Video of the most dangerous rope-free mountain climb ever


Originally published at:

Alex Honnold just completed the gnarliest free climb in history

I pooped myself just watching this. Crazy/awesome.



Not shown: interview with person who failed climb when some things did not go perfectly.


On Freerider, one of the most daunting physical and mental challenges Honnold faced was two pitches of steep, undulating expanse of rock about 600 feet up. Polished smooth by glaciers over the millennia, the granite here offers no holds, forcing a climber to basically walk up it with his feet only. Honnold used a delicate technique called “smearing,” which involves pressing his rubber shoes against the rock to create just enough grip to support his weight on the incline. He had to keep his weight perfectly balanced and maintain enough forward momentum to avoid sliding off. “It’s like walking up glass,” Honnold said.


My 18 yo avid climber son showed me the Outside essay by Tommy Caldwell that ended with this

In terms of mental mastery, I am convinced that it is one of the pinnacle sporting moments of all time. I hope others are inspired by Alex’s dedication to excellence and ability live without fear, and less by his willingness to accept risk. We have lost far too many in our world already. In terms of talent, preparedness, and climbing composure, Alex is a true outlier. He brought an element of sanity to this climb that no one else could, or probably ever will again.

I was an avid class 5 kayaker, and it would be hypocritical to discourage my son from his sport, but it scares the crap out of me. He say now that Honnold is crazy, but he said 2 years ago that it would be many years before he was Trad climbing (placing protective gear) and he’s been doing it for 18 months.


Also not shown: interview with me as I stood at the bottom, looked up, contemplated such a climb, and promptly threw up all over myself in sheer terror.


For additional almost non-stop pooping, watch ‘North Face’, a 2008 German historical/fiction drama of a 1936 climb up the North Face of the Eiger. Absolutely excellent.


When I saw the headline I thought it would be a cat video from @beschizza.


Didn’t James T. Kirk fall from this very cliff face in Star Trek 5?


I am so terrified of sheer drops and yet I am like a moth to a flame when it comes to these videos. I was watching someone ride a hover board on a the edge of skyscraper the other day and realized I was leaning a good foot to the left and the right out of my chair every time the dude went right up to an edge. I can’t imagine how funny I looked from behind.


If it makes you feel better, trad climbing is, well, “traditional” climbing, and the number of climbers who move on to free soloing is very limited (not just because so many of them deck young). There are enough ways you can scare the crap out of yourself while climbing that even most adrenaline junkies don’t need to free solo to feel the rush. :slight_smile: A 50-foot whipper on sport lead will certainly give you a rush even though it’s fairly safe.


So rock climbing is done, solved, “sent”. Nothing that matters is left to do. Go home, relax. Take up knitting.


Missed it by a day. Was just there on Sunday with my daughter.

Magic place… kinda like Tahiti


So how long before Boston Dynamics send a robot up that cliff?


Yes, I’m OK with trad on solid protection. We actually talked about it the other day that it’s probably safer than kayaking huge water or creeks where much of the danger is from uncontrolled circumstances. A climber can call “take” and relax below a protection or at worst take a small fall. But of course the need to make split second decisions was much of the appeal of kayaking!

To me a 50’ whipper (long fall for the uninitiated) means you were too sparing with the pro, or you shouldn’t have been there.


What makes this the “most dangerous” rope-free climb ever? I’d say that pretty much any rope-free climb that proceeds more than fifty feet above the ground is equally dangerous…


Well, for one thing, I think that the longer the climb, the more chance for errors (and fatigue).


Well, its that he then did ~2950 more feet… The “cumulative principle” I believe.


My friend at work is held together by pins from when free climbing goes wrong.