/ NEWS: Honnold Solos The Phoenix - Yosemite

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UKC News - on 17 Jun 2011
Sean Leary and Alex Honnold in Yosemite, 4 kbAmerican climber Alex Honnold has soloed The Phoenix (5.13a) in Yosemite.

"The Phoenix was something for me... I'm happy..."

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=62712

Dave 88 - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News:

The 15 pitch route he soloed, did he clip into the bolt belays to rest? Shirley he didn't do the whole thing in one go?!
Gob_Stopper on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Dave 88: Based on past form I wouldn't be surprised if he did do it all in one go.
HeMa on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> The 15 pitch route he soloed, did he clip into the bolt belays to rest? Shirley he didn't do the whole thing in one go?!

It took him 2 h or so (source SuperTopo and/or Climbing), because he had to wait for the film-people to get into new postions for filming the climb... Alex didn't mention anything about resting on bolts, so I would assume he rested/waited on ledges or other proper rest spots...
Dave 88 - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Cheers for the info. In that case, it's all the more amazing. What a machine.
joljols - on 17 Jun 2011
Sorry I am a bit confused, he didn't free solo here right? If not, how would you climb by yourself using ropes, I don't understand that
JimboWizbo - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to joljols: I'm fairly sure he free soloed both climbs
Daniel Heath - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to joljols:

no, it looks like he did free solo.

He really is that good.

(look up his past achievements of Half Dome, Moonlight Buttress, and OS or London Wall)
Michael Ryan - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to JimboWizbo:

Yes he soled both climbs without ropes, and without resting by clipping into gear - this is what is meant be free soloing and is what he did on his historic solos of

Moonlight Buttress: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=43568

and Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome amongst others.

Although on his solo of the Nose, he pulled on gear.
gcandlin - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News: This lad blows me away with the stuff he does, one of my climbing heros but I find myself asking how long can he keep getting away with this stuff? Hopefully the answer is forever
Alkis - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to gcandlin:

Well, John Bachar got away with it for a good 30 years. Here's hoping that Honnold will get away with it for even longer! :-)
Dino Dave - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News: This man is on fire!
Ben Thorne - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News:

My fingertips usually p**s with sweat when I watch climbing videos, however watching or even reading about Honnold makes my stomach turn and my bum go funny!
daveyw - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Zardoz:
> (In reply to gcandlin)
>
> Well, John Bachar got away with it for a good 30 years. Here's hoping that Honnold will get away with it for even longer! :-)

I hope he gets away with it forever.

I'm in no way detracting from this and his many other awesome soloing and other climbing acheivements but am I the only one who thinks that this is all going to end one day- and not in a nice way? It makes me feel sick just thinking about the scale of these risks.

Please rope up and help my butterfly tummy settle down.

In reply to UKC News: I think Honnold is awesome - I just hope he lives to not regret these super-bold routes.
Ged Desforges - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to daveyw: When non climbers walk along stanage and see somebody soloing a severe, they probably think they are suicidal, and clearly about to die. When a severe climber sees somebody soloing an E1 they probably think the person is suicidal. Both of those climbers are operating well within their limit, and are comfortable that they are in control. This is no different. The bloke climbs 8c, and excels on granite. a 7c crack is not hard for him. He wouldnt do it if there was any chance of falling.

Incredible display.
Quarryboy - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Honnald will run out of luck at some point! There is a strong positive correlation between top climbers that soloed regularly and top climbers that die. Its simple really just look at statistics!
flaneur - on 17 Jun 2011
gcandlin:

> This lad blows me away with the stuff he does, one of my climbing heros but I find myself asking how long can he keep getting away with this stuff? Hopefully the answer is forever

daveyw:

> I the only one who thinks that this is all going to end one day- and not in a nice way? It makes me feel sick just thinking about the scale of these risks.

wayno265:

> I just hope he lives to not regret these super-bold routes.

quarryboy

> Honnald will run out of luck at some point!


It is interesting that this kind of news always attracts these kind of comments whereas alpine climbing or mountaineering (statistically far more likely to end in participant's death) reports never do.






Mr Lopez - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Quarryboy:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
>Its simple really just look at statistics!

Where can i see these statistics?

In reply to flaneur: From my point of view, it's because I'm not interested in Alpine climbing, so pay little or no attention to it.

