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michael1


Jan 20, 2013, 6:08 PM
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At what grade should one free solo?
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How many grades below what you can regularly free climb should you free solo? I did my first free solo yesterday, and it was a fairly short 5.8 crack climb. I haven't climbed outside much recently, but the hardest indoor top-rope route that I've sent is 5.11d.


Kartessa


Jan 20, 2013, 6:11 PM
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michael1 wrote:
How many grades below what you can regularly free climb should you free solo? I did my first free solo yesterday, and it was a fairly short 5.8 crack climb. I haven't climbed outside much recently, but the hardest indoor top-rope route that I've sent is 5.11d.

It all depends on how big your balls are...

If you have big balls, like a real man, you should be free soloing 5.11d.


camhead


Jan 20, 2013, 6:38 PM
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Re: [Kartessa] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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Just some trivia off the top of my head. Keep in mind I am defining "free solo" as a climb in which if you blow the crux, you will die. So, highballs, routes with low cruxes, etc., are not factoring into it.

And also, it is not as simple as numbers, either. Everyone has a style that they're comfortable with; I've soloed a couple 5.11 cracks, but would not even consider doing a 5.9 slab. Bachar and Croft roughly soloed the same difficulty, but Croft would do much bigger, committing stuff (Astroman versus Crack a Go Go, for example).


Royal Robbins free climbed as hard as 5.11, soloed up to 5.9.

Bachar, in his prime, climbed on rope up to 5.13+, soloed up to 5.12+ (anyone know if he soloed any 13s?).

Croft redpointed up to 5.13+, onsighted 13a trad, and has soloed up to solid 5.12.

Scott Franklin climbed up to 5.14b or so, soloed a 5.13a.

Some Frenchies (Edlinger, Alain Robert) have been 5.14- climbers, and soloed up to 5.13b or so.

Derek Hersey maxed out 5.12a or so, he would free solo up to solid 5.11.

Dean Potter has redpointed up to 5.13+, soloed up to 12+.

Alex Huber has redpointed up to 5.15a, has soloed up to 14a single pitch and 5.12 multipitch.

Reardon, not sure exactly what his hardest roped send was, but was a solid 5.13 climber, soloed up to 5.12+, onsight soloed up to 5.12, depending on who you talk to.

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.

So, I guess if you look at the high profile elites, for the most part they solo a number to a number and a half below their max. Bachar, Reardon, and Hersey probably took their soloing closer to their limit, and Honnold, comparatively, is pretty conservative.

Ok, I answered your question, now you can go out and solo 5.10+. The internet says so. (just kidding, dude)


skelldify


Jan 20, 2013, 7:09 PM
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Re: [michael1] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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You can probably free-solo a good bit harder than your hardest send. I'd imagine having your life on the line would greatly hone your mental focus, and the adrenaline ought to give you a decent boost in strength.


dr_feelgood


Jan 20, 2013, 7:26 PM
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Re: [michael1] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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Just be sure to wear a GoPro.


curt


Jan 20, 2013, 7:40 PM
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Re: [camhead] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:
Bachar, in his prime, climbed on rope up to 5.13+, soloed up to 5.12+ (anyone know if he soloed any 13s?)

Father Figure has been called both 5.12d and 5.13a over the years. I've never done it--so I can't say...



Curt
Attachments: Bachar_FF.jpg (53.6 KB)


billcoe_


Jan 20, 2013, 9:02 PM
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Re: [curt] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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The most important take away I'd pitch is that you want to be climbing a lot. Getting high mileage in so that your mind is at peace and you're flowing, that and also having worked on your downclimbing skillz, is critical. Backing off a shitload of grades isn't a bad idea till you sort it out either.

Thats my thoughts.


bearbreeder


Jan 20, 2013, 9:35 PM
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Re: [michael1] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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what relevance does indoor gym top roping has to do with free soloing?

Wink


notapplicable


Jan 20, 2013, 9:52 PM
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Re: [michael1] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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I won't comment on the question of grades. There are too many variables. I'll just say the same thing I tell anyone who questions my soloing or asks for advice on their own...

