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Forum: GLOBAL / Editorial / The Free Solo competition is dead - Honnold won Login in to contribute
The Free Solo competition is dead - Honnold won
OffLine 8a.nu
  2019-01-17 00:00:00    
FREE SOLO is the mind blowing documentary of Alex Honnold preparing and, without a rope, climbs the 900 meters Freerider 7c in Yosemite. Watching him training and doing the boulder crux was almost like watching a horror movie. He and his girlfriend come out as such nice people and just thinking about him falling 900 meters to the ground... On the other hand, there is probably a greater risk trying to summit K2...
Photograph © 2018 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.

Alex has recorded 961 climbs including three 8c+'. This is his comment of Freerider which he did 17-06-03."Solo! 3:56 on route. The end of an epic life dream. Such an experience. Logged it as a boulder problem - thanks 8a."

8a has a general policy to not publish solo or death potential climbs but we have often made exceptions for Alex Honnold, as his free solos are out there anyway. The very good thing with Freerider is that he has probably more or less killed the free solo genre. Sure some will continue to climb without a rope but the competition is over.
Click to Enlarge Picture
OffLine Ben Clark
  2019-01-18 11:35:37    
I just love the throwaway comments on this site like " On the other hand, there is probably a greater risk trying to summit K2". Said with such conviction.
OffLine Jason Crank
  2019-01-18 12:49:51    
"Sure some will continue to climb without a rope but the competition is over."
If you saw it as a competition, you should not be free soloing. Not everything in life is for ordering, and ranking, and competing. Having a competitive mindset in that situation is a surefire way to make bad decisions and push outside the zone where you know you have it on lock.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-01-18 12:55:39    
If you have seen the film, you can clearly see that this was also about soloing the hardest route in the world. Honnold wanted to set a new standard high above what had been achieved before. If you raise against what you and others have done before, clearly it could also be called a competition.

Honnold said in the end of the film that most probably he will never do such thing again and he doubts whether this is possible :)
OffLine Pano .
  2019-01-18 13:14:38    
@Jason, my thoughts exactly.. on the one hand 8a doesn't want to publish solos, but we do anyway because others do and then we further excuse our competition comments because Alex "apparently" find it competing.. i find it funny since it is about climbing but please god never give this site any important political opinions because we would be damned to hell ha ha
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-01-18 13:50:16    
This is not news but my personal opinion. 8a have over the years received several emails asking for publicity for solo ascents. "If I solo that 8b will you write about it?" We never encourage climbers to do so. One of the big magazines asked a youngster to solo it again in order to take pictures.

You could in fact say that because of Honnold's solo, possibly the runner-ups will take less risk. What would be the purpose, in regards media attention, to solo a 200 meter 7b+ when Honnold soloed a 900 meter 7c.I think it is good that there will be less competition in the solo category as everyone is way behind Honnold.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2019-01-18 17:54:23    
Don't you remember that Hansjörg Auer soloed The Fish on the south face of Marmalada in the Dolomites? That was back in 2007. If I remember correctly it was done with minimal pre-inspection, and would have gone completely unnoticed unless another team on the wall coincidentally witnessed the deed and snapped a few photos. Do you really think he did that to prove he was the best Jens? Most likely it was a dream years in the making. At the time he was completely anonymous with no intention of publicity. Go figure...
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-18 19:18:09    
Hey guys, come one the statement the competition is dead will probably just fire it up.
Alain Robert free soled 8b in the Verdon Gorge, which is quite airy as well. And for sure Hansn's (Hansjörgs Auers) feat in 2007 is probably unsurpassed in terms of free soloing with almost no pre-inspection a route which requires super exact moves and with moves that are difficult to read and impossible to reverse. Hansjörg climbed it years before but did not manage to do the route.
Then he abseiled down inspected the crux moves. that's it. For me totally outlandish if you know how tricky the route is. Ask Babsi Zangerl about her opinion of the route. Is Alex up to the challenge to free solo the same route under the same conditions of Hansjörg?
Impossible to tell because how can you compare these things (fittness of the climber, conditions, pre-inspection .... you name it..) And of course totally impossible to emulate the same circumstances, back then for both climbers. Both are landmark ascents and are totally equal in my opinion. Even Allain Roberts free solo in the 80s and 90s are equal. Hey it's the 80s!!!! And lets not forget Alex Huber, and countless other guys that dont post their ascents. Voytek Kurtyka one of the best 8000er guys ever climed 7c free solo and 8a+ in his 40s..
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-18 19:22:34    
... Read the "The Art of Freedom" deeply recommended!!
OffLine pbla4024
  2019-01-18 19:29:27    
8b by Robert was at Buoux, La nuit du lézard. At Verdon he did Polpot, 7c+.
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-18 19:30:01    
sorry for creating the nuisance but forgot to mention Beat Kammerlanders free solo of Mordillo in Voralpsee way back in time..
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-18 19:31:24    
Thannk you pbla4024 you are right! :-) La nuit du lezard is horrific if you think about the nature of the climb...
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-01-18 19:48:54    
We have seen many free solos during the years but Freerider is on another level. In comparison to the progression in number of climbers and level, solo climbing, beside Honnold, have been in regression during the last years.

@ Hans: Auer had climbed the route before and the day before he rappell down to check the hardest sequences. Most of the 7b+ route is graded 6. One week after the ascent he did part of it again in order to get some pictures so to say he only did it for himself is not correct.

