March 12, 2014

"I was just like: I'm ready. I'm sick of hanging around on ropes. It went from being sort of like an intimidating idea to just being like: I'm kind of excited to do this."

)

I said "no, no, no!" throughout this video except at one point when I paused to say: "I guess he felt truly alive."

63 comments:

David said...

I like golf.

Mulligans.

ricpic said...

On March 10th six of Obama's sons broke into a house in Madison and sexually assaulted a six month pregnant woman. But I see this horrific and significant event didn't make the cut at Althouse. Interesting.

David said...

Maybe because of horseshit comments like yours, rp.

"Obama's sons??!!"

Fuck you.

mccullough said...

This looks like something you should start doing before you're 12 years old.

tim maguire said...

"I guess he felt truly alive."

Until, quite suddenly, he wasn't.

KLDAVIS said...

This one is pretty nauseating.

madAsHell said...

No helmet, either.

Did this guy fail physics??

I'm guessing that David fails to understand the origin of "Obama's son".

Oso Negro said...

The climbing community, on average, is half a bubble off dead center on its better days. The free climbers are a full bubble off.

David said...

I understand the origin. I don't think it makes rp's comment any less obnoxious.

Just my opinion, or course. You are entitled to yours.

David said...

No helmet, either.

Did this guy fail physics??


No, he understands physics and concluded that the helmet was irrelevant to his safety.

Seems he also understands advertising and pr.

Mini Mongo said...

If you enjoyed this clip you might enjoy 20 Seconds of Joy .

William said...

Old joke: What's the last thing to pass through the mind of a mosquito when it hits the windshield? Its ass.

William said...

I feel most alive when I'm near the heavy smell of gas.

The Drill SGT said...

"No, he understands physics and concluded that the helmet was irrelevant to his safety."

The helmet is to shed debris falling from above of course rather than shielding you at the 120 mph terminal velocity as you plunge to your death after getting hit by a small rock...

The Drill SGT said...

No true Mericans climb those beaner hills. They free climb El Capitan or Half Dome...

The Crack Emcee said...

ricpic said...
On March 10th six of Obama's sons broke into a house in Madison and sexually assaulted a six month pregnant woman. But I see this horrific and significant event didn't make the cut at Althouse. Interesting.


Gee, I wonder where they learned that kind of behavior from? (Looks at my own lighter-than-it-should-be skin) Never mind,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Plus, that's in the past now, ricpic.

We need to look to the future and move on,...

David said...

Thank you Drill for the helmut lesson. I clearly revealed how far I stay away from the sides of cliffs.

The Drill SGT said...

YW Dave

Birkel said...

Let's all agree gang-raping a woman (or a man) is a very bad thing and the perpetrators should be caught and punished after receiving a fair, impartial trial. Comments like ricpic's above are unnecessary. The personal should not always be political, to my mind

That said...

I admire the fearlessness of the climber but after about 40 feet I have had enough of climbing. Heights I do not like past the third or fourth story up. And watching him climb is nerve racking for me.

Robt C said...

I always think about the guy doing the filming. He's not only up there too, but he's gotta juggle a camera while hanging on.

The Drill SGT said...

Robt C,

But he's on a rope, perhaps in a chair...

Phil 3:14 said...

We know this will end eventually.

Archie said...

Whats the story about Obama's sons? I missed that.

Carl Pham said...

I find this kind of stuff really upsetting. I imagine the guy's poor mom, frozen in terror, trying with all her will to not think about what might happen to the child she cherished so tenderly and long.

TML said...

That was absolutely beautiful and spiritually fulfilling. I'm in awe of the bear hug on life he has. Stunning. Crazy. Fearless. Life affirming.

Levi Starks said...

Wonderful video, I wonder if he made sure his obamacare premiums were paid up before he started the climb...

rehajm said...

Lacking the self preservation gene.

The Drill SGT said...

"Levi Starks said...
Wonderful video, I wonder if he made sure his obamacare premiums were paid up before he started the climb..."

If you do that stuff, you don need no stinkin Obamacare, you just need a bit of term life to cover the cremation costs and UPS to home of record...

