/ NEWS: Honnold free solos El Sendero Luminoso

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UKC News - on 17 Jan 2014
Alex Honnold at the Green river, Utah, 4 kbAmerican free soloist Alex Honnold has free soloed the 15 pitch/500m El Sendero Luminoso at Potrero Chico, Mexico.
The climb is highly technical and very sustained with 11 out of the 15 pitches being in the 5.12-range (7a+-7c).
Alex climbed the route a few times together with Cedar Wright, who...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68652
purplemonkeyelephant - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Very hard to fathom this achievement. Makes me want to go to Mexico though!
SGD - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Consistantly amazing.

Mark Collins - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Ah, but what's he ever done on gabbro?
jon_gill1 - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

he has climbed harder English grit routes than I and most other mere mortals will ever climb!

So even if someone wanted to use that line they couldn't!

chris fox on 17 Jan 2014
JH74 - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to chris fox:

One of the comments on that page made me laugh.

""Imagine you were climbing the hardest ladder you could think of. Now make that ladder 300 ft tall. That's probably how long this climb is, which is pretty f-ing nutz.""

Too true.
Guy Atkinson - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to jon_gill1:

Onsight Solo of London Wall too?
jon_gill1 - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to Guy Atkinson:

yeah he did and managed to onsight Masters edge!
Mike Lewis - on 17 Jan 2014
“Once I started up, I was like this is awesome. I didn’t blow a single foot—like a ballerina.”

Somehow I don't find this very reassuring...
JohnnyW - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

I find him mind-bogglingly awesome (and I hate the modern over-use of this word, but can think of no other better), and yet disarmingly modest.

I do hope he manages to keep his composure on his climbs until he realises how mad a thing it is he's doing!
MikeStuart26 on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

I love that this has become a thing:
"Did I hear "What has he ever done on grit?"?
Didn't think so..."

Excellent.

But more importantly, what has he ever done on the slate?
Fraser on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

Is that the same route Leo Houlding did a few years back, (and featured on a tv documentary), when he was coming back from rehab after a bad ankle injury, and the one on which a previous climbing partner of his had died?
JJL - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

It's going to be very sad when the inevitable happens.

Simonfarfaraway - on 17 Jan 2014
In reply to JJL:
Yes it is
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to JJL: His girlfriend gets pregnant and he stops soloing? Or something else?

USBRIT - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:Thankfully there are still a FEW climbers pushing the boat out... more so without a mattress at the bottom !

Dave Foster - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

No. When a hold breaks and he dies. He's incredible but I'll be amazed if he keeps getting away with it.
andrewmcleod - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to USBRIT:

For every climber that gets themselves killed there will be an increased chance of calls for regulation of the 'extreme dangerous sport'...
1poundSOCKS - on 18 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Foster: I know what he was saying, I was just making the point that it's not inevitable.

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Jonny2vests - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> For every climber that gets themselves killed there will be an increased chance of calls for regulation of the 'extreme dangerous sport'...

There is no sign whatsoever of that happening. And for what its worth, Alex Honnold also uses a mattress at the bottom when its clearly common sense to do so.
Dave Foster - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Paul Williams, Jimmy Jewel, Derek Hersey etc etc etc.... These guys were bold climbers. By now they would be old climbers.
1poundSOCKS - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Foster: I'm sure we both know it's not inevitable. Not sure what point you're making?

Michael Gordon - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Foster:

Most bold climbers don't become 'old, bold climbers'. This is not because they die but because they become old.
Robert Durran - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> Most bold climbers don't become 'old, bold climbers'. This is not because they die but because they become old.

But no longer bold.

The thing that somehow worries me most about Honnold is not that the "inevitable" might happen (he is pesumably well aware of the risks), but that someone might well be filming it.
Post edited at 11:43
Bloke on a Rope - on 19 Jan 2014
In reply to Mark Collins:

I did Recess Route (diff) at Snail Shell Crag on gabbro last week, and it was raining! Kiss the guns!!!
In reply to Dave Foster:

> Paul Williams, Jimmy Jewel, Derek Hersey etc etc etc....

Etc. etc. who exactly? It must be 20 years either this year or next since Paul's tragic accident, and a bit more since Hersey died. Jewel died in the 80s wasn't it. Reardon died within the last decade, but that was a freak wave not a fall. Of course there will always be accidents with climbers climbing alone, but it thankfully isn't that common.

I agree with Robert that it is the filming of Honnold that makes it particularly worrying. I've watched one film of him soloing but haven't watched any since because I really hope doing it for an audience plays absolutely no part in his decisions, but worry that it might.

johncoxmysteriously - on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:

>Etc. etc. who exactly?

Well, Tony Willmott, obviously. That chap who was killed soloing on Raven Crag – John Taylor? And the regular Stoney dosser on Peeping Tom on the Wastad – Nigel something? Others would know better than me.

(PW was June 1995. I remember because I'd just bought my car and was on the way up to the Peak to go soling at Froggatt when I opened OTE at a service station and read about it. I went somewhere else.

jcm
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Don't know about those cases - were they a long time ago?

My point was only that fortunately it's not a common event.
johncoxmysteriously - on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to TobyA:

TW sixties or early 70s, the other two the 80s.

jcm
Skyfall - on 20 Jan 2014
In reply to JJL:

> It's going to be very sad when the inevitable happens.

I have to say that I found this comment rather inappropriate. The risks are obvious. This thread should be about applauding his achievement despite those risks. Even as a rather risk averse climber, that is my reaction.

