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slcliffdiver


Sep 12, 2005, 11:39 AM
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In reply to:
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.

Alot of what's below applies to other forms of climbing with me too an extent too but with soloing things for me were just often magnified by a rediculus amount.

Don't know about others but I prefer to discuss it in hushed tones because the couple of times I did it because of others peoples opinions I felt like crap. I equate soloing to being in love. Bragg to your friends even a little and it feels like you betrade something precious.

Your short answer about the mindset being the same as any other form of climbing really didn't hold true for me. It was a delicate powerful relationship the slightest hint of having the wrong motivation or speaking about it the wrong way had the potential to give a beautiful experience a very bitter taste and make me feel ashamed. It often seemed the that joy and shame were precariously balanced with soloing.

Anyway I don't assume the majority of people who are reticent to talk about it do so from the mindset of it being a crime. My ananolgy is more along the lines of not talking about the most precious tender moments you had while making love to someone you are in love with. My relationship with soloing was eiriely like being in love and totatly enthralled with a woman that more and more wanted me to do things I wasn't comfortble with. After a while the feeling that propeled me to solo felt almost exactly like I was being seduced by a unbeivably hot woman that I was also in love with (minus the boner).

While this might sound appealing to some people remember soloing doesn't love you back. Being in love can be fun but it can also be a destructive force. In the end I had to let her go for my own survival.

I just reread what you wrote about if "you are a reasponsible climber". I'm not going to disagree with you I just think it can be a very difficult proposition to always be resposible about something you are passionate about. Especially when you are young. Sometimes with the benifit of a few years and some experience you realize what you thought was reasonable at the time was probably amazingly stupid.

Don't be surprised if I erase this whole post sometime soon.


Partner oldsalt


Sep 12, 2005, 12:09 PM
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David,

I hope you leave the post - it is rich and valuable to those who read it seriously.

Just referring to my own ... experience feels wrong. I get a sense that Karma plays a role. Talking about the solo experience is somehow wrong Karmically. Encouraging others to do it is even more wrong. Chastising others for doing it is inappropriate and unwelcome.


flowerchild


Sep 12, 2005, 1:20 PM
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[quoteTo 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?]

It's Completely different, risk is way way higher with soloing. Other people stating that climbing is super dangerous is uneducated. It is dangerous but there is protection to lower risk. Soloing there is no protection. Why do I need to be an experienced soloer to comment on the fact that it is dangerous, when it is.

I may have the opinion that soloing is "crazy", however I would never look down upon someone who solos. In fact I see them as being in a completely different headspace then myself. To each their own. Just because my opinion is different doesnt mean that soloers need to be defensive about their beliefs. Be proud of them. I share the same view of I'd rather die climbing then in a car accident/cancer or somthing. Keep it up and I will keep reading about all of your crazy solo sends in climbing mag's.


Partner angry


Sep 12, 2005, 3:43 PM
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In reply to:
I would never look down upon someone who solos.

Clearly


clmbnski


Sep 12, 2005, 7:51 PM
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Thanks for the reply arno. I can see how the mental concepts would be the same for all types of climbing, but I still think there is more to it.

On the other hand, since soloists generally do not push them selves (and for good reason) roped climbers probably have better mental strategies for dealing with routes at their limit.

I think the best thing I have learned from people who solo, and personal experience, is risk assessment. Climbing is all about risk management. Everyone has a different level of risk they find acceptable (for a variety of reasons) and when you go climbing you manage the risk of the climb down to your level. The two main ways this is done is by using consequence mitigation equipment or by simply becoming a better climber (training, experience on other climbs). Becoming a better climber is in general more work than just learning how use some type of equipment and that is why people focus on climbing risk in terms of gear. I think this leads to overdependence on gear, but that is a different story.

Flowerchild: " you use protection to lower the risk."

This is true, but soloing is also about lowering the risk to an acceptable level. However instead of using equipment you rely on your abilities.

