Free climbing without ropes

6:33 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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4:04 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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The link gives a "404 page not found error" message.

Looks like this refers to a video about Alex Honnold. "Free climbing" means without the use of ropes or any other protection. The risk is extremely high and should not be attempted by anyone other than extremely experienced climbers. It is not the same as "solo", "rope solo", or "self-belayed" climbing (which also should not be attempted by anyone who is not extremely experienced).

[addition - Sage is right, I should have said "free-solo". "Free climbing" actually refers to using no artificial aid - still a bit tired from the ice climbing over the weekend]

6:27 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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Same error message

Probably free-solo. 

We sometines do what we call Deep-water-solo, where we climb cliffs over water so that if we fall we land in the lake; boat always near-by. 

8:07 p.m. on January 30, 2012 (EST)
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Hmm thats weird, I watched it the other day and now I'm getting the same message. It was a short 4 min excerpt of Alex climbing free solo. Really great quality shots. Actually hit the climbing gym Sunday because the movie reminded me how out of shape I am!

10:30 a.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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That guy is an amazing climber. I watched a video of him climbing "Belly Full of Bad Berries" in Utah.  The guy climbed a section of this off-width crack feet first!

I haven't met him but he seems pretty humble too.

9:37 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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As Bill said, the risk is extremely high. One of the world's foremost free climbers, and a pioneer in it, John Bachar, died  in 2009 while on a climb near Mammoth.

10:35 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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It is awesome to see.........when it works.

11:05 p.m. on January 31, 2012 (EST)
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I know a lot of climbers that free solo. I've done it many times myself. It's a delightful experience that brings into stark relief the reality of one's mortality and the joy of simply putting hands onto rock and moving upward. Many of these guys and gals, are to me, superhuman.

10:44 a.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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I think this one has been posted before, but I believe this is probably the best video of a free solo on a mountain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vx7GKAUDC0

Check out the slip at 1:50
 

11:29 a.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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His ice tool also slips placement at 0:54.  Only 1.5 second before the slip, his other hand wasn't placed yet. Yikes. 

12:07 p.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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gonzan said:

His ice tool also slips placement at 0:54.  Only 1.5 second before the slip, his other hand wasn't placed yet. Yikes. 

 I've watched the video a few times and it looks like he had the lower serrated edge of the left ice tool embedded before the slip.  Still scary.

12:38 p.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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Yeah, there was a brief moment where he decided against the front placement and where the lower edge wasn't placed yet. . I just had the thought that it would have been unpleasant if your right placement slipped at that moment :)

4:46 p.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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Watched it.  OMGoodness.

Is there any limit to what the human body can do?

 

Jeff

7:11 p.m. on February 1, 2012 (EST)
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They don't call him the "Swiss Machine" for nothing.

11:45 p.m. on February 7, 2012 (EST)
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Total amazing! Frikn nuts! But totaly amazing!

7:53 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

Watched it.  OMGoodness.

Is there any limit to what the human body can do?

 Yes.  Putting tooth paste back in the tube, fixing a miscarriage, and welding the crack of dawn.

Ed

10:45 a.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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I'm sure Chuck Norris could.

 

 

 

Jeff

2:23 p.m. on February 8, 2012 (EST)
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One riot, one Ranger.  I'm Chuck Norris and I endorsed this message.  

5:57 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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rob5073 said:

They don't call him the "Swiss Machine" for nothing.

  Ueli Steck? Yeah, he's great. But like Alex, someday he'll have one little moment of inattention, or one small piece of rock will crumble under his fingers or toes.....

If you think about it, every lead climber is 'free climbing'. The difference is that if they slip, they don't die.

7:52 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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The NatGeo video is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leCAy1v1fnI

10:01 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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peter1955 said:

If you think about it, every lead climber is 'free (solo) climbing'.

 Hmm... Not true of direct aid climbing; about the only way they can fall is if they slip off their etriers

Ed

1:31 a.m. on March 1, 2012 (EST)
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Alex or Ueli, either is incredible at what they do.  I don't have the stomach for that kind of risk.  