I'm not saying such thoughts don't enter my mind but perhaps a separate thread about the risks of soloing would have been a better idea. I mean, if the worst does happen, are you going to post a comment saying "I told you so"?
Post edited at 17:25
madasten - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to JJL:

To non-climbers I can understand the instant "whoah - that guy must have a death wish!" response, however I'm still quite surprised by how people in the climbing community are responding to Honnold soloing. There are many ways to reduce risk which include using ropes & gear, pre-practicing the moves, cleaning the route, mental preparation, self-confidence and consistent mental strength on the route. We all know that using ropes and gear doesn't remove 100% of risk. In fact if the gear isn't looked after and used properly it can actually inspire confidence to go for a move in a dangerous position only to find that the gear rips out, or the karabiner breaks, or the rope snaps, or the knot wasn't actually tied...

Honnold shuns gear but he is blessed with an incredible self-confidence and an ability not to get phased so that he always climbs at his best. He also pre-practices the route several times in advance and spends a lot of time assessing whether or not to do a particular climb if it's hard. I would suggest that he is climbing more safely than some of us, despite us using gear.

At the end of the day, "the inevitable" applies to all of us.
johncoxmysteriously - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to madasten:

WTF do people find the word 'fazed' so hard to spell? You'd think the word 'phase' was a clue that 'phased' is something that happens to traffic lights and not to people.

jcm
Tom Last - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> >Etc. etc. who exactly?

> Well, Tony Willmott, obviously. That chap who was killed soloing on Raven Crag – John Taylor? And the regular Stoney dosser on Peeping Tom on the Wastad – Nigel something? Others would know better than me.

>

Also John Bachar...
madasten - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

So sorry.
Phil Kelly - on 23 Jan 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to TobyA)
>
> >Etc. etc. who exactly?
>
> And the regular Stoney dosser on Peeping Tom on the Wastad – Nigel something?

Noddy (Ian Molnar)
JimboWizbo - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Does the W in WTF mean 'Why' now?
jon on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to madasten:

> but he is blessed with an incredible self-confidence and an ability not to get phased so that he always climbs at his best. He also pre-practices the route several times in advance and spends a lot of time assessing whether or not to do a particular climb if it's hard.

Do you really think that John Bachar, Jimmy Jewell, Paul Williams, Derek Hersey etc etc WEREN'T blessed with similar amounts of self confidence?

> I would suggest that he is climbing more safely than some of us, despite us using gear.

Hmmm, speak for yourself! Watch the clip of film where he slips on Mt Watkins...
Robert Durran - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to jon:

> Do you really think that John Bachar, Jimmy Jewell, Paul Williams, Derek Hersey etc etc WEREN'T blessed with similar amounts of self confidence?

Absolutely. I used to solo loads of stuff only a grade or two below my leading limit. Nowadays I feel slightly sick just thinking about what could very easily have gone wrong. Self delusion and self confidence are really quite closely related.
Bob on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to jon:

That Mt Watkins clip is genuinely scary.

I used to solo a lot and also to within a grade or so of my absolute limit, for shorter routes say less than 20 metres sometimes at my limit.

Like RD I get sweats thinking about what could have gone wrong. One that springs to mind was on Scafell - I was soloing Moss Gill Grooves but managed to miss the step right in to the upper groove and ended up on the face. I carried on and after making a move that I thought was a bit hard for MVS realised I'd gone wrong! I had no option but to continue, fortunately the rest of the line was easier. It's now part of an E1.
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Robert Durran - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Bob:

> Like RD I get sweats thinking about what could have gone wrong.

The scariest thing is going back on the routes years later. Aged 19 I soloed Centurion on Ben Nevis having only ever led a handful of E1's. Going back on it last summer as a solid E3 leader, carefully climbing the barn-doory slopey footed upper crux all I could think was "Just what the f*** was I thinking? JUST WHAT THE F*** WAS I THINKING?".
jon on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

I remember when you clocked up an impressive list of solos around N Wales...

john arran - on 24 Jan 2014
Clearly you've all gone old, soft and responsible!

;-)
Bob on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to john arran:

And breakable!
Robert Durran - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to john arran:

> Clearly you've all gone old, soft and responsible!

So will the likes of Honnold and Steck eventually........hopefully....
puppythedog on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

I saw ueli Steck speak last night in London. He sounded as thouhg he has a reasonable grasp of risk and also that as a consequence he won't do any more speed ascents in the alps and seemingly nothing like Annapurna again.
Robert Durran - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to puppythedog:

> I saw ueli Steck speak last night in London. He sounded as thouhg he has a reasonable grasp of risk and also that as a consequence he won't do any more speed ascents in the alps and seemingly nothing like Annapurna again.

So Steck is now officially old, soft and responsible. That's a relief.
sbc_10 - on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to puppythedog:

> ... he won't do any more speed ascents in the alps and seemingly nothing like Annapurna again.

Yes, but he has now set a record time, and you know what happens next.
Even foetuses will be donning their spikes.

puppythedog on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to sbc_10:

His speed record on the Eiger was broken a little while ago and he was asked about join again but said he won't.
puppythedog on 24 Jan 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

just need Honold to buy some slippers now and we can relax :-)
Offwidth - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to UKC News:

good article here including some insights from the man himself and another famous soloist:

http://www.dpmclimbing.com/articles/view/honnold%E2%80%99s-solo-you-won%E2%80%99t-believe-article

1poundSOCKS - on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to puppythedog: I thought the guy who broke Steck's Eiger speed record didn't do it in as good style, he used the fixed ropes whereas Steck didn't?

puppythedog on 25 Jan 2014
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

indeed true, but that didn't stop the media asking Ueli if he was going to go again. He said no.

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