Free Solo Climbers...some of the best athletes around?

Jay

May 31, 2012
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Daddy won't be around anymore because he needed to climb a cliff without safety gear.
Well, while I get your point - only one major free soloist actually died while free soloing, and it's believed he suffered a heart attack or stroke or something along those lines while climbing (and late on in his career/life).

A lot of prep and training goes into free soloing - tons of hours of training, learning the route off by heart. They could describe and demonstrate every movement.

It's an unnecessary risk, but they're not just doing it for a cheap thrill as such.

http://time.com/3898371/alex-honnold-dean-potter-climbing/

After Dean Potter (another famous free soloist) died, Alex Honnold wrote an article about the whole thing. Might help you understand it from his/their perspective a bit.

@Strike you might enjoy reading it as well - if you've not already seen.

I know Alex gets all the glamour, and is probably the biggest name in the climbing world, but he's a freak of nature. I think he's probably finished as a free soloist as well, at least in terms of the big projects - there's not much bigger than El Cap
 
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Apr 7, 2014
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Well, while I get your point - only one major free soloist actually died while free soloing, and it's believed he suffered a heart attack or stroke or something along those lines while climbing (and late on in his career/life).

A lot of prep and training goes into free soloing - tons of hours of training, learning the route off by heart. They could describe and demonstrate every movement.

It's an unnecessary risk, but they're not just doing it for a cheap thrill as such.

http://time.com/3898371/alex-honnold-dean-potter-climbing/

After Dean Potter (another famous free soloist) died, Alex Honnold wrote an article about the whole thing. Might help you understand it from his/their perspective a bit.

@Strike you might enjoy reading it as well - if you've not already seen.

I know Alex gets all the glamour, and is probably the biggest name in the climbing world, but he's a freak of nature. I think he's probably finished as a free soloist as well, at least in terms of the big projects - there's not much bigger than El Cap
Off wiki:

  • Paul Preuss (3 October 1913) died during an attempt to make the first ascent of the North Ridge of the Mandlkogel (in the Gosaukamm range) free solo, in a fall of more than 300m.
  • Jimmy Jewell fell to his death (31 October 1987) from Poor Man's Peuterey (Severe) at Tremadog, North Wales. He was using the route as a shortcut from a local pub to his climbing club hut and it was well below his usual grade and capability.
  • Derek Hersey died (28 May 1993) in an accident while soloing the Steck-Salathé Route free solo, on Sentinel Rock in Yosemite National Park.
  • Dwight Bishop fell (19 July 2004; age 49) while climbing alone and unroped along the Grand Traverse route on Grand Teton peak in Wyoming.
  • Jimmy Ray Forester fell (24 November 2006; age 43) while free-soloing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. Forester, an experienced, talented climber, failed to return to camp after setting out on The Scariest Ride in the Park, a 40-pitch 5.9 ridge route known for loose rock. He was found the next day at the base of the wall. [10]
  • George Gardner fell to his death (25 July 2008; age 58) while free soloing in Grand Teton National Park. [11]
  • John Bachar died (5 July 2009) in a free solo accident at Dike Wall near Mammoth Lakes, California.
  • Akihira Tawara died (13 September 2011) while free solo climbing the Directissima 5.8 route on Yamnuska.
  • Michael Ybarra died (July 2012) climbing solo on The Matterhorn Peak in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. [12]
  • Brad Parker fell (August 2014) about 300 feet to his death while attempting to climb Matthes Crest Traverse in Yosemite, CA. [13]
  • Andrew Barnes died (12 June 2015; age 46) falling 50 ft (15 m) free solo climbing in New York's Shawangunk Mountains. [14]
  • Angus Moloney died (27 September 2015; age 22) falling 100 ft free-solo climbing from the Fifth Pinnacle above the Gregory Canyon Trail, Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks.[15]
  • Ueli Steck, a world-renowned Swiss mountaineer and free solo climber, died after falling an estimated 1000m while trying to scale the Nuptse Wall on 30 April 2017
 
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mandela

CHB Führer
May 16, 2013
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Off wiki:

  • Paul Preuss (3 October 1913) died during an attempt to make the first ascent of the North Ridge of the Mandlkogel (in the Gosaukamm range) free solo, in a fall of more than 300m.
  • Jimmy Jewell fell to his death (31 October 1987) from Poor Man's Peuterey (Severe) at Tremadog, North Wales. He was using the route as a shortcut from a local pub to his climbing club hut and it was well below his usual grade and capability.
  • Derek Hersey died (28 May 1993) in an accident while soloing the Steck-Salathé Route free solo, on Sentinel Rock in Yosemite National Park.
  • Dwight Bishop fell (19 July 2004; age 49) while climbing alone and unroped along the Grand Traverse route on Grand Teton peak in Wyoming.
  • Jimmy Ray Forester fell (24 November 2006; age 43) while free-soloing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. Forester, an experienced, talented climber, failed to return to camp after setting out on The Scariest Ride in the Park, a 40-pitch 5.9 ridge route known for loose rock. He was found the next day at the base of the wall. [10]
  • George Gardner fell to his death (25 July 2008; age 58) while free soloing in Grand Teton National Park. [11]
  • John Bachar died (5 July 2009) in a free solo accident at Dike Wall near Mammoth Lakes, California.
  • Akihira Tawara died (13 September 2011) while free solo climbing the Directissima 5.8 route on Yamnuska.
  • Michael Ybarra died (July 2012) climbing solo on The Matterhorn Peak in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. [12]
  • Brad Parker fell (August 2014) about 300 feet to his death while attempting to climb Matthes Crest Traverse in Yosemite, CA. [13]
  • Andrew Barnes died (12 June 2015; age 46) falling 50 ft (15 m) free solo climbing in New York's Shawangunk Mountains. [14]
  • Angus Moloney died (27 September 2015; age 22) falling 100 ft free-solo climbing from the Fifth Pinnacle above the Gregory Canyon Trail, Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks.[15]
  • Ueli Steck, a world-renowned Swiss mountaineer and free solo climber, died after falling an estimated 1000m while trying to scale the Nuptse Wall on 30 April 2017
13 people in over 100 years?

Wonder what the stats are for boxing, motor racing or any other dangerous sports.
 
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Jay

May 31, 2012
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Off wiki:

  • Paul Preuss (3 October 1913) died during an attempt to make the first ascent of the North Ridge of the Mandlkogel (in the Gosaukamm range) free solo, in a fall of more than 300m.
  • Jimmy Jewell fell to his death (31 October 1987) from Poor Man's Peuterey (Severe) at Tremadog, North Wales. He was using the route as a shortcut from a local pub to his climbing club hut and it was well below his usual grade and capability.
  • Derek Hersey died (28 May 1993) in an accident while soloing the Steck-Salathé Route free solo, on Sentinel Rock in Yosemite National Park.
  • Dwight Bishop fell (19 July 2004; age 49) while climbing alone and unroped along the Grand Traverse route on Grand Teton peak in Wyoming.
  • Jimmy Ray Forester fell (24 November 2006; age 43) while free-soloing in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. Forester, an experienced, talented climber, failed to return to camp after setting out on The Scariest Ride in the Park, a 40-pitch 5.9 ridge route known for loose rock. He was found the next day at the base of the wall. [10]
  • George Gardner fell to his death (25 July 2008; age 58) while free soloing in Grand Teton National Park. [11]
  • John Bachar died (5 July 2009) in a free solo accident at Dike Wall near Mammoth Lakes, California.
  • Akihira Tawara died (13 September 2011) while free solo climbing the Directissima 5.8 route on Yamnuska.
  • Michael Ybarra died (July 2012) climbing solo on The Matterhorn Peak in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. [12]
  • Brad Parker fell (August 2014) about 300 feet to his death while attempting to climb Matthes Crest Traverse in Yosemite, CA. [13]
  • Andrew Barnes died (12 June 2015; age 46) falling 50 ft (15 m) free solo climbing in New York's Shawangunk Mountains. [14]
  • Angus Moloney died (27 September 2015; age 22) falling 100 ft free-solo climbing from the Fifth Pinnacle above the Gregory Canyon Trail, Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks.[15]
  • Ueli Steck, a world-renowned Swiss mountaineer and free solo climber, died after falling an estimated 1000m while trying to scale the Nuptse Wall on 30 April 2017
I was mostly thinking of the 'famous' names, but yeah that was stupid of me. I'll concede this point. Less people than you'd have thought all things considered.
 
