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Alex Honnold has become the first climber to free solo Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El


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Home Forums Off Piste Other Activities Alex Honnold has become the first climber to free solo Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 41 total)
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  • #3471395
    Link .
    BPL Member

    @annapurna

    #3471398
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    Alex has an inner strength/ calm that is something to behold. Another being whose life may end prematurely but lived fully.

    #3471431
    Dave B
    BPL Member

    @dave-b

    Locale: Los Angeles area

    My goodness. That is an unbelievable climbing achievement. As a former rock climber, all I can say is, “Wow.”

    #3471762
    Kenneth Keating
    BPL Member

    @kkkeating

    Locale: Sacramento, Calif
    #3471836
    Link .
    BPL Member

    @annapurna

    Thanks Kenneth for posting the photos ! I am Looking forward to the National Geographic full length film on the climb!

    #3471888
    Alex H
    BPL Member

    @abhitt

    Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW

    Thanks to both of you for the links, I had read others but not as good or with photos!

    #3472203
    Dena Kelley
    BPL Member

    @eagleriverdee

    Locale: Eagle River, Alaska

    While I am in awe of his climbing skill and his courage, every time I see an article that starts with “Alex Honnold” I expect the next words to be “falls to his death” because the reality is everyone makes mistakes. I really, really wish he’d use ropes. Better to have and not need, than need and not have. He wouldn’t be living life any less by climbing the same things but with a rope attached to him.

    #3473060
    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member

    @here

    Locale: Right there

    +1 Dena

    nerve racking for observers

     

    #3473074
    rubmybelly!
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    “He wouldn’t be living life any less by climbing the same things but with a rope attached to him.”

    He might think he would. Some people are just driven to do these impossibly dangerous things. A life lived so completely is not a bad thing. I’m much too much a chickenshit to live my life that way and, I must admit, I’m a tad jealous of those who do, even if it leads to a shortened life. I think Honnold, and those like him, are more truly alive than I’ll ever be. It must feel glorious and exhilarating.

    #3473083
    Bob Moulder
    BPL Member

    @bobmny10562

    Locale: Westchester County, NY

    Sometimes people are so good at something that the “standard” way of doing things becomes ho-hum to them and cheating death is the only thing that makes it interesting again.

     

     

    #3473084
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    He was on 60 Minutes or something.  Doesn’t seem like he’s thrill seeking.  Still, it is dangerous.

    At least he doesn’t jump off with a parachute or wing suit.

    Outsideonline had an article by a climbing friend that helped Honnold train, but couldn’t watch it for fear he’d fall.

    #3473086
    Bob Moulder
    BPL Member

    @bobmny10562

    Locale: Westchester County, NY

    Not to be flippant about such a grave subject, but Dean Potter had that same, calm demeanor. And John Bachar, etc etc.

    To even consider venturing into their realm, this is a basic requirement.

     

     

     

    #3473133
    Lester Moore
    BPL Member

    @satori

    Locale: Olympic Peninsula, WA

    What Buddhist monks enter through deep meditation, what the virtuoso feels while playing their instrument in inspired perfection – that’s what the free soloist experiences when they are in the zone high on a rock wall. Thought, worry and ego get left behind at the base of the climb and aren’t picked up again until topping out. It’s an all-encompassing clarity and intense but relaxed focus providing gifted and determined climbers a dangerous, addictive and effective way to experience bliss. It’s a nail-biting and beautiful thing to watch.

    #3473135
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    Very well put Lester and Doug. That’s how I see it and why I have respect for Alex and Ueli and the others.

     

    Katharina- BPL-BO

    #3473174
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    “He might think he would. Some people are just driven to do these impossibly dangerous things. A life lived so completely is not a bad thing.”

    I just don’t see why this makes for a life lived completely. Surgeons, chamber music player, painters, teachers–on and on, live arguably more complete lives without playing Russian roulette while performing their vocation. Climbing with a rope really doesn’t change anything.

    I heard an interview with him; he seems like a good guy. The interviewer was typically fawning. I personally don’t admire this sort of thing at all. It smacks of not grasping the preciousness of life. Plus it’s selfish towards others that love you.

    #3473191
    rubmybelly!
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    “I just don’t see why this makes for a life lived completely. Surgeons, chamber music player, painters, teachers–on and on, live arguably more complete lives without playing Russian roulette while performing their vocation. Climbing with a rope really doesn’t change anything.”

    There are various ways, of course, to ‘live a life completely’. I think doing so is up to the individual and how they perceive living in such a way. Climbing with a rope does change something for Honnold, obviously.

    “It smacks of not grasping the preciousness of life.”

    I disagree. I’d imagine you might grasp the preciousness of life pretty strongly hanging from your fingertips high on a mountain wall. Some folks believe that pushing such boundaries helps them appreciate life all the more. It’s not for me, but it’s also not for me to judge their belief.

    “Plus it’s selfish towards others that love you.”

    I don’t know. As difficult as it may be, if someone really loved you they’d want you to pursue those things that are important to you, part of who you are, instead of hobbling you because of their worry. I could make an argument that that would be selfish toward someone you love.

    But I’m not here to argue. :-)

    #3473193
    Katherine .
    BPL Member

    @katherine

    Locale: pdx

    As long as my kids don’t take up free-soloing.

    #3473206
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    “He wouldn’t be living life any less by climbing the same things but with a rope attached to him.”

