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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 49
Author
Hardest Oz Solos?
James
11/05/2004
9:45:06 AM
apparently Huber climbed the thing in the Dolomites to make sure there weren't loose holds (being crumbly limestone & all...).

readign interviews with Peter Croft is interesting, he never solos anything he can't downclimb, & he downclimbs stuff to "warm up".

I don't think I'd ever solo anything on rock (except scrambly downclimbs), but soloing stuff in the mountains is a prerequisite. But the mountains are different, its more dangerous to be on a route longer than is necessary, so soloing to get out of the danger zone is safer than spending 5 times as long pitching the same section. I've never felt so alive / exhilarated / aware of my surroundings than when 500m up a 70degree ice slope with nothing but 6 little metal points holding on....

FatBoy
11/05/2004
11:26:36 AM
I used to do a lot of soloing - you could easily tick over 20 routes in a day that way - but nothing especially hard - I think Pilot Error was probably as "difficult" as it came. 'twas never scary though, your focus is so much greater that your risk can be lower than when leading or (especially) scrambling.

How many soloing deaths have there been in Victoria versus leading/scrambling/abseiling deaths ? The mind is so much more switched on. I'm not saying it's safe, but there's so many other parts of climbing that aren't completely safe you'd be naive to isolate soloing.

Having said that, Dave Jones was going to go and solo Spasm (25) once, decided at the last moment he would lead it instead just to make sure and fell from the crux. Lucky boy.

Camos
12/05/2004
5:51:22 PM
On 12/05/2004 WM wrote:
>The argument 'for' has been aired more than the argument 'against' .....
>does anyone have comments against soloing?
>
>Maybe something like:
>
>Driving without a seatbelt is stupid, crossing the road instead of using
>a footbridge is stupid, climbing without a rope/helmet is stupid. All
>going well, you'll achieve the same end result - do you want to do it in
>a safer way, or in a more dangerous way?
>

By that logic climbing up a cliff when you can walk up is "stupid", climbing on pro if you can use bolts is stupid -it's a difficult line of argument to push

>Another way to put it: is there really enough "return" in soloing to justify
>the extra risk? The suggestions have been adrenalin, "feeling more alive"
>and speed .... is that really enough to justify it?
>
Subjective. This is not economics where we could quantify outlay, risk and return

>The "return" on the risks that go with roped (& helmeted!) climbing is
>that you get to climb some awesome bits of rock. Soloing just gets you
>up the same bit of rock!
>

Subjective

>>How many soloing deaths have there been in Victoria versus leading/scrambling/abseiling
>deaths ?
>
>Dunno, but this is a misleading way to ask the question! More people
>die driving than soloing, so is soloing safer?! You need to allow for
>the quantity of each activity - leading/scrambling/abseiling gets done
>a *lot* more than soloing. That said, I'd be very interested if anyone
>could dig up some "fatalities per 1000 hours" -type stats for each activity.
> If they exist, which I doubt.

Again, subjective
>
>> you'd be naive to isolate soloing.
>
>It could very easily be said you'd be naive not to! (sorry Fatboy, not
>picking on you in particular!!)

following that line you would be naive not to isolate climbing from bushwalking
>
>Anyone willing to help me out here or am I stranded in a world of soloers??

The safest thing is to stay tucked up in bed, under the doona with soup and toast 24/7 -but in the end it's still gonna getcha

There's my 2c, not worth much

nmonteith
12/05/2004
6:08:23 PM
In some ways soloing can be safer as you try 100% to get to the top (or back down again) alive. When leading (even with helmets!) you still occasionally give up and slump on the rope. By trusting your gear you have suddenly introduced many un-controllable factors. What is the gear fails? the rope gets cut on an edge? your belayer is asleep? All these factors are beyond your direct control and can brign certain death. With soloing the only thing you need to worry about is if you can hang onto the holds enough not to fall off (or the rock breaks).
dalai
13/05/2004
9:33:55 AM
On 12/05/2004 WM wrote:
>>By that logic climbing up a cliff when you can walk up is "stupid"
>
>no.
>climbing is not about "summiting" (for me) - its about the physical/gymnastic/whatever
>challenge of travelling up that bit of rock - walking simply does not achieve
>the same result.
>

Will, Rudy's comments were trying to point how subjective your view is. There is always a potentially less risky alternative. Soloing is deemed by you (subjective) as being more dangerous than roped climbing. Others including myself see it as in fact safer in the right circumstances!

