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clmbnski


Sep 9, 2005, 5:14 PM
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I just got done reading the book. Definitely need to read it again in order to really absorb things. However I was surprised to find that not much was said about free soloing other than mentioning croft, bacher and others. Im not talking about advocating for or against, but I think it does envelope a huge range of mental climbing concepts.

Someone who free solos to inflate ego is probably not going to last very long. This is due to the fact that in order to avoid a fall you must be incredibly honest with yourself and your abilities. An out of control ego will hinder this.

Soloing is also the ultimate acceptance of responsibility. Acknoledging that a fall will kill you and still continuing, represents a real dedication to your reasons for climbing.

What do other people think about the relationship between soloing and a warrior mentality.

Chris


dirtineye


Sep 10, 2005, 3:54 AM
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Successful free soloing is about your ability to identify risk levels that you can live though, and accepting responsibility, and being comfortable with your choices, so that you can devote full attention to what will keep you on the rock and move you up or back down safely.

Onsight soloing is vastly different from soloing routes or highballs you've had beta on or top roped or led before.

The ability to downclimb with confidence is a great asset.


ninja_climber


Sep 10, 2005, 4:29 AM
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I have been climbing for about a year now and had an thirst for soloing. So one day while climbing with a couple friends I just kind of went up this 5.6 and kind of just sat there and looked at for what must have been 15-20 mins. THen I just got up and started climbing. They rushed over and started telling me to get down, but I didn't. I finished it and then very SLOWLY downclimbed it.SHit was the scariest part.. It was only like 17-18m so It wasn't too bad. It wasn't hard. It was different. Knowing that every move you make means something. I havn't soloed since, but I do plan on soloing a route in a couple months, one that I have TRed many times. Like you said people that think to much of themselves are not the best for soloing. I got up there knowing my limits.


flowerchild


Sep 10, 2005, 6:59 AM
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Thats truly a fantastic book, however, why not use the wisdom to improve your sport/trad climbing skills, because surely there is no limit to improving that ability.
I agree that soloing is a mental battle beyond what sport or trad climbing can offer, shit man its your life at stake. Im not gonna lie that I havent been tempted to solo up that easy 5.6. However, I feel that in climbing you need to set limitations with yourself. You cant treat climbing as though every move could be fatal, it is like acting as though you are invinsible. I dont care if you onsight 5.13's, you can't prevent the unpreventables... rock fall, bee stings, holds breaking, etc...
I just feel that some people just go too far. However, do what you will; you just wont see me up there without a rope.


glyrocks


Sep 10, 2005, 7:42 AM
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I have been climbing for about a year now... I do plan on soloing a route in a couple months, one that I have TRed many times... I got up there knowing my limits.

You have no idea what your limits are. Toproping a route in no way prepares you for free soloing it. So don't.



In reply to:
You cant treat climbing as though every move could be fatal, it is like acting as though you are invinsible. I dont care if you onsight 5.13's, you can't prevent the unpreventables... rock fall, bee stings, holds breaking, etc...

You've missed the point. Soloing isn't about being invincible (or invinsible for that matter) or preventing the unpreventable. Soloing is about climbing. Sorry to disappoint anyone, but that's it; it's about nothing more than climbing a rock by yourself. Look, I don't boulder so I don't tell people how to do it or why it's dumb. If you don't solo, don't tell peole how to solo or why to solo. End of story.


clmbnski


Sep 10, 2005, 4:35 PM
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Let me try to clarify what I am going for. I am not saying that one should argue for or against soloing. Nor do I need to know whether you plan on soloing or are against it.

I am wondering if there are mental techniques that can be learned from people who solo that can be applied to all forms of climbing. The reason I ask is because I feel like soloing involves a huge mental component.