There's no doubting that what he does is dangerous though, is there? And given that he's (to my limited knowledge) the only person soloing these sort of routes, there's not much statistical evidence to work with.
daveyw - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to wayno265:
> (In reply to flaneur) From my point of view, it's because I'm not interested in Alpine climbing, so pay little or no attention to it.
>
ditto.

daveyw - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Ged Desforges:
Incredible display- Yes

"He wouldn't do it if no chance of falling"- ??? 15 pitches, 7c, there's no guarantees there
Richard Hall - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to daveyw: Who said anything about 15 pitch 7c's?

It was 15 pitch 5.11c (about 6c+), and a single pitch, I believe, 5.13a (7c+).
daveyw - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Richard Hall:
I didn't. It is a 15 pitch climb, graded at 7c is it not? Forgive my paraphrasing of the grade of the route.

My point was that I hope Alex continues forever, but this level of risk (and it is high, whether you split grade hairs or not) seems sickeningly high. We're not talking about a broken ankle on a bad landing.
gcandlin - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to flaneur: Not that suprising though
HeMa on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to daveyw:
> (In reply to Richard Hall)
> I didn't. It is a 15 pitch climb, graded at 7c is it not? Forgive my paraphrasing of the grade of the route.

Phoenix is the 5.13 and it's single pitch...

C-somehting was the 15 pitch climb, and it's 5.11
Richard Hall - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to daveyw:
> (In reply to Richard Hall)
> I didn't. It is a 15 pitch climb, graded at 7c is it not? Forgive my paraphrasing of the grade of the route.

NO! It is a 15 pitch climb graded 6c+.

My understanding was that he also soloed a single pitch 7c+.

I am not splitting hairs, this is completely different from soloing a 15 pitch 7c.

Michael Ryan - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Richard Hall:
> (In reply to daveyw)
> [...]

> I am not splitting hairs, this is completely different from soloing a 15 pitch 7c.

He done that too:

Dave Birkett climbed Zion's Moonlight Buttress (V 5.12d; 1,200 feet) last autumn, one of his most satisfying climbs of 2007. When Birkett heard that the American climber, Alex Honnold, 22, had soloed Moonlight Buttress he could hardly believe it. He spent last night reliving the climb and imagining doing it without a rope. He found it hard to comprehend.

"It's an unbelievable ascent. I remember one pitch and it wasn't even the crux, rattley finger jams with nothing but big air below you. There's one pitch with an off-width body sized pod, I just can't imagine soloing that. I find this more impressive than the big granite solos in Yosemite because the sandstone in Zion is sometimes, well, sandy and insecure. Sometimes you have to change directions in the crack and rely on laybacking by your tips. Honnold's solo is one of the most impressive I've ever heard of - pitches of E4, E5 and E6 all stacked on top of each other "

In reply to Ged Desforges:
> He wouldnt do it if there was any chance of falling.

Shit does happen from time to time.

> Incredible display.

Totally agree. Honnold also always comes across as such a nice chap as well; none of the zen master California hippy crap that certain other masters of soloing who have since fallen from grace (and from climbs with base rig on) come out with. Just a nice lad doing something he loves. But I think that's why I'm coming round to the Ed Drummond position of please-quit-whilst-you're-ahead-Alex. It makes me feel old, but I worry for him!

I found reading this "The CH was something for them [the film crew], the Phoenix was something for me." He shouldn't be doing for anyone but himself. I actually saw him do the Moonlight Buttress solo on the Reel Rock tour (so in a cinema - very cool). Obviously I knew that he made it fine, but I felt quite uncomfortable watching it - thinking "is he doing that for me rather than for himself?"
Hugh Cottam - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

Zion's Moonlight Buttress is actually only 11 pitches. So he still hasn't done 15, Ha
joljols - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Daniel Heath: I know about him free soloing the nose et al but in the article they don't state 'free solo' but just 'solo' and combined that with a picture of him carrying loads of gear. I know the term 'soloing' includes both free soloing as well as roped solo climbing, but got the impression he might have used ropes here.
hwackerhage - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Ged Desforges:

Similarly it has been argued that there wouldn't been nuclear reactors if there was any chance of things going wrong...

Great achievements and inspirational but too many don't get away with it if they solo over a longer period.
tony on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to flaneur:
> It is interesting that this kind of news always attracts these kind of comments whereas alpine climbing or mountaineering (statistically far more likely to end in participant's death) reports never do.

Really? How many other people are soloing multi-pitch 5.11 routes?
Dave Foster - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Ben Thorne:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> My fingertips usually p**s with sweat when I watch climbing videos, however watching or even reading about Honnold makes my stomach turn and my bum go funny!