If your argument that more risk = greater stupidity - driving to the fire lookout at Arapiles (except those tight blind corners where I know at least one car has been rolled) would be viewed by the majority as safer than climbing up the front. To the general public climbing up the walls is stupid!

Your reply to Rudy discrediting walking versus climbing can be used by those that solo versus roped climbing "challenge of travelling up that bit of rock - walking (replace with 'roped climbing') simply does not achieve the same result."

Don't recommend soloing to everyone, but is a unique and gratifying form of climbing when done for the right reasons.

Damietta
13/05/2004
10:21:07 AM
Will, chill out, Jus be Kool and de gang eh? Lest Damos has to regulate. Dang!


Hawkman
13/05/2004
11:01:13 AM
by all means solo just dont do it with your friends around. otherwise they have to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong.

Damietta
13/05/2004
11:42:12 AM
For me, I can't solo any more. I fell off while soloing in my late teens and that was the end of it. Once you've expereinced that sinking feeling of a foot slipping off about 7-8m above the deck something changes. Since then I can't shake the 'what if' feeling that Tasch refers to, particularly about a foot slipping or a hold breaking.

In principle though I have never sought to pass judgement on the endeavour or those who continue to do it. I watch in awe the likes of John Bachar, Peter Croft, Dan Osman (watched him), Dave Jones. Alex Huber, Dean Potter, Hans Florine and Steve Schneider. I compare them with the likes of Dave Rastovich, Steve Cabhrina (Big wave free sufers) and Scott Schmitt (extreme free skier). All are highly skilled master practitioners of their respective trades.

adski
13/05/2004
12:24:53 PM
On 12/05/2004 WM wrote:
>The argument 'for' has been aired more than the argument 'against' .....
>does anyone have comments against soloing?


"There are two ways to become an ex-soloist.
I chose to quit."

- source unknown

Wormz
13/05/2004
3:05:47 PM
On 13/05/2004 adski wrote:
>"There are two ways to become an ex-soloist.
>I chose to quit."
>
>- source unknown

Nice, and true.

As Damietta spoke of, there are people doing equally dangerous things, Big Wave surfing, Base jumping, Extreme Skiing, which all push that boundry of what is accepted by the average person as safe (within reason), and we all know and can say that people should do things for the right reasons, so perhaps the most important factor to look at is how people get influenced by it. I know if I really want something, I'm going to go for it, fully responsible for my actions and having realised my motives, I just hope everyone else putting themselves on the 'sharp end' thinks the same, because it's a powerful and wonderful thing to have such choice. Though in reality there are people who do go out and do things as a result of idolising someone, or for 'image', unable to fully understand the choises they're making and why. I guess it comes down to whether or not the soloists and extremest should should stop or not for the sake of the more influentiable. I say not, but that's just me.

P.S. Is this off topic for Hardest Oz Solos??? :)

IdratherbeclimbingM9
26/05/2004
9:30:21 AM
Remdan re
>ethicx of soloing
(Interesting typo when I paraphrased the point, so I left it in)!
What I scramble up to access some climbs, others consider to be soloing.
For me its just access, but I believe that its still dangerous and potentialy more so than the 'proper stuff' if you know what I mean, due to the mind not necessarily being fully engaged at that point.

Having said that the 'ethics/issue' for me (roped soloing), I would count as outright selfishness on my part.
I recently stressed my wife considerably further than any expectations I had from undertaking a roped solo. I am perturbed by this and am modifying how I solo accordingly out of concern for her. I intend to have better backup options (should they be required) in future.

WM
>weigh it up / 'returns'
True you access some awsome rock which you could also access otherwise, BUT you do it by yourself, and that is the whole point / challenge or whatever.