Also, are there concepts given in the book that can be shown to be true by relating it to free soloing? For example, there is a thread that asks whether ego helps or hurts. (I have to admit I havent really read through that thread) As I stated earlier, I feel that the ego is only a hindrance and that soloing confirms this.


flowerchild


Sep 11, 2005, 6:09 AM
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To solo and think that it is only about climbing is extremely naive. You need to come to acceptance that the unpreventables are in fact part of soloing and to think that they arent is basically thinking that you are invincible.
It is simply my opinion and as I stated before, do what you want, you just wont see me doing it. I just want to make sure that soloers have come to acceptance with the risks.

There is a lot to be learned from the mental state of a successfull soloer. You would need to put ego, fear and doubt all aside. Accept, but dont fear all risks, or you would lose clear judgement and efficiency. It is like a state of complete clarity/meditation that I feel several of the best climbers in the world experience as well.


shanz


Sep 11, 2005, 6:59 AM
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im not for or against free soloing i have done a few free solo's though well bellow my skill level. But makes me think about how many of the great solo'ers dont deck from the harder routes but rather on the easier routes. my attitude is keep focused and be safe to climb another day


Partner robdotcalm


Sep 11, 2005, 8:08 AM
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I just got done reading the book. Definitely need to read it again in order to really absorb things.

What book are you writing about?
Cheers,
Rob.calm


haas


Sep 11, 2005, 8:26 AM
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I solo a lot in Boulder Canyon, Eldo, and the Flatirons and most of it is onsight. I like the freedom of movement and the ability to get up a thousand foot route in under an hour instead of 6 hours when you have to deal with belays. A lot of people object that see me do it, and make sly comments under their breath as I go by, but that's just it, you don't climb for them so screw em. If you are out there for any other reason than because you want to and you feel confident in your ability, then as they all say, you're in for big surprise. Even experienced soloists die, i.e. Derek Hersey. It's not a bragging right you go spewing to everyone "I soloed the 3rd flatiron!" (so has 30 other people that day). It's about the experience. If you don't solo, that's great, just don't go jumping down the throats of those who do. If you're skill/mental level isn't up to soloing a route, it doesn't mean someone elses isn't. I think Arno didn't mention much specifically in his book about soloing because of liability, and because if you solo a lot, you probably don't need much of his advice, you already are confident in your mental prowess. His book is very good, but try applying those tactics to roped routes first


Partner oldsalt


Sep 11, 2005, 8:52 AM
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Before climbing, I found myself once or twice in really bad situations where I froze. I have been in bad situations before where I could no nothing, but I probably would have frozen anyway. In one instance I got caught inside a 15' closeout set at Sandy Beach, Oahu. Result: a broken board for not reacting and paddling 20' to my right.

As a climber who has voluntarily faced the fear demon one time, I have been scared sh!tless on the rocks twice since. Once when finding myself offroute on a lead with a 20' traverse from a 5.10 to the expected 5.6, and again near the top of Table Rock with rain and lightning all around.

I didn't freeze and I was able to escape both situations safely. I believe that this was made possible by one midnight climb that I mention, but prefer not to discuss. I learned about myself and grew from the experience.

Free soloing can be seen as something you do alone and talk about with yourself. Others may feel differently.


Partner angry


Sep 11, 2005, 10:16 AM
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For the record, I am not a rock warrior, I've never read the book, I think self help books are junk, and if you don't have it mentally...then only you have what it takes to get it mentally.

I've recently free-soloes several routes. Some hard, some easy, blah, blah, blah. Here's the deal. It is all about trust, trust in your body, skills, and judgement. It doesn't do a whole lot for the lead head.

It's only soloing, don't freak out people. If you have to ask, you aren't ready.


g
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Sep 11, 2005, 11:49 AM
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Free soloing can be seen as something you do alone and talk about with yourself.
So... do you often talk to yourself?


Partner oldsalt


Sep 11, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Only when I solo. :lol:

Or try to come up with a witty retort. :wink:


glyrocks


Sep 11, 2005, 12:38 PM
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To solo and think that it is only about climbing is extremely naive. You need to come to acceptance that the unpreventables are in fact part of soloing and to think that they arent is basically thinking that you are invincible.

