Alone on the Wall
December 21, 2011 4:56 PM   Subscribe

 
Being the boldest free soloist doesn't make him the best climber. There's no doubt he's an incredibly talented climber but he's pushing the limits more in terms of boldness than difficulty. Mutants like Adam Ondra and Sasha Digiulian are climbing harder than he is, but then again they've got a rope.
posted by foodgeek at 5:07 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I will spend some time sprawled on the floor tonight, completely sober, happy I'm not trying to scale hundreds of vertical feet by wedging my fingers into fissures up a straight, blank wall. Amazing, thanks.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:09 PM on December 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I can't watch this. I can't even BEGIN to watch it.
posted by unSane at 5:10 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


My sweaty palm just slipped off my mouse.
posted by unliteral at 5:11 PM on December 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


.

Too soon?
posted by panaceanot at 5:32 PM on December 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Just finished this. Absolutely positively insane, incredible, mindblowing.
posted by suedehead at 5:33 PM on December 21, 2011


.

Too soon?

No, assuming that dot is intended to be a representation of what you look like when he's looking down at you.
posted by The World Famous at 5:34 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


which makes him the de facto best climber alive.

JOHN GILL 4EVR




Actually, no it's very impressive. Show, don't tell in the purest sense.
posted by alex_skazat at 5:34 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love how all of the commentary from the talking-head climbers in that video basically amounts to "this guy is out of his fucking mind."
posted by eugenen at 5:35 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's something almost priestly about this dude. You almost wonder if he'd have sex and give it up, like an arsonist.
posted by Diablevert at 5:42 PM on December 21, 2011


Watching completely fearless, safety-net-free feats (stunts?) like this, like the unprotected high-slacklining stuff that "Sketchy Andy" does, I'm certainly and primarily impressed by the brass-balled radness of it all, natch.

But then I feel a bit sad because there's a part of me that is 100% convinced that this person is going to die, publicly and likely with someone filming, and I feel bad for those people who are inevitably going to have to watch that totally avoidable accident unfold in real time. Because a piece of them is going to die as well. I guess that's really my problem, though, and not anybody elses. Something wonderful is happening, and it's making me cringe just a bit inside because there's only one way I can see the story ending.

I now return to my regularly scheduled sweaty-palmed, slightly envious boggling at the feats of derring-do...
posted by the painkiller at 5:42 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Come on. I watched approximately 50 seconds and now my stomach hurts. Every North Face store has those awesome posters with the guys name and 19--to 20-- on them...this guy is tempting fate and nature and we know who's going to win. ow. my stomach!
posted by bquarters at 5:55 PM on December 21, 2011


How close to him were the camerapersons, I wonder? I would be terrified of doing something to throw him off and plunge him thousands of feet to his death.
posted by eugenen at 5:59 PM on December 21, 2011


Come on. I watched approximately 50 seconds and now my stomach hurts. Every North Face store has those awesome posters with the guys name and 19--to 20-- on them...this guy is tempting fate and nature and we know who's going to win. ow. my stomach!

That's what people said about John Bachar, when he began free soloing routes that others were having trouble climbing with ropes. While he did eventually take that last fall, he had been doing his thing for around 30 years and was past his prime and climbing routes that possibly shouldn't have at his age. Climbing and free soloing is about knowing your abilities, what you can do and having the confidence to execute it. So far, Honnold seems to have a good grasp of his abilities, and they are quite incredible.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 6:00 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


But then I feel a bit sad because there's a part of me that is 100% convinced that this person is going to die, publicly and likely with someone filming, and I feel bad for those people who are inevitably going to have to watch that totally avoidable accident unfold in real time.

He's 25 right now. He's got maybe four to six more years of this at most, one would think, before he has a kid and the "wait, can't do this any more" kicks in.
posted by mightygodking at 6:01 PM on December 21, 2011



Come on. I watched approximately 50 seconds and now my stomach hurts. Every North Face store has those awesome posters with the guys name and 19--to 20-- on them...this guy is tempting fate and nature and we know who's going to win. ow. my stomach!