For me it is the mental challenge rather than the physical.
I have / & do weigh it up (every time/often ongoing) and that is why I choose to rope-solo.
Sometimes I go out all prepared to solo and come home having just sat and looked instead. Other times I push through the mental barriers to complete the climb. It has also happened that I changed my mind half up the thing ...
Evolution ongoing ... every move counts and is weighed beforehand ...
Recently I scared myself spitless by inadvertantly 'soloing' (of sorts as it certainly felt like it), something I never intended to solo on that occasion. It was a climb I have roped solod before (=over-confidence?) and was with a partner this time and ran it out; ... got pumped and was looking at a 15m ledgefall above an abyss with a newbie, who was/is VERY cautious re heights and VERY reliant on me for safety. In retrospect it was absurd, and I have learnt much from the experience.

I do not expect 'enlightenment' or 'high value return for effort' on solos. I know its just a bit of rock and others will climb it in better or worse style, whether I am alive to appreciate it or not.
I do it for myself -> Selfishness indeed!

WM (again) re
>not summiting.
I agree.
I do however find the summit a mentally fulfilling experience, so prefer to top-out where possible.


Tasch re
>tragic and pointless
I agree.
In fact the older I get the more I marvel at (and value) life.
In my (soloing) case I do not intend to suffer hurt or death and thereby affect others, but instead try to experience the mental aspects of soloing in a safer way.

Re adam k
>disclaimer
You are right.
>personally worthwhile?
I don't know, however I am enjoying the process of finding out, ... I have the gut feeling that ALL climbing is nonsense though! ... (but fun while it lasts).

Oh yeah (another point), I would be a liar if I did not acknowledge my ego somewhere in there.
It is definitely a factor, but one I believe I have under control.
It only really counts to me inasmuch as someone else may appreciate the/my experience for what its worth and resonate / empathy with it.

FatBoy
26/05/2004
11:57:16 AM
Sorry, have been out of the loop for a while ...

On 12/05/2004 WM wrote:
>All going well, you'll achieve the same end result - do you want to do it in
>a safer way, or in a more dangerous way?
It's NOT the same end result though in the same way as driving to the top is not the same as climbing. Same route perhaps, but that's where it ends ... By your theory, should we all just top-rope everything (where TR's are possible) because that's safer than leading - and gets us up the same bit of rock ? Good luck trying to convince the climbing community of that one ...

>Another way to put it: is there really enough "return" in soloing to justify
>the extra risk? The suggestions have been adrenalin, "feeling more alive"
>and speed .... is that really enough to justify it?
For me, yes, there was enough return. Never about adrenalin though, just about the freedom to climb a whole lot (and independently, too) in a day.

>The "return" on the risks that go with roped (& helmeted!) climbing is
>that you get to climb some awesome bits of rock. Soloing just gets you
>up the same bit of rock!
In a different way though. See first comment, you've missed the point.

>>How many soloing deaths have there been in Victoria versus leading/scrambling/abseiling deaths ?
>Dunno, but this is a misleading way to ask the question! More people
>die driving than soloing, so is soloing safer?! You need to allow for
>the quantity of each activity - leading/scrambling/abseiling gets done
>a *lot* more than soloing. That said, I'd be very interested if anyone
>could dig up some "fatalities per 1000 hours" -type stats for each activity.
> If they exist, which I doubt.
That's partially true, however, I think you'd be astounded at the amount of soloing that goes on. From your intonation, you imply that it's a microscopic proportion of total climbs done. However that's not true. Personally, of the 400 or so routes I did (past tense: not allowed to climb anymore) at Araps for example, some 80 were solos. The reality is that you just don't see most of the soloing that goes on because most people who do so, would rather do it out of the climbing public's eye. You can climb A LOT MORE routes in a day by soloing (~ 5-10 times as many)

>Anyone willing to help me out here or am I stranded in a world of soloers??
No-one's got a gun to your head.
... but if you said to me that I wasn't allowed to solo a route, I'd ignore you and piss off and do it anyway.

