/ Hardest route ever onsight soloed?

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ilovetoclimb - on 11 Aug 2014
Just wondering if anyone knows what the hardest thing anyone has ever onsight soloed?

Sheer curiosity has made me wonder if anyone has ever walked up to an 8b or something and just went for it

biscuit - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Nik Jennings did an E8 o/s solo last year. No idea of the french grade though.
JIMBO on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Does DWS or high-ball padded out grit count?
ilovetoclimb - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to biscuit:
Hmm, not sure, DWS should probably not count unless you would kill/maim yourself if you fell.

I think high ball boulders with a high crux should count

On the other hand, routes with a very low crux shouldn't really count

Post edited at 21:17
Michael Gordon - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Julian Lines would probably be up there, particularly if you're talking about new routes.
Stevie989 - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Who's that dude that supposedly lied about his ascents? Did he not claim some unlikely dolomite multi pitch loose thing?

Julian lines has done some amazing routes. He's also fell and survived and alarmingly long way.
remus - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Stevie989:

You thinking of Rich simpson on the brandler-hasse? That only gets a meagre ~E5 in most guides.
Stevie989 - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Yeah that's the one. For some reason I thought it was graded harder than that.
Marek - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:
Alex Huber, Kommunist 8b+, 2004?
HeMa on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Marek:
> (In reply to ilovetoclimb)
> Alex Huber, Kommunist 8b+, 2004?

Hard, yes... OS, no
TMM - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Let's make it harder, how about solo new route.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=140035

Terra Cotta E6 6b. Old Redoubt. Dave Thomas. 1989.

Spicy enough for you?
purplemonkeyelephant - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

I'd consider the length of the routes too. Endurance solos like the triple mean maintaining that length of concentration and nerve for a whole day straight. Not sure if you just mean grade though...
stp - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Simon Nadin soloed Menopause (E5 6b) at Stoney Middleton but I don't know if it was onsight or not.

TMM: The Old Redoubt is directly above the sea so isn't that route more of a DWS?

If you're talking internationally then Alex Honnold is one of the best solo climbers around. There's footage of him climbing a multi pitch 5.12c crack (around 7b - 7b+) but I don't know if it was onsight.

It seems once you get to around 7b-ish, despite increased strength and endurance even the best climbers don't solo routes onsight. I would guess that's due to the fact that the routes are increasingly insecure, involve more committing climbing and have fewer rests.
Blue Straggler - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

>

> If you're talking internationally then Alex Honnold is one of the best solo climbers around. There's footage of him climbing a multi pitch 5.12c crack (around 7b - 7b+) but I don't know if it was onsight.

Lots of commentators far more qualified than me, cited Honnold's onsight solo of London Wall as being his crowning achievement on one of Team America's grit-crushing visits, even though he and his cohort onsight led harder stuff.
TMM - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

> Simon Nadin soloed Menopause (E5 6b) at Stoney Middleton but I don't know if it was onsight or not.

> TMM: The Old Redoubt is directly above the sea so isn't that route more of a DWS?


Hmm, tough crowd. At 90m in length Terra Cotta is far from your normal DWS territory.

I know that Caveman has been soloed with a high tide but my understanding is that this was not case when Dave put this one up.

Is any sea cliff now classified as DWS if it soloed? Seems to rather diminish the achievement of the ascent to lob it in with safe and fun DWS action whilst lauding some of the achievements on the outcrops.

john arran - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Onsight soloing has not been popular or cutting edge for a very long time. During the 80s people (including myself) would often onsight solo E4-E6 routes - sometimes first ascents - where a fall from the crux would effectively be terminal and I don't think that standard has hardly risen at all since then. Contrast that with other forms of climbing, where onsight sport grades have risen from around 7c or so to 9a in the same period! Rehearsed soloing too has seen significant standard rises, maybe from about 8a or so in the 80s to 8b+ or so now.
stp - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to TMM:

I don't know Terra Cotta but if the hard bit is in the cave at the bottom of the cliff, like the other routes, then I'd say its a lot more fall off-able than if it were above ground. That is you could quite easily get away without any injury which contrasts with certain injury or death if it was above hard ground.

