New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Cavermax » Jan 25, 2012 5:12 pm

Chads93GT wrote: Hell, a 12 foot fall in a cave can kill you. Ever done a 12 foot free climb in a cave? I have.


Falling is easy, its the bouncing off the walls on the way down that hurts. I took a 15 foot fall, after a ledge broke while canyon walking in Ropple. I landed ok but had a huge, deep bruise on my leg from another ledge that I caught on the way down. Lets face it guys, every time you walk a canyon, step over a pit, or sit in a chair you face the possibility of dying ( price, participation, and odds of winning may vary) but there is no reason to get carried away, we all get our chance. If you do something and it puts only yourself in danger, then you are responsible for yourself and your fate rests in the hands of God. And if someone tries to mimic you and dies, well.. then that's on him. For all you scientists out there, you would know this as natural selection. As for the members of rescue out there (I being one of them) rescue is what you do, or recover as necessary, but it is your choice. You have taken on the job placed before you, and you are accepting of the consequences that arise while performing said duty. I have never went into a rescue thinking to myself about how much danger the subject has placed me in. I do my duty and God willing I will come out alive. There are no guarantees in life, whither at home, work, or play, you can die anytime, anywhere, and anyway.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Jon » Jan 25, 2012 11:52 pm

Obviously some of you STILL miss the point. Yeah 12 feet can kill you, MAYBE. 2,000 feet duh no question. Short of the original blow of lech, tell me where in a cave with a TON of open space you can get a 50 MPH gust. That ONE thing alone proves my point. This private and humble guy had 6 video photographers covering his private and personal moments. It was broadcast on a major network show and if you want to discuss this any further I will require that you watch Idiocracy. Do you think for one minute that winning the Indy 500 would be somehow private, personal and sensible with an onboard camera showing some putz in a speedo with no seat belts, no helmet, no nomex suit and no Hans Device? ( For you non racers a Hans Device would have kept Dale Earnharts head screwed on in the VERY MINOR collision with the wall that he had) And yes for all you 12 foot fatality people, you could die from rolling out of your bed. Hell you COULD trip over your shoelace and die. Quit comparing a flea to a grizzly. Dump all your excuses this was a plain and stupid stunt. I doubt this kid will live to be a legend in his own time. And no, at this time I say he is a fool in his own time. Pardon the cliche, there are old free solo climbers and there are bold free solo climbers but there are no old bold free solo climbers. Quit living out your own unobtainable fantasies through this kid.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 26, 2012 12:11 am

The point is, why are you so bent out of shape? It takes nothing to set you off spewing off the same crap about wind and falling and now you are telling us that this is all our fantasy and we are living it through him? Assumptions arent very becoming.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby BrianFrank » Jan 26, 2012 1:07 am

Jon, take a moment, take a deep breath. You have to admit he has nerves of steel...at the very least?
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 26, 2012 6:49 am

I am simply more worried about my son growing up and seeing jersey shore and the kardashians. Not someone climbing without a rope. I could flat out care less. It's that simple.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby paul » Jan 26, 2012 7:56 am

Jon wrote:Obviously some of you STILL miss the point. Yeah 12 feet can kill you, MAYBE. 2,000 feet duh no question. Short of the original blow of lech, tell me where in a cave with a TON of open space you can get a 50 MPH gust. That ONE thing alone proves my point. This private and humble guy had 6 video photographers covering his private and personal moments. It was broadcast on a major network show and if you want to discuss this any further I will require that you watch Idiocracy. Do you think for one minute that winning the Indy 500 would be somehow private, personal and sensible with an onboard camera showing some putz in a speedo with no seat belts, no helmet, no nomex suit and no Hans Device? ( For you non racers a Hans Device would have kept Dale Earnharts head screwed on in the VERY MINOR collision with the wall that he had) And yes for all you 12 foot fatality people, you could die from rolling out of your bed. Hell you COULD trip over your shoelace and die. Quit comparing a flea to a grizzly. Dump all your excuses this was a plain and stupid stunt. I doubt this kid will live to be a legend in his own time. And no, at this time I say he is a fool in his own time. Pardon the cliche, there are old free solo climbers and there are bold free solo climbers but there are no old bold free solo climbers. Quit living out your own unobtainable fantasies through this kid.


You appear to have two problems with this particular case where the climb: firstly was recorded and publicised and a secondly, a separate argument against solo climbing as an activity in itself.

For the first argument, that the climb was recorded and its broadcast may influence others, well that is a matter of opinon and I'm not interested in that argument.

As for the rsisk in involved in solo climbing (whether climbing 'free', where the climber only uses the holds offered by the rock or 'aid', where the climber uses artificial implements to assist with the climb - "solo" just means alone and you can solo a free climb or an aided one). well, of course there is a risk.

"Traditional" climbing, where protection is placed while climbing and then removed afterwards so that you are restricted to where you can protect yourself depending on the cracks, etc. offered by the rock (as opposed to "Sport" climbing where protection is normally guranteed by artificial bolts placed in the rock at intervals designed to keep any falls to a safe distance) always has an inherent risk. It is part of the "game". "Sport" climbing has this name because risk is removed as much as possible, the climber is only interested in the technical difficulty of getting up the route.

