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Sep 24, 2013
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination R...
Kirby1013 wrote:
It's the end of the day and I decide to do one more lap. My wife says no way but I'll belay you. At this point I plan to climb up then rap back down cleaning everything on the way back down. After I get about half way up I have thoughts of wallking off the top and not placing any gear. I end up getting to the top without placing any pro. I untie my doubles and let them fall to the bottom. When I get back to my wife she has a look of amazement and says "awesome" then giggles. I'm not much of a climber so when I get back to a phone I tell all my buddies. Some say the word solo but I'm not so sure. Is it soloing if you're carrying screws, draws and a rope? Either way It was super fun and felt good to able to control my fear.


To me, soloing is solo- out there on your own, self sufficient. No one to belay you, no one to save you, no one to hear your last curdling scream. I've gotten through roped pitches without placing gear- that's not soloing, to me. That's just running it all out. Just as dangerous? I guess it can be, depending. But not "soloing."

The word is obviously super subjective.
Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Joined Jun 24, 2011
267 points
Sep 24, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenste...
Ben Beckerich wrote:
To me, soloing is solo- out there on your own, self sufficient. No one to belay you, no one to save you, no one to hear your last curdling scream. I've gotten through roped pitches without placing gear- that's not soloing, to me. That's just running it all out. Just as dangerous? I guess it can be, depending. But not "soloing." The word is obviously super subjective.


That's what I said!! My feeling was if anything went wrong (dropped tool or crampon fell off) I could just fire in a screw, build a v thread and be lowered or rap.
Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Joined Jul 21, 2012
143 points
Sep 28, 2013
Magic Ed
I agree with Ben. Real soloing means you are truly alone, no audience, no photographers. Otherwise I just consider it a circus stunt. Ed Wright
Joined May 14, 2006
332 points
Sep 28, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
I only free solo when I'm bouldering. Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Joined Aug 15, 2008
357 points
Sep 28, 2013
At the BRC
climbon101 wrote:
What are some of your opinions on soloing?


Usually not a good idea to fall.
Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Joined Nov 29, 2007
200 points
Sep 28, 2013
OTL
advice
advice
Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Joined Oct 20, 2010
501 points
Sep 28, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
Matt N wrote:
advice


he checks out.
Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Joined Aug 15, 2008
357 points
Sep 28, 2013
I eat crack for breakfast.
The risks we take in climbing are not our own. If you die soloing (or get crippled or brained into a vegetative state), the group of people who get hurt is the exact group of people you never want to hurt: the people who give a s*** about you. Had a friend die soloing this year... The hardest part about it was not the loss of the friend, but the thought of his wife he left behind.

But if that's your true calling, and the benefits of following this calling outweigh the costs of the pain it'll cause your friends and family if you bite the dust doing it, then go for it. The ones who mind don't matter and the ones who matter won't mind.
Alex Washburne
Joined Apr 29, 2010
74 points
Sep 28, 2013
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
I solo once or twice a year. Always well under my limit. My last was The Prow on Kit Carson. The heightened senses, the knowledge of it's all on me are just a couple of reasons. Solo climbing fills me with a clarity and joy which is hard for me to find elsewhere.

My wife is very supportive and has never discouraged me. When we met 25 years ago I was soloing quite a bit. She knows the risk. She also sees the reward plastered on my face when I return. If I had children I believe I would have stopped.

Risk is everywhere in this life. Reward is only for those who have chosen to embrace it. Business is the same way. Nobody succeeds without taking a little risk. Some of us just like to take it a little further.

Kirby, my solos are always in the high peaks and I always carry some gear in case I have to rap. Plus a bivy, emergency blanket, pocket rocket with a small pot, cup of soups and some energy bars stashed away just in case. Same set up as if I had a partner just pared down for one.










s.price
From PS,CO
Joined Dec 1, 2010
1,366 points
Sep 28, 2013
Alex Washburne wrote:
If you die soloing (or get crippled or brained into a vegetative state), the group of people who get hurt is the exact group of people you never want to hurt: the people who give a s*** about you.

This is very true, important to think about often -- and I do.

But it applies to lots more things than soloing. I suspect that in most years more people die (or get very seriously hurt) in roped climbing than in solo climbing.
I feel very sure that more people die each year in unnecessary car-driving or car-passengering than die soloing.

Are people supposed to turn down a friend's offer to drive them to a Saturday-evening string-quartet concert because of the grief they would cause family + friends if they got killed by a drunk driver?
Especially since driving to a concert is an obviously unnecessary risk.

If string-quartet-concert drivers and roped climbers are permitted to take unnecessary risks, why is it especially important to give a special warning to soloists?

Roped climbers also take on two additional sources of hazard which soloists do not: (1) mis-communication and (2) failure to exactly follow anchor and belay set-up procedures.
For sure many roped climbers die or get disabled-for-life as a result of either one of those two additional hazards - many times with sad impact on family and close friends. Almost no soloists ever die that way.

Roped climbers are taking on well-known additional fatal risks -- to achieve a socially unnecessary goal (and arguably with less reward than from soloing).