An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
--- William Butler Yeats
posted by Diablevert at 6:01 PM on December 21, 2011 [20 favorites]


My goodness. I felt so many things watching this. Thank you for this post.
posted by coaster at 6:06 PM on December 21, 2011


Amazing program and person, thanks for posting.
posted by carter at 6:07 PM on December 21, 2011


Honnold is 22 years old. 22.

When he has 2 or 3 more decades of experience, he'll deserve "world's best."

Right now he's a hotshot kid with skills who is willing to take risks that others do not.
posted by gen at 6:30 PM on December 21, 2011


Honnold is 22 years old. 22.

He's 26 as of August.
posted by eugenen at 6:32 PM on December 21, 2011


There's a point in the video where he says something like "having the absolute confidence that you won't fall is what keeps you from falling." And my first thought was that there are a thousand climbers who had that same confidence... and still fell.

He's an amazing athlete, but it's a crazy risky path to take, and people have a tendency to keep pushing the boundaries right up until things fall apart. I hope he doesn't do that, and either has superhuman abilities, or just finds the inner peace to seek out a different challenge.
posted by Forktine at 6:39 PM on December 21, 2011


Cool! This guy is pretty out there... but I love watching his work....
posted by ph00dz at 6:47 PM on December 21, 2011


These people don't live very long. I hope it's worth it to him, and I hope the people that love him can find peace with this while he's alive and also when he falls. It's not a matter of if - it's a matter of when.
posted by jimmythefish at 6:49 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"These people don't live very long. I hope it's worth it to him, and I hope the people that love him can find peace with this while he's alive and also when he falls. It's not a matter of if - it's a matter of when."

Is this really true? Yours is only the most recent of several similar claims in this thread, and I'd really like some substantiation of it.

And after reading two of the interviews with Honnold, I don't think it's fair to him at all to characterize him as the "de facto best climber alive". I'm pretty sure he wouldn't make that claim. I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't claim that free soloing is the epitome of climbing skill. And he's pretty modest in those interviews about the kinds of climbing he's never done.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:16 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amazing. But I bet it sucks to be his mom.
posted by rabbitfufu at 7:21 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was just thinking about the math of this. Since his technique basically requires him to execute perfectly, it's very straightforward.

On a 2000' climb, let's say for argument's sake he makes 2000 moves.

Let's say he has a 1/100,000 of failing on a move while freeclimbing. That's 0.00001

Then his probabiliy (P) of not dying on a 2000' climb is

(0.99999)^2000 = 0.98 more or less.

In other words, he has a 1/50 chance of dying on a climb like that.

So the interesting question is, how many (N) climbs does he have to do before it is more likely than not that he will have died? In other words

0.98^N = 0.5

so Nlog(0.98)=Log(0.5)

so N = log(0.5)/log(0.98) = 34 roughly.

Suppose the probablity of him screwing up a move is 1/1000,000. How does that change N?

P = (0.999999)^2000 = 0.998

N = log(0.5)/log(0.998) = 340 roughly, so it scales proportionally.

But suppose the probability of him screwing up a move is 1/10,000.

Then P=0.81 (a one in 5 chance of dying) and N = just over 3.

Hm.
posted by unSane at 7:27 PM on December 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


The interesting thing is that 340 climbs like this could certainly be a career, and he'd have a 50% chance of retiring alive.

Even 34 climbs could be a career.

But 3?
posted by unSane at 7:29 PM on December 21, 2011


He was on 60 Minutes not to long ago.

For those interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR1jwwagtaQ
posted by CancerStick at 7:34 PM on December 21, 2011


I'm especially amazed at his bravery, as there are White Walkers beyond the wall.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:47 PM on December 21, 2011


Yeah, but as far as we know, they don't climb to the top of it. Which is the point of The Wall, after all.

He'd have been more use to Mance Rayder, anyway, going the other direction, in the Battle of Castle Black.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:57 PM on December 21, 2011


I was showing this thread and the video to my wife. We read the comments with great interest,

UNTIL THE GODDAMN GAME OF THRONES JOKES

at which point we realized: this, alas, merely, horrifically, is Metafilter.





HUSH NOW ROAST BEEF
posted by waxbanks at 8:04 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, this is weird: my ex's best friend is Alex's older sister. Thus, I have spent a decent amount of time with both Alex Honnold and his mother, usually during holiday meals.