Ha! Made me laugh aloud in a well known coffee retail outlet. Nice one.
andi turner - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News: Just look at the picture of him at the top of the page. He's not falling off anything anytime soon.
Wide_Mouth_Frog - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News:
Wouldn't it be bigger news if he DIDN'T solo something in Yosemite?
Michael Gordon - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

Nice quote, thanks. Great to hear Birkett's thoughts on things like this.
JimboWizbo - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog: Yep, but imagine the hundreds of climbs he doesn't solo every day. There'd be no room for other news!
Robert Durran - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Ged Desforges:
> (In reply to daveyw) When non climbers walk along stanage and see somebody soloing a severe, they probably think they are suicidal, and clearly about to die. When a severe climber sees somebody soloing an E1 they probably think the person is suicidal. Both of those climbers are operating well within their limit, and are comfortable that they are in control. This is no different.

I actually suspect it is different. I would have thought there comes a point when fingerholds/jams and footholds are so small that even a climber very comfortable with the moves at this sort of grade is more likely to have a hand or foot pop unexpectedly than someone equally comfortable on the moves on a severe or E1. Not to mention the presumably increased risks of something tiny snapping. Then again, maybe someone who operates at this sort of level will come along and tell me I am wrong!

But whatever, the video of Honnold soloing Moonlight Buttress was possibly the most mind-blowing thing I have ever (only just managed) to watch!




Cragrat Rich on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News:


Does he onsight these things solo? or is he familiar with the harder ones before he 'bags and tags em'...

Not being pedantic like, just wondering?

Anyway, whichever way it's unfolding, this guy is setting the bar extremely high in terms of testicle size...
I too can't help thinking whether or when it's gonna be a good idea to settle down a bit and push some boundaries regarding what's possible in terms of difficulty in safety.

Anyway, meantime, rock on... You are sick sick sick rad dude Al!!! :)
Michael Ryan - on 17 Jun 2011
In reply to Cragrat Rich:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
>
> Does he onsight these things solo? or is he familiar with the harder ones before he 'bags and tags em'...
>
> Not being pedantic like, just wondering?

They are pre-practised.

Honnold had spent two days working on The Phoenix, and he had climbed CH already twice this season. Regarding why he wanted to free solo The Phoenix, he said, "I thought I could do it, so I figured I might as well. It's a pretty amazing route, and the waterfall below it is raging right now. It's a special place."

http://www.climbing.com/news/hotflashes/honnold_free_solos_the_phoenix_513a/
dror - on 18 Jun 2011
In reply to flaneur:
> gcandlin:
>
> [...]
>
> daveyw:
>
> [...]
>
> wayno265:
>
> [...]
>
> quarryboy
>
> [...]
>
>
> It is interesting that this kind of news always attracts these kind of comments whereas alpine climbing or mountaineering (statistically far more likely to end in participant's death) reports never do.

-- you are absolutely wrong there. there are very few people who do hard solos, while there are lots of people who do hard alpine routes. so just counting how many people are reported to have had unfortunate incidents isnt a good comparision.
dror - on 18 Jun 2011
In reply to UKC News:

i wonder if he would have the balls to solo one of those polished VS in avon.. heh.
remus - on 18 Jun 2011
In reply to dror: While thats technically correct, if you look at the proportion of people who are/were known for their frequent hard solos that are now dead the numbers arent favorable.
HeMa on 18 Jun 2011
In reply to tony:
> Really? How many other people are soloing multi-pitch 5.11 routes?

Not sure, but Reardon (RIP), Bachar (RIP), Croft, Auer and Huber have... Most likely quite a few others as well, that ain't big names and just go out and climb.
SuperstarDJ - on 18 Jun 2011
In reply to flaneur:
>>
> It is interesting that this kind of news always attracts these kind of comments whereas alpine climbing or mountaineering (statistically far more likely to end in participant's death) reports never do.

The difference for me is that in most forms of climbing, you're doing what you can to reduce the risk and climbing in the safest manner possible. Soloists are accepting a higher risk in exchange for something that's harder to understand.
Mick Ward - on 18 Jun 2011
In reply to SuperstarDJ:
> (In reply to flaneur)

> Soloists are accepting a higher risk in exchange for something that's harder to understand.

Greater fulfilment.

Mick

Jim Brooke - on 20 Jun 2011
In reply to remus:
> (In reply to dror) While thats technically correct, if you look at the proportion of people who are/were known for their frequent hard solos that are now dead the numbers arent favorable.

But are you sure you counted all the hard soloists who didn't die soloing? The accidents naturally tend to be better remembered than those who quit while they were ahead....

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