Potter Solos In Yosemite With BASE parachute rig

In August, the American climber Dean Potter made a "BASE solo" (or FreeBASE) of Deep Blue Sea (7b+, 300m, Rathmaier-Ruhstaller, 2001) on the west side of the north face of The Eiger, Switzerland (UKC News Report: Aug 10) .

The question asked by many climbers was when would somebody make a BASE solo of a big wall, particularly in Yosemite, perhaps of The Nose or the Salathé Wall? They are certainly tall enough at 3,000 feet (over 900m). The answer from our BASE and Yosemite expert is that such big walls have slabs and a slabby apron and that it would be difficult for a BASE soloist to orient themselves and fly away from the wall - if they fell off a move.

However some Yosemite walls are steep enough, Rock and Ice reports:

"The soloist Dean Potter has made the first solo of the Alien Roof (5.12b .. E5 6b)) on the Rostrum in Yosemite.

For his solo of this very exposed, thin variation to the Rostrum, Potter wore a 5-pound BASE parachute rig. While BASE jumping in national parks is illegal, free soloing while wearing a parachute is not, and the technique affords a small modicum of safety in the event of a fall, assuming you can orient yourself properly mid-air, deploy your chute and fly away from the wall rather than into it. All of this, of course, before hitting the ground. Potter soloed to Alien via Rostrum North Face, an 800-foot, eight pitch 5.11c, considered one of the Valley's finest long crack lines."


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18 Nov, 2008
Not long before an ejector versions of the suits are seen at weekends at Stanage then?
18 Nov, 2008
Interesting, that to comply with the law, a successful BASE Solo would not be possible, as the 'chute is worn for back-up, a successful solo would require that the jump is voluntary, thus breaking national park laws. Unless of course the climber claimed, having successfully solo'd that they were about to downclimb and slipped, necessitating the use of the 'chute.
18 Nov, 2008
An inspiring and creative style of climbing - I wonder if it will catch on ? BTW The Rostrum is a superb route but it isn't an 800ft crack as your write-up suggests.
18 Nov, 2008
This is quite a lot less impressive than actually soloing the thing.
18 Nov, 2008
Are there any reports that anyone actually used their parachite in an emergency?
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