Alex is the calmest kid I've ever met. He's just totally chill about everything. Also a total sweetheart. And for whatever reason, climbing is just the thing that he loves more than anything else, and so that's what he does.

His mom, since people are concerned, is of course regularly worried about him. But she's also a really involved lady. When her daughter became a runner, she got into it too, and now does marathons. Now that her son climbs, she climbs. Certainly not to the extent that he does, and never without ropes (to my knowledge), but she climbs.

I didn't know that Alex was a big deal when I met him, I just knew that he climbed without ropes, and that his family supported him even though they were bemused and scared by the idea. To me, he was someone's quirky little brother. It has been decidedly odd to learn that he's actually a world-famous, real-life Spiderman.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 8:09 PM on December 21, 2011 [25 favorites]



He was on 60 Minutes not to long ago.

For those interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR1jwwagtaQ
posted by CancerStick at 10:34 PM on December 21

of course if I had clicked all the links I would have realized the OP already had this covered :(
posted by CancerStick at 8:10 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fantastic! I gotta wonder where he goes from here. Continue on to big mountain ascents (Everest, K2, etc.)? Or move on to something completely different: parkour? BASE jumping / skydiving? Brazilian jiu-jitsu? ... motocross? ....... chess???
posted by LordSludge at 8:13 PM on December 21, 2011


Anybody know anything about how these climbs are filmed? In the first link, from 7:45 to 8:30, they've got some shots from afar, some shots from above looking down, and some close-up shots from his right (which could be from a different section of the climb). In the shots from above looking down, there's what look like chalk marks in several places ahead of him — it might just be different coloured rock, I guess, but then at 8:23 he puts his hand right on one of them. Did they film it from afar, then have him go back down a bit, then film it again from above?
posted by stebulus at 8:15 PM on December 21, 2011


He should take up computer programming
posted by waxbanks at 8:16 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stebulus, in the 60 Minutes interview they show how they did it. With some crew on the ground, and with some cameras placed along the route, they also had a crew of climbers with cameras that were were placed a different points of the route. I could be wrong, but I would assume that that is a common method.
posted by CancerStick at 8:20 PM on December 21, 2011


Yeah, you just have to think about the practicalities. He's got no gear and is going to be climbing FAST, so you spread your crews out where you think it's going to be value for money. Top, bottom, hard moves, and somewhere halfway up where he can take a break.
posted by unSane at 8:23 PM on December 21, 2011


Thanks, I'll have a look.
posted by stebulus at 8:24 PM on December 21, 2011


(and a couple of guys on long lenses from afar)
posted by unSane at 8:24 PM on December 21, 2011


I wonder how it changes things to have a camera crew. He's up there talking to someone during his freakout on that ledge. Is it a distraction? A support? Does he even notice it most of the time? It's interesting that they titled it Alone on the Wall, when the act of filming it meant that he was not.

(I don't mean to suggest that it's not isolating, or that he was taking less of a risk because of the crew.)
posted by aneel at 8:25 PM on December 21, 2011


I gotta wonder where he goes from here.

The next step up is donning a pressurized lava suit and circumnavigating the earth's mantle under his own power... while playing chess.
posted by troll at 8:26 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


UNTIL THE GODDAMN GAME OF THRONES JOKES

Hush now, friend, save your strength. You'll need it.

Winter is coming.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:30 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Alex Honnold is perhaps the world's premier big wall free solo climber, which makes him the de facto best climber alive

Imma let you finish climbing that wall, but Reinhold Messner is the best climber of all time. Of all time!
posted by exogenous at 8:36 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, I watched the 60 Minutes thing under "facto" in the post (and the 60 Minutes Overtime thing specifically about the filming). They don't explicitly mention the chalk marks, which are what I was particularly interested in, but they do say (at 8:15 or so under "facto") that he'd done the route twice with ropes in the days previous, which would explain it.
posted by stebulus at 8:54 PM on December 21, 2011


1) this shit is crazy.
2) maybe its the 4 glasses of scotch I just drank but does this host want to jump his bones or what?
posted by nathancaswell at 9:11 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


likeagoodneighborstatefarmistherewithaparachuSPLAT
posted by not_on_display at 9:17 PM on December 21, 2011


Hell, I'm fidgety anytime I climb outdoors and I have a firm rule of top-rope only. I doubt I'll ever make a jump to sport climbing and probably never to anything even approaching trad climbing.