No, it isn't naive. Most of your thoughts on free soloing are naive as they are based on no practical or first hand experience. You don't solo, so you wouldn't really know if soloing is just about climbing or not.

Huh, trust me, I know all about unpreventables and soloing. Unpreventables are certainly a part of soloing. But not just soloing There are lots of situations were unpreventables are worse for a party rope-climbing rather than free-soloing. They can be worse for someone soloing, but not all the time.

Feeling invincible has absolutely nothing to do with it. At least it shouldn't. People who are good at soloing probably have a much clearer idea of their vulnerability than the weekend-warrior on a top-rope.

Regardless, I understand you don't want people getting hurt. Can't fault you for that. It is easy to get hurt soloing, but to think it's naive for me to think soloing is just about climbing is a little off base.


slcliffdiver


Sep 11, 2005, 2:46 PM
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I am wondering if there are mental techniques that can be learned from people who solo that can be applied to all forms of climbing. The reason I ask is because I feel like soloing involves a huge mental component.

I think soloing is a poor place to learn the process of focusing. If you a wired in a way that you somewhat automatically shift into high focus mode when you solo then what have you learned? If you aren't one of the tenants of learning a new skill is practice the skill where it is easier to learn the skill; bombproof the skill then apply gradually increasing stress to the skill. If you are going this route then it seems soloing would be the very last leg of the journey. I'm not blanketly against soloing and maybe there is some bleed over from people that already focus well when they solo to other aspects of life/climing. I just think it's a poor early or intermeadiate instructional tool for "learning the process" of focusing.

BTW I distinguish soloing from "fourth classing" soloing by my definition involves a climb that requires a significant amount of focus on the moves. If you could do the moves in your sleep if you where on a top rope then I consider that fourth classing and am not ruling this out as a training ground for learning to focus for the right people. I'm guessing it might be good for some people and horrible for others.


arnoilgner


Sep 11, 2005, 7:07 PM
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Hello climbnski. You question below.

"I am wondering if there are mental techniques that can be learned from people who solo that can be applied to all forms of climbing. The reason I ask is because I feel like soloing involves a huge mental component."

Yes, you can learn things from soloing that will help in other types of climbing. When I'm soloing, and I don't do too much of this anymore, I notice that my attention is heightened. It is heightened because the consequences are so grave. I pay particular attention to my breathing, my balance, how I'm grabbing holds (with just the right amount of pressure), where the rests are, how I commit into more difficult sections, and how pumped I am. In order to do everything possible NOT to push past the point of no return, I must monitor these things. I even practice downclimbing so I can reverse sequences if I get into something that I don't want to finish.

So, learning these skills in soloing definitely translates to runout trad climbing because although you aren't soloing you still don't want to fall if you are too runout. However, it also helps my sport climbing because I can monitor if I'm over-gripping or out of balance--all of which is energy wasting.

Why isn't soloing discussed more in the book? Well...it could have been, I guess, like using soloing stories to help get points across. But, there really isn't anything different in apply the warrior's way to soloing than to roped climbing. I know I'll get some disagreement on this, but this is what I mean:

When we are climbing we are constantly assessing where rests are, cruxes are, where pro is, etc. Once we know where the risk begins and where it ends the only thing we are left with is being absolutely complete in our commitment. The worst thing you can do is hesitate. Even if commitment in one particular section of a climb means simply climbing up three moves to check it out, then you must commit to those three moves, reassess, go on, or downclimb. To hesitate on the second move brings doubt, fear, and indecisiveness. Part of what keeps you in control soloing is total commitment to moves whether they be up or down.