Back to what I was saying earlier about risk assessment, I have learned that gear is not always going to save me in every situation. I think I now more clearly assess what is actually risky and what isn't. Im not saying that you need to solo to learn this, just that it is something that I have learned from people who do solo.

Chris


ajkclay


Sep 13, 2005, 9:54 AM
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In reply to:
Other people stating that climbing is super dangerous is uneducated...
...Why do I need to be an experienced soloer to comment on the fact that it is dangerous, when it is.

Can you not see that you are making the same error? To be inexperienced in this field is ultimately to be uneducated. You have contradicted yourself.

To those who do not climb there appears to be no protection because they do not understand all of the considerations and systems used.

To those who do not solo and criticise it for being unsafe, soloing appears to be dangerous because they do not understand the considerations and systems used by the soloist.

In reply to:
Soloing there is no protection.

This assumes that the only protection is what you can buy at a climbing shop. As a soloist you are using the best form of protection there is: Your brain. End of story, no correspondence to be entered into.

It's always assumed that soloists do it because they are nuts, want to brag, or just don't understand the risks. If you talk about your climbing is it bragging? Yes, sometimes, as with anything, it's the motivation behind the talking that determines whether or not it's bragging, not the subject.

Finally, at what grade does soloing become dangerous and irresponsible? Is it on a grade 2 (Ewbank) or grade 5.0 (Yosemite) approach/descent route? Or is it 5.1? Grade 10? 5.5?

Cheers

Adam


glyrocks


Sep 13, 2005, 10:15 AM
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In reply to:
To those who do not solo and criticise it for being unsafe, soloing appears to be dangerous because they do not understand the considerations and systems used by the soloist.

In reply to:
Soloing there is no protection.

This assumes that the only protection is what you can buy at a climbing shop. As a soloist you are using the best form of protection there is: Your brain. End of story, no correspondence to be entered into.

Damn straight.


golsen


Sep 13, 2005, 11:22 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
To those who do not solo and criticise it for being unsafe, soloing appears to be dangerous because they do not understand the considerations and systems used by the soloist.

In reply to:
Soloing there is no protection.

This assumes that the only protection is what you can buy at a climbing shop. As a soloist you are using the best form of protection there is: Your brain. End of story, no correspondence to be entered into.

Damn straight.

There is no greater protection for a climber or mountaineer than NOT FALLING. Sometimes we screw up and fall, typically this happens closer to our limit. Think about many of the great acheivements in climbing (not Sport or Bouldering for all out technical difficulty) and you will find that the ability to keep it together and move over rock or ice with a minimum amount of protection is a skill that was required.

Free soloing is dangerous, I have known a couple people personally who cratered on routes I soloed, luckily they lived despite very serious injuries, and both of them even climbed very hard after recovery.

It will always be a part of our sport as it distills things down to their simplest form, like bouldering highballs. Not always is the best judgement used and that is a mistake. Here is an example of perhaps not the best judgement back in the day....
http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/listArea.php?AreaID=1978
Check out "Stone they Rejected", FA - on-site solo...This is not the best judgement but the guy pulled it off and made it, so who has the right to say that was stupid? Climbing by its very nature is a dangerous stupid and selfish activity, but those of us that comitted large chunks of our lives doing it, get something out if it that we dont get doing many other activities and makes our spirit soar (on a good day)...Just make sure that if you do solo, it is one of those good days.


arete


Sep 13, 2005, 12:23 PM
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"you can't prevent the unpreventables... rock fall, bee stings, holds breaking, etc..."

A silly argument IMO. Consider an analogy. Probably everyone on this site drives. You can't prevent the unpreventable... drunk drivers, blowouts, a deer in the road, etc...

So should we give up driving? After all, I have known more people who were injured or killed in auto accidents and other mishaps than soloing/climbing. In fact I have personally known may climbers who solo and can't think of a single one (who I've know personally -- please don't reply with a list) who died soloing.