It is worth saying that anyone who is outdoorsy and hasn't tried climbing really should give it a shot if you have the chance. It's great and really, really can be an altogether different experience and totally safe (again, I'm talking top rope with experienced people).

Oh and it bears, to me anyway, basically zero resemblance to indoor wall climbing. Zero. Kinda like the difference between painting something with Bob Ross to guide you and a page ripped out of a kids coloring book labeled with numbers for certain section/color combinations. I guess that makes what that the kid in this video did be about like painting the Mona Lisa...

No thanks, I'll keep my goals for groovy accomplishments more mundane like hiking the AT start-to-finish, visiting an arctic region and perhaps camping in it, going on a canoe trip of ~1 month or season, doing the CDT, driving an aircooled VW across the country, or heck even doing half dome or el cap in a team with a guide over the course of 5 days... like a normal person! irony intended

Oddly enough the one about driving the VW across the country is the scariest one of those to me...

posted by RolandOfEld at 9:22 PM on December 21, 2011


Mark me down as another with sweat-drenched palms after watching this.

I was pretty much bemused by all the "don't see many girls in his future" comments during the video. (ie, I think maybe you're onto something there nathancaswell.) Maybe my taste isn't exactly canonical (yeah, yeah, join the club...) but to me Alex is just straightforwardly *beautiful*, as well as incredibly sweet-natured.
posted by pjm at 9:39 PM on December 21, 2011


Wikipedia includes links to 16 notable free solo climbers. Most of them are still alive. The six who are not all died in climbing accidents.
posted by one_bean at 9:45 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Very good piece about him, and, yeah, all the talking head climbers in that video seem to be in agreement about the kid's headspace. I like the mini-nervous-breakdown he had 1800' up. When I have those, I just take the rest of the day off and go home and get back into bed.

Also, flip your laptop screen upside down when you're watching some of the shots from above.
posted by Lukenlogs at 9:52 PM on December 21, 2011


It's cool and all, and ballsy, no doubt, but the film makers make it seem like the the dewd just decides he's gonna do this thing and then shows up and does it. I'm guessing hours and hours and hours of studying the route, working over the tricky bits on similar but less exposed boulders, and training. he's a phenom, but i'd guess a practiced one.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:59 PM on December 21, 2011


I also (as a straight guy) think Alex and what he does are both beautiful.

I'm in a middle-aged funk, constantly thinking about how I wasted my "salad days" in so many make-no-effort, take-no-chances ways I could write an enormously uninteresting book about it, and here's a talented guy doing something he loves, which happens to have a very high price if you don't do it well...and he does it anyway.

You know what, fuck the haters. I can tell you right now I'd rather die in my 20's being Alex than die at 76 being me.
posted by maxwelton at 11:54 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


So, ignorant question, but if you are halfway up one of those long cracks, is it even possible to turn around and climb back down? It seems like that would be harder than going up, with the reduced visibility and all. Maybe that's part of what the commit to the rock thing is.

It does raise the possibility of the next level of this sport though - free climbing down Half Dome. Could that be done?
posted by Rumple at 12:17 AM on December 22, 2011


The sense of self-preservation is weak with MetaFilter, lately.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 3:21 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, my vertigo is bad enough that I can't even jump off a high cliff in World of Warcraft without looking away from the monitor, so I'm certainly no good judge of this, but I have to ask: don't we assume guys like this -- however sweet and kind and modest they are -- fundamentally want to die? This guy is far from stupid; he understands the odds; he knows the history of his sport; he knows the likely, if not inevitable, outcome of his choices. The obvious answer is that, whether he knows it or not, he embraces death rather than fearing it, right?
posted by The Bellman at 6:36 AM on December 22, 2011


Having an adolescent son made me believe that testosterone makes young men desire to push limits, take risks, display prowess, etc., and with great confidence, justified* or not, in their ability to survive. The skill and courage are amazing, but also disquieting.