Somebody said...

What is the point of this needless risk taking? If you must live dangerously, join the Marine Corps, or hand out vaccines in Pakistan. Anything that might yield some net benefit if you die.

Birkel said...

Somebody:
What is this needless complaining you do? What is the point? Why do you feel yourself compelled to control others?

The man has decided what he prefers and is not affecting you at all. He does not need you.

The Drill SGT said...

Somebody said...
What is the point of this needless risk taking?


or split the difference and test experimental parachutes.

"Hal Moore graduated from West Point in 1945 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry. He served as a paratrooper for a rifle platoon in Japan. His next assignment was with the 82d Airborne at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. There, he volunteered for the Army's Airborne Test Section where he jump-tested experimental parachutes for the Army, Air Force, and the CIA, making 135 test jumps and experiencing several near-death incidents."

Larry Nelson said...

Although not very good at it, I've been rock climbing for 35+ years, mostly in California and Alaska. Eventually you don't consider the "exposure", but only what is in front of your face (a 50' fall will kill you just like a 500' fall). Rock climbing is pretty safe except when on the "sharp" end of the rope (leading), where you will fall twice the distance you are above your last protective anchor (spring loaded cams nowadays), assuming the anchor was placed securely. Climbing far above your protection before setting another anchor is called "run out".

Free solo's are a whole different game. No rope, no anchor.
Hannold has been climbing in Yosemite for several years now and this particular free solo is the most daring free solo ever. He is at a level that the greatest free solo rock climbers didn't quit get to (John Bachar, Peter Croft, Dean Potter). What is astounding about the climb is the sustained difficulty. I saw this preview about 3 weeks ago and was sweating just watching him.

Helenhightops said...

Larry Nelson, stupid question for you, but I appreciate it - how will he get down? And what about water?



Helenhightops said...

Larry Nelson, stupid question for you, but I appreciate it - how will he get down? And what about water?



Tyrone Slothrop said...

I wonder if they're aware of the significance of the term Sendero Luminoso, which originated as the name of a murderous Maoist insurgency in Peru. These guys wear it like a "Che" tee shirt.

Unknown said...

Free climb enough and you die.

He has issues. And yet he is wonderful all the same.

Gahrie said...

The climbing community, on average, is half a bubble off dead center on its better days. The free climbers are a full bubble off.

This. I used to be a climber, they are a unique group.

Hours of preparation and practice runs on ropes went into this...he didn't just walk up to the wall and start climbing.

Bruce Hayden said...

Until, quite suddenly, he wasn't.

Lost my youngest brother to a climbing "accident" a number of years ago. We still don't know if he was climbing free at the time, or on the first pitch. He had never failed at anything in his life before then - dean's list at Dartmouth, being recruited at top engineering schools, etc. And then, he did fail. I was acrophobia before then. Got much worse after that.

Larry Nelson said...

Helenhightops said...
Larry Nelson, ... how will he get down? And what about water?


He'll climb to the top and walk off the other side. Don't remember how long the 2500' took him to climb, but you could go half a day without water easily if you hydrate before. When you free solo, you don't waste time setting anchors, cleaning belays, sorting and arranging your gear for the next pitch, etc., you just keep moving and it goes fast.

Here is a link to a climbers forum that talks about Hannold's climb. Many of the climbers commenting (although they don't always use their real names) are well known and respected world class climbers.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2321885/Honnold-Free-Solos-El-Sendero-Luminoso

Climbing can be a really fun family sport, it doesn't have to be death defying. And yes, some of the great free solo climbers have died. Probably the greatest, now after Hannold, was John Bachar. Back when I first started, Bachar would hang a sign at camp 4 in Yosemite (now a National Historic Site) that said something like: "$10,000 to anyone that can follow me for a day". The greatest climbers in the world were climbing in Yosemite then. None of those great climbers ever took him up on his challenge. He died soloing near Mammoth Lakes 3 or 4 years ago and he was probably in his early 50's. Nobody witnessed the accident, but most felt it had to have been a broken hold, cause Bachar just didn't make mistakes. It was shocking to the whole climbing community because Bachar was virtually super human.