Anyway, there it is...arno


dirtineye


Sep 11, 2005, 8:36 PM
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For those who think that there is nothing to learn from soloing, I would point out that bouldering and highball bouldering, especially when done onsight, definitely builds the ability to focus, to assess risk, and to commit-- because the penalty for failure is a short and abrupt meeting with the ground!

climbing unroped at height above 10 feet without a chalk trail or beta to follow demands the same RWW skills as trad climbing on new rock.

One point about hesitation I would add to what Arno said is that, when you hesitate in the middle of a move, you are burning your energy needlessly. If you are making a move that is best done by using momentum, when you hesitate, your momentum is lost. I've seen people make a half-effort three times, then fail to pull the move at all when they finally convince themselves to go all out, bacause thier energy was drained in the three half-attempts.

Wasting momentum or energy is a bad thing.

Please please please, RWW and Arno fans, and anyone else for that matter, NOTICE that Arno makes good mention of the fact that you may need to downclimb for various reasons. Do not neglect your downclimbing skills. WHen you know htat you can go down as well as you can go up, you have more options during your climb.

As Arno said, you can climb up to check out a sequence, them retreat to a rest, consider your plan, and then go forward refreshed. It is common in certain situations in trad climbing to move up or out under a roof), place gear, move back and rest, then climb on past the gear.

There is no shame in this, to the contrary, it is wise, and anyway, as long as you don't weight the rope, what's the big deal?


slcliffdiver


Sep 11, 2005, 11:00 PM
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For those who think that there is nothing to learn from soloing, I would point out that bouldering and highball bouldering, especially when done onsight, definitely builds the ability to focus, to assess risk, and to commit-- because the penalty for failure is a short and abrupt meeting with the ground!


I thing I'm the only person that said anything negative about soloing in terms of learning I think I should speak up. There is a diference between there not being anything to learn from something and an an activity being the best place to learn a new skill or improve on one that is lacking. Basically if you are having focusing problems on ground that only scares you mildly you should probably work those out before you move on to soloing. One because of the price you may pay if the focusing problems get exasterbated at the wrong time and two because of the learning axiom of bomb proof a skill add a little stress bombproof it at the new stress level before moving up another notch. Anyway as far as using soloing to learning about focus I just think soloing is most sanely applied after you've gotten your focus down a whole lot already and have a host of other skills to see you through.

I also have strong misgivings about recomending soloing to anyone for about any reasons. I just feel it's something best found out of a person commitment with as little outside influence as possible.


dirtineye


Sep 11, 2005, 11:31 PM
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What I meant was that bouldering up to ten feet high is a very mild form of free soloing, and it teaches some of the climbing principles we are discusing here very well.

That free soloing routes is not the way to begin the learning process should be clear.

There was at least one other person who felt that soloing had nothing to do with roped climbing.


maman


Sep 12, 2005, 12:32 AM
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Climbnski wrote:

Soloing is also the ultimate acceptance of responsibility.

What an absolutely asinine thing to say. What if you you have a family that loves you (say, more than you love your own sorry self). Is it "responsible" to hang your fool ass above the talus just so you can walk around feeling like a "warrior". Oooh, you big, tough warrior you. If you examine soloing to any degree beyond what a bad-ass it makes you feel like for a day or two before your poor self-esteem (hey, it goes hand in hand with free soloing) brings you crashing back to reality, you might discover that the true warrior's time would be better spent seeking a good therapist.

Remember, most good free-soloer's have either cratered, or are about to crater.


maman


Sep 12, 2005, 1:09 AM
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clmbnski wrote:

In reply to:
Soloing is also the ultimate acceptance of responsibility

What an absolutely asinine thing to say. What if you you have a family that loves you (say, more than you love your own sorry self). Is it "responsible" to hang your fool ass above the talus just so you can walk around feeling like a "warrior". Oooh, you big, tough warrior you. If you examine soloing to any degree beyond what a bad-ass it makes you feel like for a day or two before your poor self-esteem (hey, it goes hand in hand with free soloing) brings you crashing back to reality, you might discover that the true warrior's time would be better spent seeking a good therapist.

you also wrote:

In reply to:
Acknoledging that a fall will kill you and still continuing, represents a real dedication to your reasons for climbing.

