/ Teenagers soloing?
Age doesn't have too much to do with it
Depends on their competence and what they're soloing. Would you post the same thing about leading? Lots of routes have limited gear and are effectively solos for at least part of the route.
I guess if I was a teenager with my current level of ability, I probably wouldn't tell my parents how much soloing I did, but I'd definitely do it anyway.
So, 'right' if done with good judgement, but naturally worrying for mum and dad (unless they're experienced climbers, in which case they'd get it).
Well I was wondering if people think that at that age, they wouldn't have the good call of judgement for whether or not what they are doing is right or wrong.
They are a very competent climber in my view.
Leo Holding was always okay as a teenager, and I soloed (much easier climbs than him) and was okay.
It's a grey area, probably best if they solo climbs they've already climbed before though, and don't solo to prove anything to other people.
I'd not solo now (dodgy elbows and more of a sense of responsibility towards my family...brothers parents and nephew and nieces) but I survived alright. I'm not sure if others can really say to be honest.
Depends on how and what.
I solo quite a bit, but I only solo what I am comfortable with, I leave grade pushing to roped stuff. So on that basis, fire on in. Age there has nothing to do with it, and I always hold climbing like this is not really any more dangerous than many other activities.
If pushing your grade whilst soloing, then I would probably start to raise my eyebrows, but then some people enjoy doing that. So to me that is an issue between parent and teenager. If it reaches competition level then I would not be impressed, as too many external forces pushing the sport unsafely, but I do not know of any competition that allows young teens to seriously push solo grades!!
There is no 'right' or 'wrong'. There is decision made by the person concerned.
Personally I soloed 100's of routes before I made 20. It was what I decided to do. It wasn't right or wrong.
I soloed plenty of trees even before my teen days.
There's a big difference between a 13 year old soloing with little experience, and a 19 year old with, say, 3 years climbing behind him. And obviously, the grade relative to their other climbing.
I can understand that an "adult" might be uncomfortable if out with a 14-16 year old who was soloing, if that adult felt they might be viewed as responsible for the younger climber.
Children have to learn to cross the road, make decisions on drugs/alcohol/sex/tobacco and a load of other activities with different risks. Ultimately soloing isn't much different and the "supply-information-so-they-make-an-informed-choice" approach would seem to be the way todays wisdom says everything else should be dealt with.
And ofc if I was legally responsible for them I'd sooner tie them to a rock on the ground than risk parental legal wrath if anything did go wrong!
Do they regularly cross roads, cycle, cook, shave, walk up and down stairs, use stationary, eat sweets and other potentially lethal activities?
Most teenagers tend to solo up the stairs in their own home...
Also - I think it is a shame that young people aren't encouraged to weigh up risks for themselves. When I was a kid, we spent loads of time away from adults getting up to all sorts. We set fire to things, build camps, climbed trees, made weapons, crossed roads, rummaged in woods, talked to strangers...
Nowadays, at what age is a person expected to start to take any sort of responsibility for themselves? I know plenty of 18 and 19 year olds who have virtually no confidence in their own decision making abilities...
soloing is a bad idea unless you're sure you won't fall off.
My view on this is that its none of my f*cking business.
When a kid I climbed many trees (sans ropes, natch), rode my bike as fast as I could down steep hills, and plenty of other activities of dubious safety.
It's part of growing up.
The prediliction to wrap kids in cotton wool and prevent them doing anything that might harm them is, in my view, misguided, stupid, and insulting to the intelligence of the kids themselves.
And trying to whip up outrage Daily Mail fashion is not pretty either.
It doesn't seem like that to me.
I think there's an obvious role for parents to point out to young kids what is dangerous and what isn't - i.e. don't stick metal items in plug sockets, etc, and that is part of being a responsible parent.
However by the time kids reach mid-teens they should be grown up enough to make their own decisions. Also, mid-teen kids are going to push boundaries whether the parents like it or not.
> It doesn't seem like that to me.
Fair eough. I thought the OP was leaning a bit in that direction, but happy to be wrong.
Spot on. Agree with you completely.
disgraceful! when I was a teenager you wouldn't catch me doing anything remotely dangerous! what sort of teenage lad craves danger and excitment?!
If they are soloing recklessly, lacking control and skin of teeth stuff, I'd be worried whatever the age. If they are considered, age has nout to do with. Judgement comes from experience not age IMO.