I wouldn't say that DWS can always be termed as 'safe and fun'. I think a lot of it is still really bold and scary. But it is different from what is ordinarily described as soloing because, like lead climbing, falling off is possible.
andrewmcleod - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to TMM:

> Hmm, tough crowd. At 90m in length Terra Cotta is far from your normal DWS territory.

I think if you hit the sea from most of 90m up it is not going to feel much different to hitting the ground.
stp - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

The point is how hard is the climbing at 90m up? If its like the other routes on there the top half is likely to be considerably easier than the bottom section through the cave.
stp - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

London Wall is an impressive onsight solo but grade wise I think most people say it would be french 7a+.
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Toerag - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to stp:

It doesn't matter how hard it is, it's how likely holds are to break off. The top section is not overhanging, so should you break a bit of cliff off you're looking at an uncontrolled 'double screamer' of a fall...
victorclimber - on 12 Aug 2014
Bonatti Pillar
john arran - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Toerag:

> It doesn't matter how hard it is, it's how likely holds are to break off.

Holds don't just break off. They break off if you pull on them harder than they can handle, and this I assure you is something that can be judged to a reasonably high degree with enough loose rock experience. Not completely, of course, but then if you're climbing well within your grade you'll pull much harder moves so as to avoid anything even remotely suspect.
stp - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Toerag:

> It doesn't matter how hard it is, it's how likely holds are to break off.

The question of the this thread was: what's the hardest thing anyone has ever onsight soloed? And then the grade quoted was a french grade which is a difficulty rating. Nothing to do with looseness. Besides I've done a few routes at Berry Head, and I don't remember them being particularly loose anyway.
Graham Hoey - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply;

Simon Nadin did onsight Menopause.

The crux of Terra Cotta is sufficiently high enough to be a serious fall, particularly as there is a large rock in the sea which (if I recall correctly)could well be hard to avoid (even at high tide I'm not sure how far beneath the surface it is). I'm not sure Dave's ascent was onsight though.

On grit, the hardest pure onsight solos without mats seem to be at E7 (e.g. Monopoly at Millstone). The End of the Affair at E8 has been on-sighted, but technically it's not a solo, despite the possible deckout on the crux. Other E8 leads have been 'close' onsights where the ascentionists admit to having had a tiny bit of beta for the ascent or having watched a video some time before their own ascent. In this vein, Nik Jennings' solo ascent of Doug at the Roaches in 2002 is still particularly impressive.
Michael Gordon - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Toerag:

> The top section is not overhanging, so should you break a bit of cliff off you're looking at an uncontrolled 'double screamer' of a fall...

...which of course is much worse than a 70m fall without hitting anything on your way down?
Andy Moles - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

I'd have thought the British grading system doesn't give a simple answer to this, as a well-protected E5 is likely to be a harder onsight solo than a protectionless E6.

How about some of those super-high boulders in the Buttermilks etc? I wonder if stuff has been onsighted there harder than on grit?
alooker - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Ueli Steck on Annapurna!

Just kidding, I realise you mean on rock. No idea, but Honnold's OS solo of London Wall is up there for me, not sure I've heard of anything going OS above 7b or so
Quarryboy - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

Alex Honnold supposedly did Moonlight buttress onsight and that's meant to be about at least ten pitches of E5/6 or something totally ridiculous.
Just Another Dave - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to TMM:

> Let's make it harder, how about solo new route.


> Terra Cotta E6 6b. Old Redoubt. Dave Thomas. 1989.

> Spicy enough for you?

I'll see your onsight solo new route, and raise you one the same grade but nearly a decade earlier, and not above water:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=18905

Iguanodon, Jonny Woodward, 1980.

Spicier? Shorter, I know.


Andy Moles - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Quarryboy:

> Alex Honnold supposedly did Moonlight buttress onsight

He didn't.

"He had rehearsed the climb four times solo with a spool of fixed static line and a mini-traxion."
http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web08s/newswire-alex-honnold-solo-moonlight

TMM - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to Just Another Dave:

Same grade? Same tech grade I'll grant you.
Just Another Dave - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to TMM:

Ah, ukc's democratic voting. It gets E6 in Over T'Moors.
ByEek - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to ilovetoclimb:

For me, it would be Gooved Arete on Tryfan. Should have been easy, but from knights move upwards was sopping wet and I was committed. Terrifying. That E2 right of Eraser Slab at Earl crag was a doddle by comparison.

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