Traditional climbing has an element of adventure where it is expected that there will be a level of risk: it's "part of the game". Of course you try and minimise the risk: but the risk is there and without it, it just isn't climbing. Otherwise why not always climb with a top rope where there is a single pitch like an inddor climbing wall where you are very unlikely to hit the ground after a fall? Why take a risk and place protection while actually climbing - you could abseil down and place it then clomb the route afterwards? Or why climb the rock at all: there's nearly always an easy way up.

The leader will climb from the ground up and place protection as he goes, where he can find any. Most climbing rope are around 50 metres in length (165 feet), so a single 'pitch' could be well over a 100 feet. The fact that the route soloed in the video is well over that distance is irrelevant: a fall from either would be just as fatal.

If the climber were to fall off a route, hopefully he won't hit the ground or anything else on the way down as long as the distance above the last piece of protection is less than the distance to the ground (ignoring rope stretch).

Sometimes a climber falls and the protection comes out because it wasn't placed properly or because it was a poor placement and that's all there was. Sometimes there just wasn't anywhere to place protection for a long part of the pitch and they fell from near the top. This wouldn't be a surprise as the grade of the climb and description in the guide book would mean the climber was aware of the risks.

The end result maybe serious injury or death. And such incidents ARE NOT RARE. I live in the UK and you only have to look at Mountain Rescue Teams insident reports to see that injuries from climbers falling while roped happens fairly often.

Part of the reason why people climb is because it is risky.

Some climbers will "up the ante" and climb a route solo, often well within their abilites as it will be several grades lower than the hardest climbs they regularly do and will be a route they have climbed before. I have done many times and I know of many climbers who have done likewise. Why? Because when you reach the top the feelings and emotions you get are much greater. Not because you're still alive despite the risk, but because you feel more alive.

I'm sorry but your cliche "there are old free solo climbers and there are bold free solo climbers but there are no old bold free solo climbers" is just totally wrong. There are plenty, although many of them don't climb at the highest levels nowadays with advancing age.

After all, the odds of dying are MUCH, MUCH greater while climbing at high altitude than soloing a rock climb, and I don't hear people tut-tutting when the latest film of some mountaineers climbing an 8.000 meter peak in the Himalaya is broadcast...
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Roppelcaver » Jan 26, 2012 11:30 am

I have free soloed a fair amount. For me, it was the solitude and being "one" with the rock that was most rewarding. From a practical perspective, these were climbs that were well within my ability, climbs I knew, and climbs on solid, well-known rock. I always made sure I could reverse my moves, and I was impeccibly careful.

Indeed, a fall would be fatal, but I have felt less secure on dirty, Class 4 gullys than I have on some of these solo climbs. Risk is a continuum -- anytime we do anything where a fall could injure or be fatal (caves, rock climbs, mountains, etc.) we are taking a risk. We all take risks in caving, similarly -- a climb, canyon traverse, step-across, etc. The key point is that the risk is relative to our level of attention and care, and relative to our abilities. Are the margins any different? If we are comfortable, confident, and prudent, the risk is manageable. Accordingly, if I am comfortable with a climb and my fellow caver is not, options are employed -- a belay, a leg- or arm-up, or an alternate route.

People can fall and get hurt anywhere anytime. Rock climbers and cavers alike have fallen and died on "easy ground". Should they have had a rope in these instances? Arguably maybe, but practically no. What is "easy ground"? It depends, and is in the eye of the beholder. Stupid slips can and do happen, and they seem most probable when one is cavalier (as on "easy ground").

There used to be a canyon traverse in Mammoth (certainly not necessarily in the National Park) that we all routinely did for years. It was "exposed", and for some frightening, but we all did it. Were we reckless rogues? Absolutely not. We were comfortable with our abilities and did this traverse like many other similar obstacles similarly. (If someone was not comfortable, we would employ a belay or the caver would do a more circuitous route he/she was more comfortable with.)

Years later, I was appalled when they installed a fixed line on this traverse. Why? I learned that most cavers now were not comfortable with it. I am not sure why, other than the possibility that we may have been bolder in the old days; the shifting sands of acceptable risk had changed; or, the cavers now traveling here were less of a risk taker. I later learned I did things back in the day that I would not now -- this does not necessarily mean I am wiser, but certainly am still operating under the premise of not exceeding my comfort level when encountering obstacles.

We should be cautious judging other's actions mapped to our own standards. It is just wrong. Now, I agree publicizing solo climbing seems wrong to me -- it is the epitome of what solo climbing is not supposed to be. Solo climbing (and caving) should remain in the closet. I am not sure publicizing it encourages more risk taking, but it might. I kniw I don't feel more inclined to solo watching others, but it does remind me of the satisfaction and inner peace I experience when I do. I am not sure why someone who does not prefer to solo would suddlenly want to. In any event, as long as we manage risk responsibly, whatever is okay. I assure you I don't do anything where I believe the risk of injury to be much above zero probability -- whether it be caving, climbing, mountaineering, solo or with a group.