Which they can't ...
If concerned, take them out for an epic mountain day and be a positive influence. I can't imagine they will listen to being pooh-poohed when they are adventurous enough to explore the risks and rewards of soloing.
PS. I am saluting them right now with my arse firmly planted on a chair in front of a desk, and my mind back on youthful adventures. Please join me!
> soloing is a bad idea unless you're sure you won't fall off.
but that is the thing - if you never take any risks, then how do you develop your own decision making about when or not you are likely to fall off? You could end up never really being sure about anything at all without someone else telling you...
They probably keep quiet with you about what they get up to as well! ;-) Kids can be very protective of their parents!
I did lots of soloing in my teens.....I got away with it.....probably lucky to as well. Would certainly not recomend it....all it takes is one dodgy hold then could be the end of your climbing career or worse.Risk vs Gain is simply not worth it.
Having said that I had and still have great times soloing....so its a case of do as I say rather than what I do!.
I like and enjoy soloing but rarely push my grade on it these days. At one time, due mainly to eagerness and occasional lack of partners, I would solo at or very close to my lead grade. So I don't see soloing as either right or wrong it just is. While I would be concerned about anyone I knew soloing I don't see anything inherently wrong in teenagers soloing. Most teenagers have a healthy fear of falling and wouldn't push a climb unless goaded.
I know I did when I was climbing trees, jumping off garage roofs, scaling derelict buildings, building dodgy rafts on the canal and swinging over enormous drops from tree swings.
> Well I was wondering if people think that at that age, they wouldn't have the good call of judgement for whether or not what they are doing is right or wrong.
> They are a very competent climber in my view.
Climbing and mountaineering are about managing risk. If soloing helps them judge risk and come to some sensible conclusions then good for them. Removing risk so a teenager grows up having no judgement in this regard is a bad idea. You say they are a competent climber, so presumably that means you agree with the way they manage risk when climbing?
Soloing is a mug's game. What do you do if a hold comes off in your hand? Or a fulmar vomits in your eye? Or it starts lagging down with rain?
I presume the teenager in question has loads of experience of leading on real rock? He's done mountaineering to boredom? He's summited the Ben via every grade VI ice route? Or is he an indoor climber who's done some sports routes and thinks placing gear is too much like work?
I think you just need to know where you are at climbing wise, unfortunately starting off by climbing on indoor walls doesn't give you that in my opinion.
I don't see the distinction between leading and soloing. On many outcrop routes, part of the route is a solo anyway, or becomes one as soon as one piece of gear fails/would fail.
For me and particular skill set and route choice, going soloing on grit is usually much safer than going leading. When I go soloing, I do routes I know I can do and I never fall off. When I go out leading, I do routes which I might well fall off, and they're rarely particularly well protected.
So I think your binary view of climbing (rope = safe, solo = danger) could benefit from readjusting to something a bit more nuanced.
> Soloing is a mug's game. What do you do if a hold comes off in your hand? Or a fulmar vomits in your eye? Or it starts lagging down with rain?
I kind of agree if you're going soloing at Gogarth, but that's probably not what the OP was talking about.
> I presume the teenager in question has loads of experience of leading on real rock? He's done mountaineering to boredom? He's summited the Ben via every grade VI ice route? Or is he an indoor climber who's done some sports routes and thinks placing gear is too much like work?
What's half of that stuff got to do with it? You don't go soloing because you've climbed everything on the Ben, you go soloing to enjoy a climb at your local crag, free of faff, doing loads of routes, and enjoying the the buzz of it.
Have a watch of this video which is great look at soloing on grit:
It might inspire you to get to your local crag and enjoy some of the classics you've done before with a new perspective.
Or are you a wall wizard looking for a blues and twos ride to A+E and 3 years of reconstructive surgery? Believe me, I'm not joining this thread for fun. I've seen the consequences of people doing stupid things and being over-confident.
> Or are you a wall wizard looking for a blues and twos ride to A+E and 3 years of reconstructive surgery? Believe me, I'm not joining this thread for fun. I've seen the consequences of people doing stupid things and being over-confident.
Err, you see that little question mark next to Hazelnut's name? Try clcking on that and see what happens. That should answer your questions.
BTW. You seem to have some kind of hang up over indoor climbing. Just mentioning.