Acknowledging that a fall will kill you and still continuing suggests that you don't place a very high value on your life. Most healthy people would question why they're putting their life at risk.

It's amazing how we ignore the many tragic lessons to be learned from all the soloist's who've cratered.


Partner oldsalt


Sep 12, 2005, 5:11 AM
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Acknowledging that a fall will kill you and still continuing suggests that you don't place a very high value on your life. Most healthy people would question why they're putting their life at risk.

What a foolish response. Life is more ... on the edge. Maybe there are no appropriate words to complete this phrase. It is to be experienced fully.

The essence of climbing goes beyond words. Soloing is just one aspect and certainly not for everyone. I don't recommend it, nor do I plan to do it again.


ajkclay


Sep 12, 2005, 5:48 AM
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There's always a lot of talk about considering the consequences of mishap before soloing and you take your life into your own hands or think about your family etc. etc... Because soloing is so dangerous.

What a load of tripe!

To those who do not solo and say these things, do you realise that you are stating the bleeding obvious just like those who do not climb and tell you how dangerous what you are doing is should you make a mistake?

The consequences for decking while soloing are the same as those for lead-climbing, top roping etc.

Errors occur in all forms of climbing, and people die in all forms.

When you solo you know and consider the risks just the same as when climbing in any other manner, why do people assume that soloists do not realise this or do it to boost their ego? Sure some may, but then there are those who do all other forms to boost egos. The occurrence rate of these individuals is probably very similar across the disciplines.

The mindset is not very different from leading, you don't spend every minute thinking about death, you generally climb within what you perceive to be your limits for the style in which you are climbing, the same as any other form. You tailor your method to suit your system. Example? It is rare for someone to rehearse Trad routes in the same way they do sport routes; climb + drop, climb + drop, climb + drop etc. without checking the placement until you have a route wired, it just would not make sense.

Your systems are different, you're not relying on a rope to save you, but the thought process is essentially the same, if it was not you would not be able to climb safely, or to your full capabilities because there would be so much more information being processed and the danger would be higher due to reduced mental capacity.

Let's stop pretending that soloing does not exist or that it is something that you should not discuss. On this site it's only ever discussed in hushed tones as if it is a crime.

The short answer: If you are a responsible climber the mindset is the same as any other form of climbing, you consider the risks, and then once your decision is made you climb accordingly, that's all.


oldrnotboldr


Sep 12, 2005, 7:27 AM
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If you are making a move that is best done by using momentum, when you hesitate, your momentum is lost. I've seen people make a half-effort three times, then fail to pull the move at all when they finally convince themselves to go all out, because their energy was drained in the three half-attempts.
This is so absolutely true. I turned my right arm, shoulder, and leg to hamburger once this way while on a lead climb.

I do free solo frequently for many of the reasons already stated (except for bragging rights). Soloing is a personal thing in mental ways as much if not more than physical ways. Again considering the word "solo", this has to be a personal decision and no way would I recommend it to anyone. As so many others have already pointed out, it is the ultimate commitment, physically and mentally.

With that said,, I usually solo stuff that is several grades below my abilities, just as I lead grades below what I can second, etc. etc. Who really cares that I can solo a 5.0. Solo climbing is not about grades, etc. As the the "solo" implies, and has been said before by fshizzel:
In reply to:
For the record, I am not a rock warrior, I've never read the book, I think self help books are junk, and if you don't have it mentally...then only you have what it takes to get it mentally.

I've recently free-solos several routes. Some hard, some easy, blah, blah, blah. Here's the deal. It is all about trust, trust in your body, skills, and judgment. It doesn't do a whole lot for the lead head.

It's only soloing, don't freak out people. If you have to ask, you aren't ready.

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