Some would argue that the probability of injury is greater when caving with a group than it is solo. I would. I know for a fact that I take much greater care caving by myself than I do with a group.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby chh » Jan 26, 2012 7:26 pm

Jeez. No kidding. One episode of Jersey Shore and I'd just jump.
Your words of caution are no match for my disaster style!
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Jon » Jan 26, 2012 11:39 pm

Ok you win. I have said that there is a place for it. I have also tried to impress that this was not the personal private moment you all seem to think it was. Had this guy gone splat on his own away from cameras it wouldn't have gotten more than MAYBE a couple of seconds on the news. With video footage it would have been a great news story. Go ahead and live in your world. But had he gone splat on his private and personal moment on national network tv, there would be screaming from people (not me) to shut down this kind of thing. My main objection is the national coverage of it. I've said I've done some things that many people consider dangerous maybe even stupid. But I don't do it on national tv with a media that is possibly secretly hoping for the scoop of the splat.

I encourge you to find out about what is often called the "Dirty Dozen" The top 12 morons who have had to be rescued from themselves more than once. Now while this guy may not have joined this list, a well videoed segment of his splat would have brought up the afore mentioned group. Then people would jump on the bandwagon to ban this type of activity. My point has been that Joe average doesn't get this. When people start quoting the costs both in $ and LIFE AND LIMB to rescue people, things some of us like to do get outlawed. There are some things better done under the radar rather than getting out of a limo at a red carpet event in a short skirt going commando a-la Britiny Spears. Excuse me for trying to save the freedom to do what we are talking about.

Think about it for just one minute. Had he gone splat, and 60 minutes had the footage and all the money invested in it, just how do you think they would have spun the story to recoup their costs? Go ahead, tell me how bright the future would be for free solo climbing.
Last edited by Jon on Jan 30, 2012 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Jon » Jan 27, 2012 12:49 am

Oh and quick note to Paul, since you are not interested in my opinion, I am not interested in YOURS.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby paul » Jan 27, 2012 7:16 am

Jon wrote:Oh and quick note to Paul, since you are not interested in my opinion, I am not interested in YOURS.


If I wasn't interested in your opinion, I wouldn't have replied to your postings. I never said I wasn't interested in your opinion.

What I said was:
For the first argument, that the climb was recorded and its broadcast may influence others, well that is a matter of opinon and I'm not interested in that argument.


I'm not interested in the argument about publicising such events so have no opinion either way. You have an opinion and are entitled to it.

But I do have an opinion on whether a climber who chooses to solo a route is branded as a Darwin Award candidate or some sort of crazed individual who is tempted at killing himself.

I think that all that can be said on the matter, has been said.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Billy » Jan 27, 2012 11:17 am

More of an aside to "Paul". Notice your Peak District location - probably a few people on this board that will recognize that area as some of the hardest leads on grit (or anything) with the least protection. I am built like John Dunne (as Chad will attest), so while I don't say he was a role model (a controversial figure I know), more than once I'd tell myself "suck it up, this would be a cakewalk for Dunne'. Hard Grit still remains one of my favorite vids, and the opening sequence (roped, by the way) is forever burned in my mind.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby chh » Jan 29, 2012 7:28 pm

Billy wrote: Hard Grit still remains one of my favorite vids, and the opening sequence (roped, by the way) is forever burned in my mind.


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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby Jon » Jan 29, 2012 11:45 pm

Paul
re read your reply. The bit about being alive. Seems to contradict itself. But anyway, my point is if the kid went splat, they wouldn't have lost the $ and forgotten the story. More than likely they would have resorted to "Some People think....." Now they rarely find any "some people" but when they do it is a grieving widow or mother. And in this case there would end up being people who would want certification to make free climbs....five trips on rope without leaning on the rope. Or maybe paramedics and rescue people on site as you climb a required route using required bolts, with a permit, with certification. etc. What I'm saying and few seem to understand is, Wanna free solo or free climb or climb unprotected....what ever you want to call it. If you want that personal and" at one with the face" moment, don't friggin do it with 60 Minutes filming you. If you doubt what I'm saying all you have to do is think back to when a certain media group decided to rip GM on their EXPLODING pick up trucks. Now they couldn't make the urban myth happen so they put fireworks on the gas tank so the trucks would explode as they wanted for their story. Now consider that GM is a major advertiser on their network, So if they were willing to throw THEM under the bus for ratings just where do you think a few free solo climbers fit into $$$$$$?????

While this kid may have considered some consequences the one he didn't consider or maybe care about was other climbers. He well could have started the ball rolling to close down, restrict or regulate ALL climbing on Federal Lands. THAT WAS IS AND HAS BEEN MY POINT. It is obvious that many of you are so interested in YOUR RIGHTS that you don't see how it effect others. Personally I don't care it's not my thing, but when your thing falls my thing is next.
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Re: New Sport - Free Solo Climbing in Caves

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 29, 2012 11:56 pm

Jon wrote:Personally I don't care it's not my thing, but when your thing falls my thing is next.


And nothing's worse than a fallen thing.
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