Larry Nelson said...

Bruce Hayden said..
Lost my youngest brother to a climbing "accident" a number of years ago.


Condolences on your loss. One of my best friends died in a climbing accident in 1999 in Alaska. As you know, you never get over it. He was a legend in Alaska as a prolific rock climber, and a world class ice climber. He would have been a shadow of a man if he couldn't climb.
Finishing a hard rock climb brings a person a great sense of accomplishment, and the exposure and excitment on a classic climb is indescribable.

The Crack Emcee said...

What did Paul Mooney say?

"The white man is so bold he'll crawl inside a can of beans."

It's even funny in print,...

Patrick said...

Those climbers are something else. I find out hard to watch, even though it was obvious that North face wouldn't use this as marrying if he'd died. Knowing next to nothing about climbing, it speared to me in some of the shots that he knew precisely what he was doing and was very well prepared. My hat is off to the guy.

Still think he's nuts, though!

David said...

Sorry to hear that Bruce. My son was Dartmouth '89 and had a Dartmouth friend die in a climbing accident. I wonder . . .

sane_voter said...

This is a nice piece about Honnold on 60 Minutes from a couple of years ago.

Alone On a Wall

Helenhightops said...

Bruce, so sorry for your loss.

Larry, thank you. So he would have been up that path over and over, and had every hold mapped out in his head before?

I watched some other footage of him standing on a very narrow ledge with his back to the face, and seriously, I don't even see how he could get turned around to climb again.

I find it fascinating that people can do this into middle age, because I have always heard that balance starts to go at about age 20, and that is why you never see 24 year old champion gymnasts.

I suppose strength requirements means there are no female free climbers. My sister saw a woman climbing a rock face in North Carolina with a BABY ON HER BACK IN A CARRIER. I would have called the law if I had seen that.

Rusty said...

Helenhightops said...
"Larry Nelson, stupid question for you, but I appreciate it - how will he get down? And what about water?"

There's an escalator and a drinking fountain at the top.

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mrs. e said...

"That was absolutely beautiful and spiritually fulfilling. I'm in awe of the bear hug on life he has. Stunning. Crazy. Fearless. Life affirming."

This.

Smilin' Jack said...

Meh...I'm not sure that should count as a free solo. The greatest danger in free soloing isn't a hold breaking, but rather running out of holds--that is, climbing into a position where you can't see any holds above you and you can't downclimb (much more difficult than climbing up.) He obviously had a camera crew with him that could advise him on the route and rescue him if he got stuck.

Larry Nelson said...

Jack,
He rehearsed the route several times before he went, knew where the crux moves were, how to sequence those moves etc.
That being said, there are only a few humans on Earth who are capable of that free solo, and then, only if they find the urge inside themselves. Believe it or not, these free solo folks do not want to die, but why they do it is something only they know.

John Scott said...

I'm a hang glider pilot. I guess the best way to judge how extreme a sport is is by the survivability of the mistakes. I'd say free soloing like this probably ranks a 10.

John Constantius said...

I'm a climber myself (greatest sport in the world) but would never free solo. I like the challenge of climbing, I'm not particularly interested in the risk of death so I always rope up.

Honnold I would guess is the best free soloist ever, better than even Bachar, Croft, etc. National Geographic will be filming Honnold (later this year I think) free soloing a skyscraper. It takes a mindset that most people rightly do not possess.

Helen, you can easily climb into your 60's or even later, though like any physical activity it's easier for the young. I'm early 40's and still cranking away on crags I couldn't do when I was in my 20's. Skill and technique are vastly more important than strength or flexibility (though obviously all else equal you'd rather be skillful, technical AND strong & flexible).

The first person to free climb the Nose route on El Capitan in Yosemite was Lynn Hill (a woman). It's not like there weren't plenty of men who gave it a go first. Like any sport, the best in the world at climbing are all men (Chris Sharma, Adam Ondra, Ueli Steck, etc.) but there are plenty of women just one small notch below them.

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