11:58 a.m. on March 1, 2012 (EST)
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A lead climber may be roped, but they can still fall to twice the distance of the last tie-in point. I was referring to the technique, which is identical what to a free-climber uses. A gym climber on a top rope will be less cautious because they're not concerned about taking a ten or twenty-foot whipper!

2:01 p.m. on March 1, 2012 (EST)
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peter1955 said:

If you think about it, every lead climber is 'free climbing'. The difference is that if they slip, they don't die.

 Reviewing the definitions (from Matt Samet's Climbing Dictionary, Mountaineers Press):

Free-climbing - to eliminate any aid climbing on a route; to climb it only via your fingers and toes, using the rope and protection systems solely to catch a fall.

Free-solo - to free-climb alone without a rope, wherein falling means almost certain death. Non-climbers and media types often confuse free climbing with free soloing.

French-free - Pulling on or standing on gear to bypass a crux, thus doing a route mostly, but not entirely, free.

Aid climbing - Weighting protection for progress, clipping it directly with a daisy chain and standing tall in etriers to place the next piece.

Samet does not define rope-solo as a separate entry, but rope-solo is soloing while placing protection.

As long as you are not using the rope or pro for climbing, nor touching the pro except during placing, retrieving, or clipping in, you are "free climbing".

6:50 p.m. on March 20, 2012 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

I'm sure Chuck Norris could.

 

 

 

Jeff

 He would climb up with a rope to give it to a stranded climber and not use the rope.

12:57 a.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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I saw a longer version of this video ("Swiss Machine") a few weeks ago and was just about dumbfounded.   2 hours 47 minutes to climb Eiger!!  Looks like almost all on the north face. That is just insane. 

Climbing guys, why did he attempt this in the winter?  Is this kind of climbing actually easier in the winter?  Still winter or summer, I don't think you recover from making a mistake on something like this.  I can't imagine what his adrenalin level was like.  Crazy!!

Wolfman

5:02 a.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

..Is this kind of climbing actually easier in the winter?...

I don't know how to respond to the "this kind of climbing" remark, as the North Face Eiger is a climb in its own class, for various reasons.   Steck's record climb was done in mid February.  John Harlan II, one of America’s great climbers in his generation, was noted for his penchant for spectacular climbs.  He fell to his death, due to equipment failure, while trying to be the first to accomplish the Direttissima route on the Eiger in 1966.  He studied the Eiger’s weather for more than a year before attempting this climb.  Harlin choose winter for his attempt but did not get an acceptable weather window until March. 

K2 is another highly technical climb with similar hazards along some parts of the route, but has never been successfully summitted in winter, principally due to fierce weather conditions.  But it is a non sequitor comparing these climbs; while Eiger might be climbed in several hours, K2 in the best of circumstances is still a several day’s climb, even with advance teams laying up fixed ropes and camps beforehand.  In fact different climbs have their own set of circumstances that determine the ideal weather and timing, so the honest answer to this question is: it depends.

Ed

11:41 a.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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giftogab said:

It is awesome to see.........when it works.

 and when it doesn't work , .............................

2:03 a.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolf, I believe there is a definite reason he climbed it when he did. Most likely it is for the stability of the ice and snowpack. During summer, when the sun rises high, the north face begins to melt. Water cascades down portions of the route and danger from rockfall is very high. Also there is an area on the face called , "The White Spider" which is just below the summit and the final snowfield. Everything which comes down the mountain gets channelled there; rockfall, ice, water, avalanches, climbers, you name it. The people who climb this ogre are the best climbers in the world and it is a dangerous mountain to be on.

10:08 a.m. on April 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the Info Rob, I thought it might be because everything was frozen solid.  As for skill, yea sure, looked like a piece of cake to me, I mean really it only took 3 hours, a nice Sunday stroll!  Ha Ha Good luck with that!! :D

Wolfman

September 18, 2014
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