Its true that climbing is a recreational choice and driving is not for most people, but you can't control the unpreventable in ANY aspect of your life. With soloing, I try to reduce the risk -- I stay within my limit, I don't solo knob climbs since knobs have the unfortunate tendancy to break, and during lightning storms I tend to solo sixpack instead. Living is dangerous -- THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS! But don't give up living.


wayfollower


Sep 23, 2005, 6:47 AM
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Ive found soloing is not something you think too much about. seems to me that if your doing it correctly it just happens and you feel safe and liberated during the climb. It feels like your just above the ground, bouldering even, even if your 50ft up. ive never used any of the techniques from the book when soloing becasue they dont apply! its a different ball game. there should be no fear to deal with as far as im concerned! if there is your probably in trouble lol.


dirtineye


Sep 24, 2005, 11:46 AM
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In reply to:
Ive found soloing is not something you think too much about. seems to me that if your doing it correctly it just happens and you feel safe and liberated during the climb. It feels like your just above the ground, bouldering even, even if your 50ft up. ive never used any of the techniques from the book when soloing becasue they dont apply! its a different ball game. there should be no fear to deal with as far as im concerned! if there is your probably in trouble lol.

that's an intersting opinion, but I think if you were climbing on rock you knew nothign about, the RWW stuff would be very useful. Actually I don't just think that, I know it.


wayfollower


Sep 30, 2005, 2:57 PM
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i guess your right - breathing is important when soloing, being concious of your breathing. risk assessment part kindof falls apart though. I thought a big part of the rock warriors way was seperating fear that was in the mind but not really there ie freaking out above gear from real risks ie hitting the ground because you hav no rope or gear lol - just wondering what techniques you apply to onsight soloing?


Partner angry


Sep 30, 2005, 3:00 PM
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Soloing!!!!111 Holy Shit are you guys insane I think soloing is crazy and you should never do it and I don't care if you like adrenilin and you want to die you might make a mess when you splat I watched a movie and a guy soloed and fell and had to catch himself it was so scary.


crimpandgo


Sep 30, 2005, 3:27 PM
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In reply to:
"you can't prevent the unpreventables... rock fall, bee stings, holds breaking, etc..."

A silly argument IMO. Consider an analogy. Probably everyone on this site drives. You can't prevent the unpreventable... drunk drivers, blowouts, a deer in the road, etc...

So should we give up driving? After all, I have known more people who were injured or killed in auto accidents and other mishaps than soloing/climbing. In fact I have personally known may climbers who solo and can't think of a single one (who I've know personally -- please don't reply with a list) who died soloing.

Its true that climbing is a recreational choice and driving is not for most people, but you can't control the unpreventable in ANY aspect of your life. With soloing, I try to reduce the risk -- I stay within my limit, I don't solo knob climbs since knobs have the unfortunate tendancy to break, and during lightning storms I tend to solo sixpack instead. Living is dangerous -- THERE ARE NO SURVIVORS! But don't give up living.

This is an absolutely rediculous arguement. Driving a car even when involved in an accident is far less likely to cause serious injury than a fall while free-soloing.

If you are going to use an analogy, please compare apples to apples.

The simple fact is free soloing is dangerous. Far more dangerous than other forms of climbing. The consequences must be understood before you decide to take on the task.

If you are alone in life, you can climb for yourself and the consequences of your actions can be your own.

If there are others in your life (wife, kids, family members) then get over yourselves. You do affect others in your life and they do have a right to call you selfish for your choices. If you ignore their opinions, that is your god given right. But, please stop lecturing them about your rights to care about someone they love.


rufusandcompany


Sep 30, 2005, 6:50 PM
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I don't know how many of these posts actually come from personal experience and how many are just theory, but I think I can tell from some of the comments who has any real experience with soloing.

