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Over-Confidence Kills (Don't Solo)
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blue_gypsie


Nov 30, 2004, 9:51 AM
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Over-Confidence Kills (Don't Solo)
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I am a new member to these forums, but have been a frequenter to this qite for quite some time. I came across this category and felt compelled to give my story if only it save one life. This event took place a few years ago. I was hiking up in Fort Pillow, TN with a few friends. My friends found a short-cut on the map that would loose them 5 miles. Well, I was there to hike, but to get done ASAP and go back the the tent. I contuned on my own. Hiking up one of the bluffs, I started thinking back on my rock climbing experience. My eagerness to climb something started making my feet move off-trail to the bottom of the bluff. Soon my pack was off my back and only my T-shirt on my upper body. No one was even within hearing of my location, but I started to climb. In my young, immature mind, I was the best thing rock climbing has ever seen. In my over-confidence, I convinced myself that I needed no equipment. To make a story short, I got about 30 feet up and lost my grip, falling to my doom. I am thank in the fact that I was so terrified in the instance of the fall, that I didn't feel the impact. I sure felt the pain afterwars though. Well, after I tried catching my breath for 2 to 3 minutes. I was terriefied I was gogint o die and no one would know it. I caught my breath just instances before I would have most likely passed out. I eneded up breaking my wrist and sending my back emtremely out of allignment. I also develeoped a muscle spasm in my neck later on that lasted for over a week(I spent more money than I care to say on a chiropractor over this). More horribly, I couldn't hardly walk, but I had to get back to camp. Those were the worst ten miles of my life. Lesson learned here... Never solo, wear protectve gear, and don't be over-confident. I know from experience that soloing seems the manly, brave, balsy thing to do, but when you are dead or laid out in a hospital bed it just looks dumb. I am glad it only took me a broken wrist and a messed up back to teach me a lesson.


jasper


Nov 30, 2004, 10:14 AM
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To each their own. People fall and get hurt roped up too. Just because you fell doesn't mean everyone will there champ....


slablizard


Nov 30, 2004, 10:23 AM
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Glad to hear you can tell the story.
Stay safe.


noshoesnoshirt


Nov 30, 2004, 10:25 AM
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sorry 'bout your fall, but perhaps some better advice would be to not solo beyond your capabilities (mental and physical)


overlord


Nov 30, 2004, 10:34 AM
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In reply to:
sorry 'bout your fall, but perhaps some better advice would be to not solo beyond your capabilities (mental and physical)

ditto that. and untill you know what they are, stay away from soloing.


Partner tim


Nov 30, 2004, 10:45 AM
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You're not dead, though! ;-)

I guess it would be hard for a dead guy to warn others about the dangers of overconfidence, but the fact remains that your thesis is belied by the example you gave.

There are plenty of examples of strong soloists dying (Hersey). Plenty of other examples of strong soloists continuing to do so for years (Croft, Bachar). The 'evidence' is equivocal.

At least your choice of words was accurate -- solo or not, overconfidence certainly can kill you in this sport. I share that conviction whole heartedly. If you have to think too much about whether you are making the right decision, the answer is probably 'no'.


sed


Nov 30, 2004, 10:49 AM
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your asking for some verbal abuse here.


Partner nostalgia


Nov 30, 2004, 11:02 AM
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In reply to:
your asking for some verbal abuse here.
...said the person who misuses "your." :roll:

-Joe


autumngirl


Nov 30, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Ah the grammar police strike again. You + are = you're. Possesive = your. Nice Joe =)


korntera


Nov 30, 2004, 11:55 AM
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At the local crag in portland oregon two people have died that i heard of, both were soloing. I would never do it, i barely do highball boulder problems, i climb for fun, not to show off and prove to other people or even myself what i can do, i would rather live to climb another day.


soulwithoutfear


Nov 30, 2004, 12:01 PM
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Ah yes...lessons learned; don't fall and underconfidence kills too, along with car accidents and excessive drug use.


mbg


Nov 30, 2004, 12:08 PM
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In reply to:
At the local crag in portland oregon two people have died that i heard of, both were soloing. I would never do it, i barely do highball boulder problems, i climb for fun, not to show off and prove to other people or even myself what i can do, i would rather live to climb another day.

Sorry to get off topic, but what crag and route around Portland did they fall off of?


madmax


Nov 30, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Cry me a freakin' river.


blue_gypsie


Nov 30, 2004, 2:32 PM
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Obviously, some people were a little offended with my post perhaps. I aim not to offend. If you have the proper equipment to solo(but when I said solo, I meant no equipment, no nothing) that is one thing, but please bring someone with you. Even when not climbing, you never know what will happen. This is alsoa continuous lesson for myself as I still have urges to want to go out by myself and go climb. I guess the bigger lesson here is that over-confidence kills. I am not going to insult those who solo, but I will not back down in thinking that people should not do it. Yes, many people do it, and are a great success at it. I still want to do it fo rthe thrill, but I won't. I have to think to myself that when I go out climbing, there are friends and family back home that care alot about me and would fall apart if I died soloing some rock face. A small injury in the middle of nowhere can become a major injury.


robmcc


Nov 30, 2004, 2:37 PM
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In reply to:
A small injury in the middle of nowhere can become a major injury.