    “Climbing with a rope really doesn’t change anything.”

    Climbing with a rope changes everything.  As one who climbed for a number of years, not remotely near the level of Honnold, Bachar, Potter, et. al., but at enough of a level to know what is on the line, I can say that sooner or later anyone who climbs in the mountains will find themselves free soloing stretches, typically low 5th or even 4th class, where a fall will result in death just as surely as coming off a 13.c on El Cap 2000′ off the deck.  The focus, exhilaration, and sometimes bliss that come with moving over rock unencumbered by rope and rack, with everything on the line, is hard to communicate to non climbers, so I won’t even try.  Suffice it say that those of you who are passing judgment on him simply do not have the background to do so.  Why not just contemplate in wonder the incredible feat that he accomplished, and marvel at what humans are capable of?  One thing it most certainly was not, was Russian Roulette.  Any who doubt that statement need only delve into the details of how he trained for the attempt to see what I am getting at.

     

    “I personally don’t admire this sort of thing at all.”

    That is your privilege, but when you extrapolate from not admiring to judging, I have to disagree with you.

    “It smacks of not grasping the preciousness of life.”

    You are simply not in a position to make that determination about the mind set of someone you have never met.  I’ll defer to Doug’s rejoinder, above,  as to my reasoning.  +1 to Doug.

    “Plus it’s selfish towards others that love you.”

    Those who truly love you would never make you a prisoner of their expectations.

    #3473210
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    the old ‘you aren’t capable of understanding and I am so you’re wrong’ argument. Fine; plenty of other climbers also disapprove of free climbing for essentially the same reasons as me.

    I’m not judging him, other than here: “I heard an interview with him; he seems like a good guy.” I just want to voice a counter opinion to the dominant response which is gob smacked admiration. Honnold didn’t put up a new route or set a speed record. All he did was climb recklessly.

    As Dena says, climbers fall, even very good ones. The proper way to tackle a route like that is to use ropes. Now of course others will attempt to free solo it. Again, I don’t admire them. It’s foolish.

    #3473212
    Lester Moore
    BPL Member

    @satori

    Locale: Olympic Peninsula, WA

    The proper way to tackle a route like that is to use ropes.

    Thanks for clarifying for everyone else what’s proper. Perhaps you actually meant “what would be proper for me personally”? The bottom line is that many people risk their lives to various degrees for varying levels of reward. Can anyone who is not a Bearing Sea crab fisherman tell such a fisherman what’s a proper amount of risk to take in performing their task? Same goes for mountaineering (all types).

    One could make a similar argument that “the proper way to backpack in wilderness to take bombproof gear that can handle any possible wilderness situation”. That criteria would deem UL and especially SUL improper. It may be improper for you and that’s OK, but doesn’t mean it’s improper for somebody else.

    #3473213
    jimmyjam
    BPL Member

    @jimmyjam

    Locale: Mid Atlantic

    You’ve got to be nuts to do that.

    #3473214
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    Lester, EVERY person before Honnold who climbed El Cap…used a rope. Every single one of those climbers recognized that using a rope was the proper way to approach that climb. So no, it’s not just me forcing my opinion.

    Bering Sea fishermen take the precautions that they can when they venture out. It would be foolish to do otherwise. To deliberately venture out without a radio, a life vest and all the rest, with a family ashore, would be reckless. Same with mountain climbers–of course there are risks; part of being an accomplished climber is to recognize them and take what precautions you can.

    And you can’t be seriously comparing the ‘risks’ of backpacking with what Honnold did?

    In any case, meditaters have been known to lose focus; you seem familiar with this practice, I’m sure that you understand what I mean. We don’t fall to our death when this happens. If we did, we’d rope up!

    Oh well I’ve already lost this argument; so be it.

    #3473217
    rubmybelly!
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    “Oh well I’ve already lost this argument; so be it.”

    I don’t think you’ve lost any argument (at least, as I said, I’m not arguing… :-)

    You bring up very valid points. Your views are sincere and considered. I think hearing sincere and considered opinions that disagree with mine is a good thing – causes me to rethink my own opinions, which is always a good thing. So I respect and appreciate your opinion, even if I don’t completely agree with it.

    #3473219
    Lester Moore
    BPL Member

    @satori

    Locale: Olympic Peninsula, WA

    Your argument is valid and certainly not lost on likely a large number of people. It brings up an important point that anyone choosing to partake in dangerous activities hopefully considers. At what point along the continuous scale of risk versus benefit should we draw discrete lines that should not be crossed? Where should those lines be drawn for the individual, for groups or for society at large? Under what circumstances would it be reasonable to cross those lines? We are able to draw those lines better by talking about them, sharing our views, and considering the views of others.

    As for free soloing, the prepared climber takes precautions of all sorts to manage the risks as much as possible, including much preparation and practice on the route, extreme levels of physical and mental conditioning, years of experience (hopefully) dealing with the demands of such an undertaking, checking weather, and having the sense and willingness to back off when things don’t feel “right” for any reason. But is it too much of a risk – maybe, maybe not. Is the climbing hurting anybody, or potentially hurting anybody if a mistake is made? How does the climb impact other climbers, park users, SAR, family, friends, etc? All great questions to consider.

    #3473222
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I agree 100% with the last 2 posts.

    Part of me admires Honnold too; how could you not?

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