*obviously mostly justified in this case
posted by theora55 at 6:47 AM on December 22, 2011


Rumple: you're correct, downclimbing is much more dangerous than going up. If you're halfway up the wall, you pretty much have to finish it. Most accidents in mountain climbing happen on the descent. Like you say, it's much harder to see where you're putting your feet and hands. Also, you have to go backwards, and you're probably tired from the ascent. I climb a bit, but I've never seen anyone climb down a wall - either you walk down the other side, or you leave a piece of gear at the top so you can rappel back down.
posted by echo target at 7:05 AM on December 22, 2011


"but I have to ask: don't we assume guys like this -- however sweet and kind and modest they are -- fundamentally want to die? This guy is far from stupid; he understands the odds; he knows the history of his sport; he knows the likely, if not inevitable, outcome of his choices. The obvious answer is that, whether he knows it or not, he embraces death rather than fearing it, right?"

Well, no, I don't think that's necessarily true. I think it's sometimes or even often true. But it's not necessarily true.

The point made by theora55 is a good one, too. Adolescents, especially males, and young men really don't think they are going to die. I don't know if any of us really think we will, but I think young men, especially, have a built-in belief in their invulnerability.

But, also, even at 47, I can relate to this. I was a "climber" (not in this particular sense, mind) from the when I first starting walking. Generally, I have never been athletic, but I have always been agile with really good balance and whatever else is involved in being naturally good at climbing. Lacking a fear of heights, too, obviously. I didn't end up doing any rock climbing of any kind (other than what anyone might do who hikes and stuff), but I can definitely imagine that I might have gone that direction had some things been different for me when I was an adolescent.

Being adept at climbing of any type is...I don't know how to explain this. It's that whole feeling of being physically good at something; but with climbing, you're almost always "on". You're being good at that physical activity in that whole-body sense not just at intense moments of quick activity, but constantly. It's the balance, the awareness of every part of your body and weight and momentum, your grip, your step, everything. It's a sort of continual moment-to-moment balancing act of physical coordination and awareness. I think climbing stuff is the most in-my-body activity I've ever done in my life...more than sex, certainly.

Anyway, the risk of falling was for me never a part of it. Not in any way that I was consciously aware. It obviously matters because balancing and walking across beam six inches off the ground is experientially much different than doing the same twenty feet in the air. But it's not the thrill of danger, I don't think. At least not for me and I think this shows that it's not necessarily so for other people. It's that the risk focuses the mind, maybe.

What I imagine the appeal of free soloing must be is that it's absolutely pure climbing. It's not pure because the risk is greater because it's not about risk. It's about not having anything mediate the experience, even if it's just conceptually mediating the experience by mitigating the risk. I don't know; I don't think I'm explaining this well. But it definitely doesn't feel to me, personally, that I'd want to do this (and I would, if I didn't have the bone disease I have) because I have a death wish. I certainly don't have a death wish.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:33 AM on December 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I imagine the appeal of free soloing must be is that it's absolutely pure climbing. It's not pure because the risk is greater because it's not about risk. It's about not having anything mediate the experience

He alludes to this a bit in the interviews --- that he only solo climbs he likes, that it's only when he's soloing that he feels he achieves true precision, perfection. He talks about feeling like he's charging up the mountain when he's on a rope.

It was reading Jon Kraukauer's work that brought across to me that while climbing requires great strength and athleticism, it's still a pleasure as much mental as physical --- solving a puzzle. Comparing things to chess is trite, but I feel like there's a real correspondence there: project the movement of a single piece forward in space. If I place this here, this finger, this pawn, how does it alter the relation to all other pieces? What forces are stressed, what is impossible? Where can I go next from there?

It's that unique. combination of the physical and the mental that must make it such a powerful vehicle for transcendence, and I think that's what he craves.
posted by Diablevert at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks, echo target, that's what I would have guessed. It's monumental that once you start, you can only finish, or fail. Not for me, though, these films always make me feel like I am watching alien species living a life of which I know nothing.
posted by Rumple at 10:25 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's monumental that once you start, you can only finish, or fail.