And--if you're lucky--a book deal! :roll:

Rob


chronicle


Nov 30, 2004, 2:51 PM
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Where I come from 30 feet isn't considered soloing, it's a highball boulder problem.

Either way, I've soloed routes well below my level, and I've been on many highballs below my level. I think the more important thing is to know what your level of climbing is before doing anything, whether it be soloing, bouldering, trad, aid, alpine, sport, etc.

Glad you're ok.


robmcc


Nov 30, 2004, 3:00 PM
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In reply to:
Where I come from 30 feet isn't considered soloing, it's a highball boulder problem.

I find this interesting. As an admitted non-boulderer, I don't get it. Falling 30' and hitting the ground would seem to be a big deal. How often do boulderers fall significant distances and suffer no injury?

Rob


kpj24078


Nov 30, 2004, 3:04 PM
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[quote="madmax"]Cry me a freakin' river.iam crying. :( :(


aklimerguy


Dec 1, 2004, 7:47 AM
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Once I was climbing in the Gunks, I saw a guy approaching a route (right next to ours) with a guide book, rock shoes and a chalkbag. He looked at it for about five minutes then started climbing. At about 30 feet from the ground he freezes and stays there for 15 minutes climbing up and down again. He finally decided to downclimb and left with a very disapointed/damaged ego look in his face.

What bothered me with that guy soloing is that it seemed as he was doing it to impress us rather than for himself. I know alot of people who solo and I have absolutely nothing against it. For some people, it's the next logical step. But alot of people in the climbing community have serious ego issues, the only reason they climb is to boost their self confidence. (it is actually pretty easy to recognise such people since they tell you about the 5.12 they just climbed before they even tell you their name...)

All I'm saying is that soloing is fine if you're doing it for the right reasons. Over-confidence doesn't kill. Lack of it, making you do things to prove yourself you're something you're not, does.


chronicle


Dec 1, 2004, 8:05 AM
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Don't get what? It's not a joke or anything. There are a lot of boulder problems that are high. Some boulder problems are the first 20-30 feet on a wall (unclimbable above that due to a very long, blank roof). Falling 20+ feet when you are trying to top out sucks, and you can get seriously injured.

I'll admit, I've only been on two boulder problems that were around 30 feet. Some people called them routes, and said I was soloing, some people called them highballs. My fiance has a fear of heights, so anything over 8 feet is a highball. It's all in the eyes of the beholder.

Oh, and I haven't done any soloing since I got engaged, and frankly I really enjoy trad so I doubt I will solo again.


shock


Dec 1, 2004, 8:38 AM
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Over Confidence Kills: Yes
Dont Solo: Depends on if the route is within your capabilities.

The real moral of the story is dont go climbing alone even if you're soloing.


pmyche


Dec 1, 2004, 9:02 AM
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"...I will not back down in thinking that people should not do it."

That's your prerogative. Think it, embrace it, practice it, live it. But I question your broadcasting to a community of climbers your personal tenet derived from an incident brought on by your lack of skill and mountain sense. Save the evangelism for people who don't cherish freedom as much as climbers do. No animosity here; I appreciate your intent of saving others the misery that befell you. Your post is just a tad misguided, IMO.

Cheers.


joshklingbeil


Dec 1, 2004, 10:31 AM
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In reply to:
i climb for fun, not to show off and prove to other people or even myself what i can do
I don't think that most people solo to show off. It's more of a zen thing. Being one with the rock. It's a good feeling and yes their is a risk of death. So one must know what level they are comfortable soloing at. Especally when onsite soloing. You fall once and your dead. You would not feel that good about your self surviving a death fall and being parilized while your old partner goes on a summer climbing in the High Sierra while you lay in your death bed like Superman.Climb safe and don't get in over your head soloing.


aklimerguy


Dec 1, 2004, 10:42 AM
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I don't think that most people solo to show off. It's more of a zen thing.

I agree. I don't think most people climb to show off either. But some do. They're the dangerous ones.


epic_ed


Dec 1, 2004, 11:03 AM
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Nothing like a n00b rattling off advice about the implications and consequences of soloing. Here's a few things to think about:

- Soloing doesn't kill people.
- Bad judgement kills people.
- Inexperience kills people.
- Bad luck, bad karma, and misfortune kill people
- Those last three things will kill you regardless if you're soloing, sport climbing, trad climbing, ice climbing, aiding, bouldering, mountaineering, or crossing the fecking road.
- Climbing -- in all forms -- is dangerous and you could die.
- Make decisions about what level of risk you are willing to accept for yourself, in your own life, on your own terms.
- Don't even think about telling me what level of risk I should accpet in my own life.
- Stick to writing a trip report about your own experience, and spare us the fecking lecture about how we should all use your experience as the guide post for making decisions about what and how we choose to climb.

Ed

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