It is just natural that also solo climbers seek attention as this can create sponsorships etc, i.e. there is somewhat a competition.
OffLine User Deactivated
  2019-01-18 21:16:44    
For once, you are right. My mistake. Anyways, its funny how you are unable to identify the fact that you are biased towards your own understanding of the world when making bold statements. You are in no position to project yourself as an authority figure in climbing just because you are running this outdated, shitty fucking website. What is truly amazing is the tenacity you must have to be able to repeat the same shit over and over and over again like a fucking east-bloc propaganda machine.
OffLine Jens Jensson
  2019-01-18 21:35:28    
Wow, i think nobody said it better till now. Just made an account to applaude this. But please note that you are dead wrong! :) Haha but then again the only reason i read 8a is because of the bullshit-conspiracyesque-spreading-genius Jens is :) Keep it up Jens :) :) :) keep the alive right swagger going
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-18 22:05:14    
last one here for me on that topic:

Thomas Bubendorfer with lots of publicicy at the time in 1988

Five-Faces-Enchaînement, in 1988 in the Dolomites 5 faces in one day: all 3 North Faces "Drei Zinnen or tre cime die lavaredo,Comci/Cassin (VII+), Marmolata Southface („Schwalbenschwanz“ with „Don Quixote“-Variation VI+) and North-West Face Sass Pordoi („Via Niagara“ VI+) . 3000 Meters of sheer climbing in one Day .... back in 1988 with Helicopter Transfer. Stirred some controversy back then because of the helicopter transfer. BTW: The Limestone Quality of those routes is not really trusworthy comparing to granite. Imagine the fatiguee combined with comparitavely poor rock quality.

Climbing took place live on stage. A helicoper filmed the climber...he mentioned the worst thing was feeling the stirred air and the noise of the helicopter.. Alex probably could fly up these routes grade wise ... but how did it feel back in 1988?. No plastic training possiblities. Climbing shoes not up to todays standards.... every generation produces different champions (Barber, Bachar, Gullich, Yabo, ... John Gill 7b Free Solo The Thimble in 1961 (!) without sticky rubber boots
OffLine JLH
  2019-01-19 11:50:42    
Free Solo 'competition' is dead since 1800, when Valentin Stanič made free solo FA(!) of Watzmann, the highest peak of Germany ;)

Calling Alex's ascent the greatest achievement in (even free solo) climbing is ignorant and disrespectful to the climbing history. These are of course not Alex's words, he is IMO a nice, modest guy.
OffLine rai
  2019-01-19 15:54:24    
Alain Robert Polpot on Verdon is probably more impressive. And the solo of Auer did on the Fish is not to underestimate...
Regarding Alain which I had the chance to climb with for several months in the early 90’s, at the time he was warming up without rope on a 7c, and he was soloing 8b (Gorges d’Omblèze, which is a traverse into a 7c), when his maximum level on rope was 8b+. On la Nuit du Lézard he was able to climb up and climb down every move from the top which is quite sleepery (personally tested). I reccon that Face Ouest in Buoux is not a big wall but his solos in Verdon need the same balls at least than in El Cap...
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-19 16:28:06    
Thanks Rai for the interesting history! These nuances are most wonderful and really do create more insight and emotion then just a blank statement "he is the best (in case of Alex), this is the best, this is the next level etc.." advertising crap... People love Alex because of his modest character more then because he soloed something. For sure people also respect progress, just beeing nice a nice guy is not enough to create history and beeing remembered
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-19 16:52:50    
... and you know why Alex's effort is considered # one, by the majority of the uninformed mass?

- because its El Capitan (histrocally Americans vote for El Cap..)
- because it happened recently (people have a short lived memory)
- advertising
- and Alex's previous achievements

... but not because Freerider is the hardest or scariest free solo climb of all time. It probably would be if it would have been on limestone with shitty rock sections. but on granite it is a matter of precision and preparation and mind. Alex mentioned that all the famous guys died on easier ground and that scares him and not the hard climbing.
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-19 17:01:29    
ah ja .. another nice one. the drunken master of low gravity movement Mr. Johnny Dawes on the snappy Indian Face (with rope) but neverthelese a death route with the preparation of the Grit Stone Senna Dawes should be honorably mentioned. Dave McLeod much stronger and no stranger to death routes backed out...
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-19 17:09:37    
... and managed to do it much later. Indian Face E9 vs. Rhapsody E11 ? Surely not!
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-19 17:25:08    
sorry for all the spamming, but I'm just in the mood to talk. I highly recommended the enormocast website! Cody Roth menioned in his interview the solo feats of Much Mayr.. few people probably ever heard of Much ..
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-19 17:26:17    
people will kill me for my monologue ;-)
OffLine Sebastian Peace
  2019-01-19 19:12:44    
I remember Much Mayr from the climbing movie The Scene where he climbed some hard routes at the "Chinesische Mauer" crag in the Leutaschtal (Austria). Another noteworthy mention might be the Excalibur (6b/350m) free solo from Ueli Steck which is discribed in the book Solo (german). Not comparable gradewise but still noteworthy in this disucssion I think. (RIP Ueli!)
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-20 00:58:45    
Exactly Sebastian :-) Thanks for sharing!. Uelis Book Solo is a good read and the Exaclibur Solo is one to be rembered and mentioned. Unfortunately this thread will disappear someday soon, but you guys are the living proof that you can differentiate and pay respect to the variety of achievements (past and future). I hope more people will share some history here.
OffLine WG 60
  2019-01-20 00:58:49    
Exactly Sebastian :-) Thanks for sharing!. Uelis Book Solo is a good read and the Exaclibur Solo is one to be rembered and mentioned. Unfortunately this thread will disappear someday soon, but you guys are the living proof that you can differentiate and pay respect to the variety of achievements (past and future). I hope more people will share some history here.