Alex Honnold's Big Balls in Bishop

© Wills Young
Alex Honnold on Too big to flail  © Wills Young
Alex Honnold on Too big to flail
© Wills Young

Alex Honnold is doing what he can to blurr the border between highballing and soloing. Recently, in the Buttermilks at Bishop, California, he made the first ascent of Too Big to Flail, a ~14m "problem" on the Luminance Block.

According to Bishop Bouldering

"This line [...] involves some thin v9 [7C] face climbing at about 20 feet [6m] up, followed by the most airy hard moves at the Buttermilks to gain the top of the boulder."

Even the cool as cucumber Alex Honnold admits that he was:

"...shaking a bit up there. It's f***ing scary!"

34 pads or not, I can't help but wondering when "big balls" will be replaced by "broken bones".

REEL ROCK, who had a team there filming, has a clip on of Alex working the line on their facebook page.

Alex Honnold is sponsored by: The North Face, La Sportiva, Black Diamond, New England Ropes and Clifbar

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16 Jan, 2012
There's no blurred line there Bjorn. That's a solo. E
16 Jan, 2012
Absolutely - I'd want my e points not some measly high-ball tick!
16 Jan, 2012
Seriously scary and there's no way I'd attempt it. It doesn't look like 34 mats in that photo, does it, more like half that.
16 Jan, 2012
The mats arent piled up on each other, more spread to enlargen the catchment area. So its not like falling on super soft ground either..
16 Jan, 2012
And compare that to the mere 2 mats used by Jorg Verhoeven on Ambrosia and Katharina Saurwein on This Side of Paradise. As for whether it's highballing or soloing - well, there are loads of other problems in the Bishop area where you end up at a height you wouldn't want to fall from, but they're still just boulder problems with V grades - that's the local ethic. This one is just an extreme example!
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