Alex Honnold has continued his tour of the UK by stopping off at Fair Head, Northern Ireland. Yesterday evening he made a smooth solo ascent of The Complete Scream E8 6b - a 200ft blank wall climb made famous last year by Pete Whittaker's blu-tack and gaffa-tape ascent.
Awesome, anyone know how much of what he solos is onsight? Guess he pre-practices the really hard stuff, like that big wall in south America not long back. I'd be interested to know what the hardest thing that he's done onsight is, or anyone else for that matter.
Nice work. So lucky with the weather, he could clean up in the UK. The longest spell of ideal weather there's been in ages. Hope Scotland is on his list, and he manages to reach there before the clouds draw in.
He also soloed left wall, right wall, and memory lane and down-climbed cenotaph corner and cemetery gates at the cromlech, before roping up 'for the sport of it' to do lord of the flies. Pictures to follow...
In reply to Lenin: I think you have hit the mark here. These endeavours are only of value if they are done for the joy of completion by the individual who does so. If they are done for bravado or public recognition then that devalues them for me.
PS Watch out for the seagulls!
I think you can be fairly confident he's making good decisions. Imagine you were Alex Honnold and you were at Fairhead - you'd probably think that soloing The Complete Scream was the best thing to do - looks amazing, and it's either solo it or use blu-tack and gaffer tape. Someone probably said that was the gear required and he didn't know what they were talking about!
Its not as if he has a book out where he explains himself. Climbers are the last people you would expect to come out with this superstitious claptrap. All climbing is dangerous and we all choose our games. If climbers want to get at anyone for pushing the risk envelope try punters attempting Everest or top end himalayan climbers or even young climbers starting off in the Alps with no help; someone with a perfect soloing head dealing with projects the way Honnald does is down the list. This is what can happen in safe climbing: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68190.
In reply to Offwidth:
Spot on. He soloed Right Wall a couple of days ago and I led it for the first time yesterday. The thought of being on that too crux with no rope is the stuff of nightmares for me but it's a completely different game. It's about f6c on lovely solid rock and is escapable all the way up miles within his capabilities.
In reply to Duncan Campbell: obvious choice for E8 flash/on sight. Well protected crux and the rest of the run out is e5/6 standard. Maybe a touch harder right at the top but not that hard for a man of his calibre.
> Hmmm. Not sure how inspiring I find hard soloing. Hugely impressive yes, but not inspiring to me.
I see where you are coming from. He doesn't inspire me to solo, but he does inspire me to look at what holds me back mentally. I'm too quick to repeatedly retreat from the crux, burn out and fall...or grab the gear. Perhaps I could push it a bit more on a rope. Maybe I just need to train the mental aspect of my climbing just that little bit more to fulfill my physical potential?
In reply to paul29uk:
We're referring to his flash of the Dark side. Don't know if he had a rope but assuming he did. The crux is quite safe but a bloody hard move which would be very impressive if he soloed it.
In reply to Bobling: Well what he does is impressive but it's not cutting edge in terms of movement difficulty, what's the hardest sports route or boulder problem that he's done? There's the proverbial question "what's he ever done on Lime?" - something sounds wrong there
It seems to me that he picks his routes carefully when soloing to not be too steep - allows him to stay in control and rest when he needs to. Fair enough - I do the same when I'm soloing - I pick carefully - just at a much, much lower level.
At that particular climbing game he's certainly at the top - I hope it doesn't go pear shaped.
My French is so poor and rusty I got maybe half of what Alex was saying - does anyone speak good French who can give an opinion on how fluent he is? It sounded pretty good to me but nicely unaffected, I liked how he say a little phrase in English then have a go at translating it!
In reply to TobyA: Exactly, 8c+ is nowhere near cutting edge for sport redpoint (regardless of how far above punters like myself that might be). But he is good at what he does, and he seems like a nice guy.
His accent really isn't great, his vocab is sound but the finer points of his grammar lack accuracy. However, given how few native English speakers full stop, never mind native English speaking sports people, are capable of conducting an interview in a foreign language at any level I say hats off to him, it is an impressive effort.
Wow I just watched the video of the solo, made me feel ever so slightly sick but very impressive, and I just re-read the article here which says all he did was ab and check out some of the holds. That comes across in the video too as you see him checking some of the moves and holds out as he goes.
Not sure why my original question got some down votes, I find if incredible what he does and that some of it is onsight is mind blowing!