Apr 7, 2014
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13 people in over 100 years?

Wonder what the stats are for boxing, motor racing or any other dangerous sports.
Those were the "notable" ones listed by Wikipedia. I'd be interested in the mortality rate because there aren't that many people who participate.

I can tell you that for pro skateboarding (or high level am) the mortality rate is zero.

Boxing does have deaths but also has thousands of participants. Certain weight classes have over 1k active pros.
 

Jay

May 31, 2012
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Stoke-ish
13 people in over 100 years?

Wonder what the stats are for boxing, motor racing or any other dangerous sports.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deaths_due_to_injuries_sustained_in_boxing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_fatalities

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BASE_jumping#Fatalities

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_association_footballers_who_died_while_playing


I'm sure a lot of free solo deaths aren't reported as such or included on that list, but the disparity is shocking. TBH, most free soloing will be far less involved than what Honnold does.
 

kf3

Jul 17, 2012
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South London
a decent % of the crashes didn't happen in f1 races, a lot aren't even in testing.

if alex honnold falls down the stairs it won't get called a climbing death.
 
Last edited:
Jun 17, 2013
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This is something people who give absolutely no shit about life do...I need to really look into this shit
 

WaltzingMatilda

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Nov 29, 2015
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That Alex Honnold bloke is a fuckin freak
And a really personable nice kinda freak, I’d actually hate for anything to happen to him, he seems like a really friendly, relaxed cunt, with a penchant for wanting to risk his life a bit too much for my liking
 
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Jay

May 31, 2012
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@Strike @mandela

This makes "The Boulder Problem" a bit easier to envisage.. Not 100% exact but close as you'll get I think.


Unreal to do knowing one fuck up and death, and you're doing that towards the end of a 3000ft climb..

I would hate to be given a v3 knowing I had no opportunity to make a mistake... Guy is nuts..
 
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May 16, 2013
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Extremely difficult and extremely dangerous. very impressive these guys are freakishly strong for their size. I think from a purely athletic standpoint bouldering is more impressive. free solo on something the size of Yosemite is extremely dangerous but when your climbing something that is angled against you the difficulty goes to a whole other level.

 
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I thought this video was cool. Long and boring at times but shows just how strong these guys are in terms of grip
 
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Jay

May 31, 2012
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@Strike I watched Free Solo the other day. WOW. Cracking film, I knew the end result, but I was still gripped watching it. Even none climbing mates missus was hooked. Can't believe the abuse his bird has taken, she was so tolerant and patient considering how much stress Alex was putting on everyone. He is odd, but hilarious.

@mandela as well - you two should watch this... Alex watches famous hollywood climbing scenes and reviews the climbing..

 
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Jun 4, 2012
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@Strike I watched Free Solo the other day. WOW. Cracking film, I knew the end result, but I was still gripped watching it. Even none climbing mates missus was hooked. Can't believe the abuse his bird has taken, she was so tolerant and patient considering how much stress Alex was putting on everyone. He is odd, but hilarious.

@mandela as well - you two should watch this... Alex watches famous hollywood climbing scenes and reviews the climbing..

Yeaah I just watched that YT video yesterday actually. Re-watched Free Solo on Wednesday too, as my bro hadn't seen it, and I managed to find a torrent. The boulder problem is still nerve racking on a second viewing. Mental stuff.
 

mandela

CHB Führer
May 16, 2013
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@Strike I watched Free Solo the other day. WOW. Cracking film, I knew the end result, but I was still gripped watching it. Even none climbing mates missus was hooked. Can't believe the abuse his bird has taken, she was so tolerant and patient considering how much stress Alex was putting on everyone. He is odd, but hilarious.

@mandela as well - you two should watch this... Alex watches famous hollywood climbing scenes and reviews the climbing..

Look at his fuckin' hands, man.

They're ginormous, man.
 
Mar 6, 2014
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been after a torrent of this myself....Jimmy Chin's other film 'Meru' is brilliant too...

 
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May 19, 2013
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Just watched that Alex Honnold documentary on El Capitan.

His girlfriend annoyed me a bit. She was making me anxious and irritated for him just watching.
 
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