I don't have a "hang up" about indoor climbing, but it doesn't teach a climber much about rock climbing. It's a training method.
Sport - F7b
Bouldering - font 7a+
Indoor - F7b
Bouldering - font 7b+
Indoor - F7c
And, whilst I agree that indoor climbing doesn't transfer to the outdoors directly, I suspect that the chances of getting a 'spinner' are much higher than rock holds coming off in your hand.
Although that is obviously destination dependant I wouldn't think that many people solo a new or overgrown route.
If they are ejits at risk assessment it is us who have made them that way for molly coddling them. When I were a kid if we came home wi'out any broken bones are mam used to send us back out again an tell us to play properly. "Go jump off sum rooves or summat" she would say, "Dunna bother me am cooking yer dad's tea".
Tell that to the kids today an they won't believe you.
I'm 18 and i've been soloing since I was 16ish. I do it for my reasons and I don't think people should have an opinion of other people's soloing, regardless of age. If they want to solo, that's their decision. As long as they're aware of the risks that's all you can do. Soloing doesn't fit into categories of right or wrong.
I tend to agree with the posters who are against soloing. We've probably all soloed something - even if it's just a descent route. The age of the climber is irrelevant, but statistics show that the biggest cause of death in males under 25 is accidents. Most of these accidents don't happen whilst playing chess.
Young men are hard-wired to seek risk, fight, impress young ladies with their courage, brag, shout, show off and generally take everything to excess. Evolution hasn't managed to knock it out of them so maybe the moral is: climb sensibly unless there's an attractive girl watching and then do your best to look insanely, recklessly and rather sexily brave.
I like soloing grit routes I know I can do (even if they're at my lead grade), I don't do it to impress girls (I'm not into them), indeed I prefer to have the crag to myself if possible. I also like soloing classic multi-pitch routes that are a few grades below my limit and would take ages to lead, or if I'm on my own.
I think that people who solo routes out of bravado are way, way outnumbered by competent people who solo routes because they want to climb the route solo. For very much for the same reasons one might want to climb any route - for the buzz, the climbing, the experience.
Yes, good point. I did a fair bit of soloing as a teenager and never broke anything. I did more damage to myself learning no hands on a push bike. A friend of mine climbed trees and broke loads of bones. We have to keep things in perspective, even if it is hard to do when we see a youngster high above the ground.
Cheers Al. I'm wondering if I could bear watching my son solo climb now. He's got a way to go yet though (in age), and isn't into climbing at the moment, so maybe it won't come up. I'll have to get nervous watching him ride a bike at speed / climb trees instead.
Unfortunately one of the lads died in a abseiling accident, an utter tragedy. I wasn't on the trip but I've always felt some guilt for his death, had I encouraged him, should I have been more stern with his gear admin and safety procedures? Another lad I seconded on a very sketchy local E5, and went on to climb E8. Although I saw a video of him walking away from a 30 odd foot deck out I somehow knew he'll be alright.
I think some people are just wired to take risks and find life dull and unappealing without it. Unfortunately in high stake games there will be losers, it's up to the individual's own morality and understanding of why people do these things to determine whether it's right or wrong. My view is that it is inexorable.
Teenagers soloing ? don't all teenagers climb trees ? they always used to.
I'd rather be disembowelled than impaled on a red hot poker, I'm sure most parents would probably be of the same viewpoint.
However, it's not an argument that being disembowelled is a good idea.
> I'd rather be disembowelled than impaled on a red hot poker...
I think if I was a teenager these days, I'd probably choose both soloing and sitting in a grotty basement snorting plant food and ketamine. I'm not saying my parents would be particularly enthusiastic about that though!
That's a pretty wack use of 'statistics'. Given that young people are generally the healthiest portion of the population, there's no huge war on etc. it's hardly surprising that accidents cause the majority of deaths.
Teenagers soloing. Brings back some great memories.
God almighty, what's it come to when this is a topic for discussion?
I was curious to know what the UKC response was to this topic. Its been really interesting so far with some mixed views.
all teenagers should be forced to solo.
sort some of the little wankers who think they are nails out.
> all teenagers should be forced to solo.
I think a more fair response to this thread is that they should not be discouraged from so doing.
When I was a teenager, I usually soloed in my bedroom. Often as much as 5 or 6 times a day. Sometimes more, at weekend.
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