So why not rather deliver a special warning about grief-impact-on-family to those who choose to climb roped?
kenr
Joined Oct 29, 2010
1,544 points
Sep 28, 2013
Rrrrr
never solo and eat a ham sandwich without an axe Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
1,499 points
Sep 28, 2013
A ham sandwich with Swiss is easier to digest Mark Pilate
Joined Jun 25, 2013
11 points
Sep 29, 2013
beer
I think the best answer is who gives a f*ck. The best argument is it selfish, if you die you effect many others. But if you talk to many famous mountaineers wives & family they will tell you they knew it would end them, but they could never try to stop them. we do what we want & that is how boundaries are pushed, danger is a part of everything but it is generally the smarter individuals that conquer fear & push the envelope. people care to much about others opinions to much obligatory courtesy. verticalbound
Joined Jan 18, 2013
21 points
Sep 29, 2013
Colonel Mustard
Soloing just is. I'm not really cut out for it, but more power to those who are. Colonel Mustard
Joined Sep 13, 2005
1,382 points
Sep 29, 2013
Tube
Always let a soloist pass you on a trad route and never say "be careful" June Mar
Joined Sep 20, 2013
35 points
Sep 29, 2013
Bachar used to call it "souloing" shreddy
From Frisco, CO
Joined Jul 19, 2010
2 points
Sep 29, 2013
Lost Cities 5.12a,Black Canyon,CO
"soloing is a gift reserved for the best climbers, on their best days"-John Bouchard justin dubois
From Estes Park
Joined Jan 2, 2001
625 points
Sep 29, 2013
...
"If you die soloing (or get crippled or brained into a vegetative state), the group of people who get hurt is the exact group of people you never want to hurt: the people who give a s*** about you."

Might as well go ahead and quit, as the same thing can be said for ALL climbing.

EDITED:

And snow skiing, scuba diving, Base jumping, skateboard, driving your car, walking out the door, etc...

Fuck! Just QUIT all together and commit suicide!

"Yer GONNA die!!!"

Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Joined Oct 13, 2002
2,394 points
Sep 29, 2013
"Scott" at the tunnel
If somebody feels the risk is worth is to them then fuck the rest.....
Climbing is dangerous no matter how you go about it, some forms being far more dangerous than the others soloing being one of them. If you don't want to take risk don't climb, and sure as hell don't judge somebody else for taking more risk than you are willing too.
Taylor J
From new mexico, new england
Joined Nov 30, 2010
363 points
Sep 29, 2013
I eat crack for breakfast.
kenr wrote:
So why not rather deliver a special warning about grief-impact-on-family to those who choose to climb roped?


I'm not trying to say people shouldn't solo; I'm trying to say that people should be aware of the more subtle risks they take when they do. I know many soloists and few are explicitly aware of the pain and suffering their preventable death would cause their loved ones, and as such their decision to solo, a decision made by weighing costs and benefits, is based on an incomplete assessment of the risks. If the benefits you gain from soloing outweigh the costs of your death (which won't matter to you in retrospect) and the grief of your loved ones, and if you can't find anything else that has greater net benefits (i.e. walking your dog? spending the evening with your significant other? trail running?) then sure, go for it.

I, personally, try not to solo (though runouts, 4th class approaches/downclimbs, and other effectively unroped adventures happen, I try to avoid). I do this because, for me, an expected 70 year life with intermediate adventure is far superior to an expected 80 year life with none and an expected 40 year life with too much. Do what you want, I just recommend that you don't fall on me, that you keep your loved ones in mind when making the decision, and that you be compassionate for the mountain rescuers and their families you might recklessly endanger in the event you push it too far and want help, or you might traumatize in the event of a body recovery.

As a side-note, the claim that roped climbers take on greater risk is just silly - roped climbers can mitigate the risk a great deal by ensuring clear communication about lowering/rappelling, cross-checking belay devices & tie-in points, tying stopper knots, finding trustworthy partners, and climbing within their abilities. If the (false) dichotomy is between soloing and na´ve, reckless roped climbing then, sure, roped climbers have more components of the system (but even then whether or not their net risk is greater than soloists depends on the degree of recklessness).

The driving-to-string-quartet analogy, which I interpret as saying "you can die doing anything, therefore it's irrelevant if you choose to do things that make you more likely to die," fails to incorporate a premise of my own (and, I suspect, many others') reasoning that time spent living is good and the tradeoff comes from time spent doing fun yet risky things is better than time spent doing nothing (though I, personally, think time spent doing nothing isn't too bad - after all, that's why I'm sitting here writing on MP ;-D).
Alex Washburne
Joined Apr 29, 2010
74 points
Sep 29, 2013
someone elsess soloing doesn't concern you.


Now this is actually dangerous...

independent.co.uk/life-style/h...
PosiDave
Joined Dec 7, 2011
3 points
Sep 29, 2013
...
"I'm not trying to say people shouldn't solo; I'm trying to say that people should be aware of the more subtle risks they take when they do."


Really NOT trying to be a dick here. But I seriously doubt if there is a single soloist out there that is unaware of the ground below.
Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Joined Oct 13, 2002
2,394 points
Sep 29, 2013
Our less than official sponsor!
Matt, I laughed my head off at that. Christian "crisco" Burrell
From PG, Utah
Joined May 18, 2007
2,275 points
Sep 29, 2013
Soloing is only meaningful if you have a sponsor. chuffnugget
From Bolder, CO
Joined Sep 14, 2011
22 points
Sep 29, 2013
Hot n'Bothered 5.10b on the Long Wall at Summersvi...
I've never deliberately soloed before, but through experience with highball boulders and R-rated trad routes I can understand why some people are attracted to soloing. Personally, when I engage with these routes, it is mainly about being attracted to a line and being able to channel that attraction and your motivation to do the route into a headspace where falling can't be part of your thought process. Although it can be mentally taxing, there are very few times I have felt better while climbing than on routes where a fall could end up in the hospital. If what you're looking to get out of climbing is best acquired through soloing then that is your business and it's not my place to judge you. But at the same time, it's important to be soloing for the right reasons, and not because of some sort of external pressure. zach ruswick
From Grand Ledge, MI
Joined Jun 25, 2012
11 points


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