Neil summed up my "safety" point well in his comment when he said that you are more likely to give up when leading and bring in other factors. There's a mental alertness when soloing that can't be replicated on lead.

And let's face it, if you take a fall on Tiptoe Ridge you're in big trouble regardless of whether you're leading or soloing.

Anyway, back on the point, what is the hardest OZ solo ? Assuming "Spermies" doesn't count, has there been anything harder than Saxon's solo of "Ain't No Sunshine" ?
dodgy
26/05/2004
5:16:54 PM
I try to explain what I get from climbing to non-climbers by talking about the sense that whilst climbing there is nothing else in the world but the next move to the next hold.

When soloing that feeling is amplified to a huge degree, even at 50-80% of what you might lead.

I don't know that asking what the 'hardest' solo is fits. I think it's an individual thing, and unlike leading you wont get people trying to outdo each other, or even find climbers with a 'ticklist'. I think the performance of a soloist is probably calculated by looking at what they can lead, and how close the solo is to that.
For this reason John Bachar has to be the man. He hardly ever climbs with ropes, and at 50+ years of age he still solos 5.12+++

The hardest solo in Australia?

It was the last one YOU did, wasn't it...

IdratherbeclimbingM9
26/05/2004
5:50:30 PM
Well put dodgy.
>I try to explain what I get from climbing to non-climbers by talking about the sense >that whilst climbing there is nothing else in the world but the next move to the next hold.
>amplified

For me the inner sense of control is directly linked to this singularity of purpose, ... coupled with the achievment of overcoming the 'what ifs'.

It causes the adrenaline to flow sometimes, but only when I am on the edge of departing my comfort zone, and after the contemplation (or stress?) everything else in life has a new perspective. I like the return to basics. It really does magnify the difference between life affirming actions and the negative sillynesses in ones life.
... Trouble is, the feeling is ephemeral and does not last with any great intensity for my preferred time period.
dalai
10/09/2004
11:31:55 AM

Short video of Hubers solo of Kommunist grade 32 at Schleier Wasserfall

http://www.huberbuam.de/video/kommunist.wav 5.6MB
gfdonc
10/09/2004
11:47:13 AM
This is written up in one of the UK climbing mags, front cover. Saw it at the newsagent in Errol St North Melb earlier in the week. 32! Whew.

Rock Weasel
10/09/2004
4:06:50 PM
I have soloed once, and will never do it again. I agree with remarks about approach routes/scrambles being quite dangerous. I have roped up on a grade 6 scramble, and would do so again. I believe that you can never be sure that you will not fall whilst climbing, no matter the level of difficulty. Holds break, the weather can become a problem, rockfall can knock you off or you can pop a tendon. If you solo, you need to accept that if you do it often enough, one day something will go wrong and you will die. So perhaps it ought to be indulged in occasionally, and like others have said, at the right time and for the right reasons. For me, there is never a right time and reason, but that need not be the case for others.

Paulie
10/09/2004
9:59:58 PM
Heaps of Grit stuff over here gets soloed simply because there's no gear worth mentioning anyway...

Tho SB is only 8 mtrs I still wouldn't want to fall off!! That's a long way in anyone's book.

I think soling the hardest of the grades is not neccesarily the proving point of the climber...I would be way more impressed to hear of someone soloing something like Hard Rain.


Breezy
17/09/2004
10:37:50 AM
- - "Anyway, back on the point, what is the hardest OZ solo ? Assuming "Spermies" doesn't count, has there been anything harder than Saxon's solo of "Ain't No Sunshine" ? - -

Err, quick question, how can you say that soloing Spermies doesnt count when 99% of people will do it clipping all the bolts ?

It is a ROUTE people not a boulder problem. Thats why itrs graded 31 not v9.

Alpha Leather is approximately the same height as Spermies, anyone gonna say Aplha isnt a route ?

........

mousey
17/09/2004
6:49:09 PM
well iwouldnt be surprised with all the controversy around it in the past, but thats nothing to do with height

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