I free soloed long routes in Eldorado Canyon almost everyday for a year, during the mid nineties, and the answer is simple. Don't even attempt the activity if you are doing it for anything other than personal reasons. Accountability is one hundred percent insured by gravity, and you will pay the consequences if you screw up. If you are soloing for anything other than person fulfillment and/or enlightenment, then the joke will be on you when you fall.

I guarantee that every person who free solos on a regular basis knows this. I can also assure you that you don't need to ask questions about how and why to solo. Anyone who is seriously contemplating free soloing will know when and if they are ready to actually do it. It is that simple, which is probably why your book doesn't talk much about it.

Climbing on a rope is about managing risks, with a relative margin for error. Free soloing is about looking deep down in side and accepting that there is no margin for error, and then taking complete responsibility for your survival. It is a no-bullshit activity, and not one for the weak in mind, skill, and spirit.

KC


arostecrux


Sep 30, 2005, 8:35 PM
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while the previous post just about nails it on the head, for me, soloing is a way to tap my skills, built up over years of training and practice. Climbing can totally consume your life and most hardcore climbers have dedicated their life to this pursuit. Soloing is way to act with consequences, using judgement that you have perfected over countless times using protection. Once a base within yourself of confidence and sound judgement, understanding your own limitations and strengths, and of course intimately aware of the nature of the rock you intend to climb -- that is when the door to soloing should open. For me, it was a natural evolution, now stress, etc.

I agree - stress / showmanship / competition -- these are things that will kill you fools. When you are ready, you are ready. If you aren't, you never tried or you died. Simple. Have fun out there.

PS - Soloing is best done alone, by oneself, without the eyes, minds, thoughts, fears of others penetrating your space.


moose_droppings


Sep 30, 2005, 9:47 PM
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Maman said:
In reply to:
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,

Free soloing has nothing to do with your self esteem or your ego. Its all about knowing your abilities and skills, self confidence in these. The risks are'nt there. You don't see people soloing routes they don't think they can handle, they've already sized it up in there mind, visulized a way up, and, or back down if need be. Is it a 100%, no, but then neither is roped climbing.
The is no ego in it, just self confident. If its a false confidence, then your gonna die. Ego is false confidence.


arnoilgner


Oct 3, 2005, 8:47 AM
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A few things to think about.

We all tend to judge something without knowing that something. The book is bad because we don't like the cover or because of what someone else said about it. If we choose to criticize, do the work to find out the truth. In this case, solo or be quiet.

We tend to object to situations or experiences that we fear. Is soloing crazy or are we just afraid of it? This view has nothing to do with US engaging the activity ourselves. It is simply a willingness to look inside ourselves for why WE are resistant to someone else doing something like soloing.


dingus


Oct 3, 2005, 9:27 AM
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A couple of comments piqued my interest.

In reply to:
Free soloing has nothing to do with your self esteem or your ego. Its all about knowing your abilities and skills, self confidence in these. The risks are'nt there. You don't see people soloing routes they don't think they can handle, they've already sized it up in there mind, visulized a way up, and, or back down if need be. Is it a 100%, no, but then neither is roped climbing.
The is no ego in it, just self confident. If its a false confidence, then your gonna die. Ego is false confidence.

Sounds good reading it aloud. But I don't think the egoless climber exists. There are all sorts of reasons to talk yourself into going up alone with no pro. One or two of them MIGHT even be valid at times, hehe.

In reply to:
Don't even attempt the activity if you are doing it for anything other than personal reasons. If you are soloing for anything other than person fulfillment and/or enlightenment, then the joke will be on you when you fall.

I guarantee that every person who free solos on a regular basis knows this. I can also assure you that you don't need to ask questions about how and why to solo. Anyone who is seriously contemplating free soloing will know when and if they are ready to actually do it. It is that simple, which is probably why your book doesn't talk much about it.

