Free solo ethics

EDITORIAL

21 January 2022

8a almost never publishes free solo climbs as we do not want to encourage youngsters to try their luck. At the same time, free solo climbs sometimes pop up on YouTube etc. However, people apply different ethics regarding what is considered legitimate free soloing. Personally, I do not think you can claim a free solo ascent if the route was equipped by quickdraws, especially if you were wearing a harness. In other cases, you can see somebody doing a highball with a rope next to the climb. Personally, I do not even think you can claim a scary trad ascent if you have a guy at the top ready to throw down a rope with knots pre-done.

Sure, you can bail out and save your life but with a harness and quickdraws in place, it is not the same thing as a clean free solo ascent. I have even heard about a guy who was tied into his harness and his friends were supposed to jump on the rope if he would fall. The only thing I sort of respect, for the guys who are soloing in order to get fame and sponsors etc, is the use of crash pads.

If you do not do it clean like Alex Honnold, do not put free solo and scary trad climbs in your resume. At the same time, you can free solo in any way you want, just do not leave out important details. In any case, 8a will continue our policy to not publish free solo climbs. Play it safe!

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