/ Hardest route 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
Nik Jennings did an E8 o/s solo last year. No idea of the french grade though.
Does DWS or high-ball padded out grit count?
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
Julian Lines would probably be up there, particularly if you're talking about new routes.
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.
You thinking of Rich simpson on the brandler-hasse? That only gets a meagre ~E5 in most guides.
Yeah that's the one. For some reason I thought it was graded harder than that.
Alex Huber, Kommunist 8b+, 2004?
> Alex Huber, Kommunist 8b+, 2004?
Hard, yes... OS, no
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think if you hit the sea from most of 90m up it is not going to feel much different to hitting the ground.
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.
London Wall is an impressive onsight solo but grade wise I think most people say it would be french 7a+.
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...
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.
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.
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.
...which of course is much worse than a 70m fall without hitting anything on your way down?
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?
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
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.
I'll see your onsight solo new route, and raise you one the same grade but nearly a decade earlier, and not above water:
Iguanodon, Jonny Woodward, 1980.
Spicier? Shorter, I know.
"He had rehearsed the climb four times solo with a spool of fixed static line and a mini-traxion."
Same grade? Same tech grade I'll grant you.
Ah, ukc's democratic voting. It gets E6 in Over T'Moors.
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.
Elsewhere on the site
Backpackers want an extremely liveable and lightweight tent at good price. MSR answers the call with the Elixir 2 tent and... Read more
Skiing Baffin’s couloirs has been on my to do list ever since I saw Andrew McLean and Brad Barlage’s inspirational... Read more
2012 saw the release of the beautiful first volume of definitive Yorkshire Gritstone climbing, produced by the YMC with Robin... Read more
The Kendal Mountain Festival 2014 proved once again to be a busy and inspiring four days of films, photos, music, art... Read more
The Women's Mountain Equipment Cho Oyu Jacket is the perfect choice for female mountaineers an explorers who... Read more