The safety of a solo is almost entirely determined before you leave the ground. It's about accurately matching your abilities to the route. Get that part right and you will be fine, barring an act god, so to speak.

Sounds simple, I know, but in order to do that, you have to know what you are capable of and you have to know how to read the rock. The solution is mileage in both cases. Mileage is the single most important factor in being able to solo safely. It gives you the experience to make informed decisions and accurately match your abilities to a route. So climb outside (on a rope) a lot and work in to soloing very slowly.


(This post was edited by notapplicable on Jan 20, 2013, 9:52 PM)


shimanilami


Jan 20, 2013, 10:41 PM
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Re: [michael1] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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"Should" and "free solo" are incongruous.

To be clear, I'm not against free soloing. I am against the idea that the decision to free solo - including the what, how, when, and where - ought to be influenced by outside expectations, norms, standards, etc. It is the most personal choice a climber can make. It's your life on the line, after all.

Do or do not. There is no "should" about it.


USnavy


Jan 20, 2013, 11:41 PM
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Re: [camhead] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

By comparison, I know a guy who boulders V12 but cannot lead 5.9. I know another who sent V10 but could not touch the chains on a technical 5.10c sport climb.


iknowfear


Jan 21, 2013, 12:41 AM
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Re: [michael1] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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michael1 wrote:
How many grades below what you can regularly free climb should you free solo? I did my first free solo yesterday, and it was a fairly short 5.8 crack climb. I haven't climbed outside much recently, but the hardest indoor top-rope route that I've sent is 5.11d.

don't be that guy

food for thought

In my completely unimportant opinion, if you are asking this question, you are not ready to solo...
edited to add:
You "should" not free solo.

In my opinion you are not ready because you do not know your climbing ability. If you have enough mileage, you know what your abilities are. this has NOTHING to do with "hardest" toprope in the gym, or the gym in general.

Ask yourself, what is the grade I can completly confidently downclimb. What is the grade at which I am not afraid to run it out? Your solo ability is most likely lower than those numbers.

Or not. YMMV


(This post was edited by iknowfear on Jan 21, 2013, 2:52 AM)


Syd


Jan 21, 2013, 3:25 AM
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Re: [michael1] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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The crag where we've been climbing recently typically has a couple of holds break on every route. Sure, it's sandstone and a new crag but how do free soloists cope with that, even on easy routes ?

I've only ever chatted with one free soloist. He'd survived a 40 ft fall to the deck and it didn't deter him.


Gmburns2000


Jan 21, 2013, 5:41 AM
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michael1 wrote:
How many grades below what you can regularly free climb should you free solo? I did my first free solo yesterday, and it was a fairly short 5.8 crack climb. I haven't climbed outside much recently, but the hardest indoor top-rope route that I've sent is 5.11d.

T17 Shocked


billl7


Jan 21, 2013, 6:00 AM
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
michael1 wrote:
How many grades below what you can regularly free climb should you free solo? I did my first free solo yesterday, and it was a fairly short 5.8 crack climb. I haven't climbed outside much recently, but the hardest indoor top-rope route that I've sent is 5.11d.

T17 Shocked
There are many great responses here and yet the first response by Kartessa nailed it.


camhead


Jan 21, 2013, 6:11 AM
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USnavy wrote:
camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

Yeah, you're wrong. Unfortunately, 8a.nu does not allow direct linking, but his profile is pretty easy to find on there.


Kartessa


Jan 21, 2013, 6:14 AM
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USnavy wrote:
I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent


I guess Honnold likes his warmups.


granite_grrl


Jan 21, 2013, 6:32 AM
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USnavy wrote:
camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

By comparison, I know a guy who boulders V12 but cannot lead 5.9. I know another who sent V10 but could not touch the chains on a technical 5.10c sport climb.

I think you'd find that most of the famous climbers you know don't crank their hardest every single day.


Kartessa


Jan 21, 2013, 6:37 AM
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Re: [granite_grrl] At what grade should one free solo? [In reply to]
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granite_grrl wrote:
USnavy wrote:
camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

By comparison, I know a guy who boulders V12 but cannot lead 5.9. I know another who sent V10 but could not touch the chains on a technical 5.10c sport climb.

