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Thread: Crazy craziness

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    Crazy craziness

    It's called "free soloing," or rock climbing without any ropes or any other protective gear. I had no idea people actually did this

    Alex Honnold on Half Dome:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leCAy1v1fnI

    Catherine Destivelle in Mali:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N70DLM8Az_8

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    Those videos make my knees feel weak. I'm at heights. Here is a 60 minutes profile of Alex Honnold. Fascinating and all rolled into one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR1jw...eature=related

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    Wow...in that 60 minutes video he seems to be just sticking his fingers into cracks and relying on that to climb...*shudders*

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    Quote Originally Posted by shan View Post
    Those videos make my knees feel weak. I'm at heights. Here is a 60 minutes profile of Alex Honnold. Fascinating and all rolled into one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR1jw...eature=related
    Quote Originally Posted by iloveemoticons View Post
    Wow...in that 60 minutes video he seems to be just sticking his fingers into cracks and relying on that to climb...*shudders*
    I couldn't believe that the two of you bothered to watch 60 minutes of video of him climbing.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

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    Amazing - Catherine literally swung herself up and down from the rocks like a monkey. . .

    But, there is a point where fearlessness becomes idiocy IMO - use a rope. The more you do this, the more likely something is going to to wrong and you'll fall to your death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigB08822 View Post
    I couldn't believe that the two of you bothered to watch 60 minutes of video of him climbing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    But, there is a point where fearlessness becomes idiocy IMO - use a rope.
    Free-soloing has nothing to do with fearlessness. Fearless climbers die fast, at an early age. If free-soloing accidents are most of the time fatal, they are also extremely rare as opposed to the hundreds of deaths among roped up climbers around the world every year. But solo free-climbing is also reserved to a certain category of climbers. The key isn't so much in your physical capabilities but in your capacity to concentrate and focus, and in your ability to immerse yourself in the environment until you become part of it. It's comparable to apnea-diving, the physical and mental process is the same. Then, the presence of a rope is never a 100% guarantee of safety. For instance it's extremely dangerous to go climbing when you don't know how to fix a proper belay. And lots of people do that all the time. Even when you're an expert climber, on a very difficult route, it can happen that the rope is moral comfort only. So the equation is far more complicated than simply roped/unroped. In all my years of climbing I saw a free-soloer fall (to his death) only once, in Gorges du Verdon (France) while I unfortunately lost track of all the fatal accidents I've heard of or even witnessed in general mountaineering.


    What's a bit weird to me is that the previous posts make it sound like it's something new, when free-soloing actually reached its peak in the 80s. I knew some of its disciples and if they're not all still alive today, none of then died free-soloing a wall. Catherine Destivelle is said to be 28 in the video but it was a while ago since she is now 51 (she'll be 52 this year). She is one of the most calm, collected and self-controlled person I know. Crazy (or idiot) and her name can definitely NOT belong in the same sentence. She is one of the best female climbers of all times and she is also one who has done A LOT for female climbers to be finally accepted in what was, not so long ago, and is still often, a perfect illustration of the expression "man's world". She has had several close calls in her career but she admits it was always because, at some point, she had made a mistake in a field where no mistake is allowed. And it's the same for any mountaineer in the world. Except for the objective dangers like rock and ice falls that you can't foresee, people die while climbing because they've made one or several mistakes. Everything being always relative, if you have the required mental and physical abilities for free-soloing, if you have the proper accute senses, then you're in a lesser danger than the tourist who walks up a glacier in his tennis shoes, not knowing what a crevasse is (and I see this every single summer in my area...).

    The more you do this, the more likely something is going to to wrong and you'll fall to your death.
    The fact that all the free-soloers I know are now in their 50s tend to prove it's not true You know, I've been a rock climber and a rather good one, I've been into mountaineering all my life, it has always been my passion numero uno, my significant other is a professional mountain guide and a himalayist who has climbed 6 of the 14 highest mountains in the world. Even a part of my own professional life revolves around mountaineering now, as a translator and a free-lance reporter. I've also been a sky-diver, a paraglider, I've been bungee-jumping, everything that involves adrenaline rushes, I've tried it. At 47 I'm still an adrenaline junkie. I have had my own close calls and since I'm not totally stupid, it taught me a thing or two. But the only real nasty accident I had, the only event that messed up my life completely was my unfortunate and brutal encounter with a drunk driver. So to me, everything being relative again, free-soloing Half Dome still looks a lot safer than crossing path with a snowmobile driven by a drunk when I'm dog-sledding.

    Although I have suffered several disabilities and can no longer rock climb, fly or dive, I'm still into mountaineering and into surpassing myself. My goals are now quite ridiculous compared to what I aimed for and could do before, but it's a visceral need I've always had to be in the outdoors, to almost dissolve into an environment I love like mountains or deserts, to push my body and my resistance to its limits, then push even farther when the limits recede. It is something I have within me, something I'm born with but that I can't explain. I'm a loner so it's not a matter of proving anything to anyone. I think it's maybe the animal part in me or something in my brain that makes me very receptive to the relation existing between the outside world and me, as a physical entity. I need to feel in tune with nature, I love being acutely aware of my surroundings, the smells, the colors, the lights, I love the emotions they creates in me. But it doesn't make me a nutcase or an idiot. There are lots of crazy people doing crazy things in this world, but sometimes if you look a little more closely, you discover that maybe there is much more thinking and philosophy behind the crazy apperances that you'd have first thought. I'm reacting to your post Japanfan because I'm used to people thinking I'm crazy and/or stupid, before because I was a big risk taker, now because even physically diminished, in their words "I'm not clever enough to stop and have a normal life". But what is normal for them would make me die of boredom . The difference is, I don't consider them cowards or lazy or dumber than me.

    Edit : Woaw !! I think I've beaten my own record of length in a post
    Last edited by cholla; 01-14-2012 at 06:39 PM.
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