I remember hearing Peter Croft say the same thing... and I wonder if augering in from a show-off venture is any worse a joke than augering in from some pure anti-ego state of mental balance.

But I understand the point. From a punter's perspective (mine, that is)...

You've allowed your partner's enthusiasm for the route and your budding ability to cloud your normally conservative judgement.... you are hiking 8 miles into the back country, up and over a major alpine ridge, just to get to the base of your climb. You aren't taking bivi gear. You aren't taking much of anything in fact, lunch, chalk bag, shoes, headlamp, water. The rope stays in the car.

500 feet up your route you come to a moment of decision... the moves above you are beyond your tolerance, you're in over your head.

You can't lie to yourself right now, the slightest slip will result in a tumbling, fatal bowl into the talus. You have two choices, equally unappealing...

1. Climb up.
2. Climb down.

That's it, the binary decision of free soloing.

Now you know THE TRUTH. This is it. Take all that bullshit about ego and stick it in your back pocket, cause thinking about it now will get you killed.

Half of you, maybe more than half, says you should go down. But ohmygod, that is not only running away, its running away to far more work. It is the easier path, physically speaking, to keep going up. It is the correct path too, and you know it.

But you're scared. Its under your skin now and you're going to have to take a bath in it before its done.

And your partner?

She's already disappeared out of sight above anyway. She doesn't like watching you free solo. She can't help you anyway, she reasons. So watching you is a special kind of torture that is reserved for those with their feet on terra firma or a good knot tied to their harness.

She's gone, that's what she is.

And you're all alone. 500 feet up, facing an uncertain move, struggling with yourself, continue or retreat, continue or retreat, continue or retreat.

What is the correct decision? I'm afraid its strictly outcome based at this point... the proof is only to be found in the pudding. What does the ego say about this?

I'd say most every free soloist has been in this spot at least once, and I'd guess some of them have been in this spot frequently.

Walking on the moon. I did the move and finished the route.

DMT

ps. My ego is glad I stuck it out but the parent in me was horrified.


asandh


Oct 3, 2005, 10:30 AM
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:)


rufusandcompany


Oct 3, 2005, 11:41 AM
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In reply to:
A few things to think about.

do the work to find out the truth. In this case, solo or be quiet.

Without malice, I think this statement speaks directly to many of the posts in this thread. Just like feeling that you have a sense for what walking on the Moon much feel like, because you watched it on televison, It sounds as though most of these comments come from imagination. There is no way to understand what a free soloist feels and thinks about the pursuit, until you have been in the same situation.


alpinerock


Oct 3, 2005, 8:38 PM
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Soloing is perfection, there is nothing really to learn from it, it is completly different from roped climbing mentally. Your life is completely black and white, you live completly in the present.


alpnclmbr1


Oct 3, 2005, 8:57 PM
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In reply to:
Soloing is perfection, there is nothing really to learn from it, it is completly different from roped climbing mentally.

If you're roped climbing without a soloing type mentality. Then you're sport climbing and the use of gear is beside the point


lazyjammin


Oct 3, 2005, 9:05 PM
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Why do people care if others solo, it is their life to spend as they see fit?
There are many good reasons to solo if one can accept the risk:
speed, unrestricted movement (flow), the feeling

If you are confident you can climb the route and something happens be it a mistake, a slip or foot popping, or a pure accident, a rock hits you, the same thing can happen while driving, a mistake or an accident that isnt your fault can take your life just as quick.

Is anyone whether they read a book or not, whether they have done the route before or not, if they think they are prepared or are unsure, are they really prepared to solo unless they have done it before? No. Then it doesnt really matter what they read or think about it, maybe one persons reasons are different than anothers, does that mean that they are less prepared or able to handle it than you because you have a different view?


chrispencc


Oct 3, 2005, 9:46 PM
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People care if others free solo because climbing related deaths can be a huge hinderance to access to crags. Non-Climbers dont know the difference between different types of climbing, it all the same.

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