Freesoloing….could you watch?

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ksolem

 
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by ksolem » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:11 pm

For some reason I was hanging out with Too Strong Dave out by Echo Cove in Joshua Tree. He starts up Effigy Too ropeless, and without giving it a second thought I followed up behind him.

When he got to the exit move, with me about a body length below, he very convincingly pretended to slip and begin to fall. Yikes! That really got my attention. We laughed it off but I didn't follow him up any other routes that day...

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The Chief

 
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by The Chief » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:22 pm

I've had the distinct pleasure to watch JB, Mike Reardon and Lonni Kauk solo play on .11's & .12's at Clark, TM, the Gorge, etc, time and time again for the past six years.

Masters at play with the precise moves of a lizard. Each and every time.

I spoke to Lonnie the other day and asked how he was doing after JB's departure. He said good but that his FSing days are on hold for a while.

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drjohnso1182

 
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by drjohnso1182 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:25 am

MikeTX wrote:guyzo, that's quartz mountain in oklahoma. it's very cool. i didn't get in much climbing cuz i was nursing an arm injury. but i definitely wanna go back some time.

What are the winter temps like there?

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Zzyzx

 
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by Zzyzx » Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:53 am

Sometimes you have no choice but to watch. Here's Erica Kutcher catching up with us on Nutcracker:

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These dudes passed us on Royal Arches. The blond guy didn't even bother putting his climbing shoes on, but instead chose to climb in his Tevas (this is the 5.7 crack):

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SpiderSavage

 
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by SpiderSavage » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:41 pm

"Can you watch" is a very intelligent question. Back in th e 1980's a took a couple of 16-year-olds to JT one day. We're setting up to lead Illusion Dweller when I turn around and see this kid half-way up. I'm thinkin' WTF am I gonna tell his folks after he craters. It was damn hard to watch but he was solid on that line and did it well. I just let him go on. What could I do? That kid was good and he later went on to set multiple speed records and other great things. Watching someone freesolo when you are legally responsible for the person's decision is especially stressful.

At the peak of my abilities I once soloed a 50 ft 5.7 (yeah, big deal). It was a taste of that expensive wine and it tasted fine.

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tonyo

 
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by tonyo » Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:26 pm

Free soloing by someone who knows what they're doing and who glides smoothly over the rock is a beautiful thing to watch; almost mesmerizing.

The fact is, as beginners I'm sure some of us have free soloed a few times without even knowing it, what with the crappy gear placements and all. :oops: In my case, that was far more dangerous than these stonemasters free soloing hard stuff.

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ksolem

 
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by ksolem » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:27 pm

Whoa. You're saying the 16 year old kid on sight soloed Illusion Dweller?

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ksolem

 
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by ksolem » Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:26 pm

The last time I saw Michael Reardon climbing he was soloing "Scary Poodles," on Hemingway Buttress in Joshua Tree. The crux of this climb is up at the top, and goes at about 5.11c off some thin and somewhat flexy crimps around the side of a round dish.

Being ropeless, Michael did not use those flexy crimps, but rather did a variation which was much more difficult, but on solid holds. It was a stunning display of mental control and physical ability.

When Michael was swept out to sea off the Irish coast by a rogue wave climbing lost a great one, that's for sure.

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ksolem

 
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by ksolem » Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:42 pm

Dougb wrote:Dang Kris, if you soloed Effigy Too, WOW, that's awesome. You are a seriously good climber.


Effigy Too is an easy solo, once do the boulder problem start it's a cruise to the top. My favorite solos are the ones where the crux is at the bottom, so you can get the business done and enjoy the rest (unless of course you have a stunt man like Too Strong pretending he's gonna knock you off...)

Thanks for the compliment, but I have never been one of those climbers who really hangs it out there.

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graham

 
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by graham » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:46 pm

Resized it for you Squishy. What route is this :?:
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graham

 
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by graham » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:57 pm

ksolem wrote:… When Michael was swept out to sea off the Irish coast by a rogue wave climbing lost a great one, that's for sure.
So true. Although I’ve only met him once, some guys I climb with had the pleasure of meeting Michael as he cruised by on a FS about 2/3 up Whodunit at TahQ. He stopped and chatted with them for ~15 mins and then head off on his FS. Very personable guy. RIP

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ksolem

 
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by ksolem » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:46 pm

Reardon in action at The Needles...

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Zzyzx

 
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by Zzyzx » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:21 am

Here's another classic free solo shot:

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ksolem

 
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by ksolem » Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:50 am

To really appreciate Dan Osmans' amazing athleticism, try that body lever on the side of your pickup truck, lower hand on the base of the tire, upper hand holding the edge of the bed.

Good luck. Most people couldn't do it with a gun to their head.

Now take it to the 5.10d first pitch of Atlantis, in The Needles.

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Guyzo

 
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by Guyzo » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:16 pm

ksolem wrote:Whoa. You're saying the 16 year old kid on sight soloed Illusion Dweller?


Yea, I would like to know. It would be one for the record books, 4 sure. :wink:

Do tell... got any names?

Major props are due. :wink:

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