I think you'd find that most of the famous climbers you know don't crank their hardest every single day.

Unless you're USNavy... I hear that guy free solos 5.16c


Kartessa


Jan 21, 2013, 6:38 AM
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Kartessa wrote:
granite_grrl wrote:
USnavy wrote:
camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

By comparison, I know a guy who boulders V12 but cannot lead 5.9. I know another who sent V10 but could not touch the chains on a technical 5.10c sport climb.

I think you'd find that most of the famous climbers you know don't crank their hardest every single day.

Unless you're USNavy... I hear that guy free solos 5.16c

Onsight


Kartessa


Jan 21, 2013, 6:39 AM
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Kartessa wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
granite_grrl wrote:
USnavy wrote:
camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

By comparison, I know a guy who boulders V12 but cannot lead 5.9. I know another who sent V10 but could not touch the chains on a technical 5.10c sport climb.

I think you'd find that most of the famous climbers you know don't crank their hardest every single day.

Unless you're USNavy... I hear that guy free solos 5.16c

Onsight

While eating a sandwich with his right hand


Kartessa


Jan 21, 2013, 6:39 AM
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Kartessa wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
granite_grrl wrote:
USnavy wrote:
camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

By comparison, I know a guy who boulders V12 but cannot lead 5.9. I know another who sent V10 but could not touch the chains on a technical 5.10c sport climb.

I think you'd find that most of the famous climbers you know don't crank their hardest every single day.

Unless you're USNavy... I hear that guy free solos 5.16c

Onsight

While eating a sandwich with his right hand

Monday to Saturday


crackmeup


Jan 21, 2013, 7:23 AM
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USnavy wrote:
camhead wrote:

Honnold redpoints 5.14c, has soloed up to 5.13b.
I guess he just doesent boulder much.

Maybe you should go try Midnight Lightning, Moffat Start (V10).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTMje1J0boA

He also did The Mandala (v12). I heard he did a sit start of El Capitan that's unrepeated so far.

If you mostly climb outside and only go to the gym once in a while, it will seem a bit strange. For example, outside you don't have to worry about stepping on the wrong hold. You don't have big jugs in front of your face that you must avoid. Listen to Dave Graham:

http://www.youtube.com/..._61K_tN47I&t=125


(This post was edited by crackmeup on Jan 21, 2013, 7:30 AM)


edge


Jan 21, 2013, 7:32 AM
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USnavy wrote:
Really? I thought he was a .13 climber. I bouldered with him in a gym once, and he was not doing that well for what I expected. I was able to send about 50% of the problems he sent, and I dont climb nearly as hard as he does on a rope, and I dont boulder very often. I have a video of him failing to onsight a V6+ gym boulder problem, and then kind of struggling to send it on the next try. It was also in a gym known for having kind of soft grades. I guess he just doesent boulder much.

The next time you are stalking Honnold by following him around from climb to climb and videotaping, try to do it on one of his Sentinel Rock solos. Then you can fall off at 50%.


marc801


Jan 21, 2013, 10:51 AM
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camhead wrote:
And also, it is not as simple as numbers, either. Everyone has a style that they're comfortable with; I've soloed a couple 5.11 cracks, but would not even consider doing a 5.9 slab. Bachar and Croft roughly soloed the same difficulty, but Croft would do much bigger, committing stuff (Astroman versus Crack a Go Go, for example).

This.


camhead wrote:
Bachar, in his prime, climbed on rope up to 5.13+, soloed up to 5.12+ (anyone know if he soloed any 13s?).

Croft redpointed up to 5.13+, onsighted 13a trad, and has soloed up to solid 5.12.

I think it was Croft who once said he wouldn't solo anything he couldn't down-climb from.

camhead wrote:
Derek Hersey maxed out 5.12a or so, he would free solo up to solid 5.11.

And was killed soloing a 5.9.

As someone else in the thread mentioned, if you're asking this question, then make sure your life insurance premiums are paid up, as you're not remotely ready to solo climbs yet.

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