him,” said his friend Alex Honnold, who was the first person to ascend Yosemite National Park’s granite wall known as El Capitan without ropes or safety gear.

“He spent almost every day of his life doing exactly what he wanted to be doing.”

Jacobson said the pair might not have evened out the length of the 80-meter (88-yard) rope between them, to ensure each had the same amount, because Gobright’s end was apparently tangled in some bushes near a ledge below them.

That might have caused Gobright to essentially run out of rope; without the balancing weight of the other climber, both would fall. Jacobson fell through some vegetation and onto a ledge they were aiming for, injuring his ankle.

The duo did not tie knots at the end of the rope that would have prevented Gobright from rappelling off the end of it, Jacobson told Outside magazine.

Honnold said he’d often climb with Gobright as they discussed weighty topics such as the rise of China and would trade books about the evolution of humankind.

“He was just interested in the world,” Honnold said.

Samuel Crossley, a climber and photographer, said he first met Gobright about three years ago while filming “Safety Third,” a film chronicling Gobright’s life as a free solo climber.

Crossley said Gobright took the photographer’s needs and perspective into his climbs, taking direction well so they could make good photographs during sunrise or sunset that would become some of Crossley’s favorites.

Despite being an elite climber, Crossley said Gobright enjoyed living out of his sedan, noting other elite climbers lived out of vans.

“Brad was Brad, that was the beauty of it,” Crossley said. When you’re hanging out with Brad, you’re typically climbing and having a good time.”

 

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