Sort of. But in this case he clearly did have a support crew of sorts. When he had the freak out on the ledge they offered to get him out of there. There may have been other points on the ascent where he could have bailed safely to a belay. But maybe having the option available would screw with your head too much?
posted by unSane at 10:56 AM on December 22, 2011


but I have to ask: don't we assume guys like this -- however sweet and kind and modest they are -- fundamentally want to die? This guy is far from stupid; he understands the odds; he knows the history of his sport; he knows the likely, if not inevitable, outcome of his choices. The obvious answer is that, whether he knows it or not, he embraces death rather than fearing it, right?

Funny... One could assume that folks who, by choice, lead sedentary, inactive lives fundamentally want heart disease and the inevitable early death that results.
posted by LordSludge at 11:28 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So much to say about Honold. And climbing in general. I've been trying to figure out how to put together a decent post about high-end climbing in all its forms and haven't come up with way to do it.

stebulus: the chalk is there from previous climbers. He's free soloing established routes that have been climbed by many others (mostly with ropes). The chalk often stays on the holds through all but the most intense rainstorms (and sometimes even then).

The filming of climbing feats is quite the logistical marathon. There are lots of bold, talented filmmakers and photogs in this line of work. Check out Vertical Carnival, blog of Renan Ozturk and Cedar Wright, for some behind the scenes pieces.

The iconic image of Honold standing face-out on that tiny ledge is perhaps a little staged. I've heard it suggested (by folks with a high probability of knowing) that it was at the photographer's suggestion that Honold did that. It's certainly not something he would likely have done for any other reason because it's scarier and more awkward than facing in.

As for the whole question of free soloing as a pursuit, well, it's complicated. I do not believe that free soloists have any kind of death wish (ok, maybe a few do, but they are rare). Ivan Fyodorovich explains some of it, certainly. Typically when someone free solos a route it is because doing so expresses a certain kind of mastery of both that particular route and their own mental process. Fear can mean hesitation and hesitation breeds mistakes and mistakes kill. Successfully closing out the fear is a remarkable achievement, I think, and that seems like where much of the satisfaction comes from. (For the record, I do climb but don't free solo, and likely never will.)
posted by that's candlepin at 1:15 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So glad I got into marathoning.
posted by Fizz at 1:29 PM on December 22, 2011


If I place this here, this finger, this pawn, how does it alter the relation to all other pieces? What forces are stressed, what is impossible? Where can I go next from there?

Yep, strikes me as very similar to Brazilian jiu jitsu, my primary sport, in that way -- also commonly compared to chess. Gonna check climbing out this summer as a cross-training sport.** In addition to the puzzle solving, I imagine the grip strength translates well from one to the other.

** Also most top jiu-jitsu players cross-train surfing. Something about the "flow"...
posted by LordSludge at 1:45 PM on December 22, 2011


The climbing in these videos is a reenactment, btw. No one is there when he does the real, bottom to top climb. They go back with camera crews later, rappel down to something "easy", he unclips, and they film him climbing a few moves.
posted by rachelv at 8:10 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


rachelv: This making of video claims that they did the filming during the actual climb.
posted by aneel at 9:16 PM on December 22, 2011


The making-of video is him climbing Sentinel, not Half-Dome.
posted by unSane at 10:31 PM on December 22, 2011


Oh, you're right. The Outside Magazine link ("him" in the OP) talks about the fact that "Alone on the Wall" is composed of reenactments. The making of video is from the climb in the "best climber alive" link in the OP. So it appears he's been filmed both ways.
posted by aneel at 11:56 PM on December 22, 2011


Damn. Scripted reality tv has taken over everything.
posted by LordSludge at 7:44 AM on December 23, 2011


Whatever you do, don't watch A Hard Day's Night.
posted by The World Famous at 7:53 AM on December 23, 2011


gen: Honnold is 22 years old. 22.

When he has 2 or 3 more decades of experience, he'll deserve "world's best."

Right now he's a hotshot kid with skills who is willing to take risks that others do not.


Big talk, little man.

Regardless of the fact that you're off by 4 years, by age 22 he'd done more than you have, and almost certainly ever will. In fact, he's done more than anyone ever before in the history of the world has done.

He's the world's best, right now.

And you're throwing spit wads on the internet at his virtual shadow.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:52 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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