Honnold Free Solos Squamish s University Wall
Posted September 3, 2014 at 8:09 am · Comments < 19 > ·
Alex Honnold has been keeping busy up in Squamish, soloing 290 pitches for his 29th birthday on August 17th and then soloing University Wall on The Chief :
This August 25, Honnold hiked from the parking lot along Highway 99, passing a small gaggle of climbers below the popular 5.10 finger crack Seasoned in the Sun and James Lucas on his way back down from his own clambering on University Wall, to arrive at the left side of the Chief s massive Grand Wall and the base of his objective. He started climbing, thankful to be wearing a t-shirt to protect his skin from the chimneys and offwidths on the lower pitches. Reaching past Bellygood Ledge, he continued up The Roman Chimneys for its extra four pitches of 5.10 and 5.11 to top out.
Interesting interview to go along with that article as well.
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19 Responses to Honnold Free Solos Squamish s University Wall
Owen September 3, 2014 at 10:40 am #
Ryan September 4, 2014 at 1:14 am #
Two hours, car-to-car, with a good break in the middle. He made it sound like he was so on top of things that day that it felt like 5.easy. Absolutely rad.
j September 4, 2014 at 2:18 am #
Honnold is the Wayne Grezky of free soloing. EXCEPT, he hasn t really soloed the really really hard (grade-wise) shit yet.
Hold the hate because I do believe that all things considered, he is still easily the most accomplished free soloist to ever live and certainly who is currently active.
That said, in the article he did note the fact that Huber has soloed 5.14, presumably, as some type of acknowledgement (justified or not) that high grade soling is something to (a) be admired and (b) that he has not done yet (meaning hold the accolades for now at least, I have reason to be modest, psh, whatever!).
Yet he also states that doing really hard moves is not something that interests him in comparison to other experiences ( adventures in the common parlance).
What WILL be interesting is to see if his future solos will follow the same general trajectory as before (hardman trad routes, big walls, maybe shorter 13 s) or if there may be some dabbling in highest grade sport solos. My guess is not (the later) but what do I know?
Any thoughts? Will Honnold test the 14 waters some day soon? 13.b (Cosmic Debris) is awful close!
James September 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm #
Huber was always the better climber in terms of pure difficulty. The cruxes on his routes Open Air or Om are very hard even by today s standards. For Honnold to try to solo a route as hard and short as Komunist would be very risky even suicidal.
j September 5, 2014 at 4:12 am #
Point well taken. So you seem to be on the side that Honnold will not, nor cannot, solo at the grade level of Huber. Dunno. Maybe a repeat solo of Komunist would be the icing and the cake for Honnold as well as show that he s in the game to be the best. He s the one that brought up Huber after all. All things can be dialed in for the best and I believe that Honnold could gain the confidence level sufficient for such a solo.
More than likely though, he really isn t out there to prove anything to anyone, and we ll be left wondering if we need to categorize the best soloists in terms of, on one hand, epic scale, and the other, grades.
Honnold s highest redpoint, I believe, was 5.14b or c, compare this to Huber s 5.15a and it just doesn t make sense for him to solo at the same level. huber was soloing one full number behind his max redpoint, stretch that same to honnold and it maxes out at around 5.13b/c which is where he s currently soloing.
Steven September 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm #
To Big to Flail is essentially a 5.13d route, though a short one. I m actually more impressed with the long, hard trad routes AH solos rather than working some single pitch hard sport route to death and than soloing it.
Narc September 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm #
Soloing big walls makes more logical sense than single pitch sport routes as well. There is a tangible benefit to going ropeless on a big climb in that you get to the top much more quickly whereas getting to the top of a sport route more quickly isn t really much of an issue.
j September 6, 2014 at 2:16 am #
There are certainly lots of ancillary experiential/practical benefits to soloing long routes vs. sport climbs. This fact of course does not support any claim that those who solo long (easier) routes are in some sense better soloists than those who solo harder short routes (and I m not saying this was implied at all). I do think it has to do with overall track record (like most sports) myself, which is why Honnold is likely the best ever, even though a very few have soloed harder. His resume is still the most impressive.
That said, dialing in the hardest moves in climbing, and then doing them ropeless, could arguably be as or more difficult then dialing in longer easier routes. For people with requisite endurance, length is probably not nearly as daunting as us mere mortals would believe it to be. I don t think Honnold is too concerned with pumping out on any of his longer hard solos, and with good reason.
Christopher desir September 6, 2014 at 1:57 pm #
I think it is the mental pump out factor that makes soloing long routes so difficulty
the menace September 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm #
I think John Bachar is the best soloist of our time. He pushed the limits before any one else. All of us are standing on the shoulders of those who crushed before us. Honnold is no different. Dereck Heresy is another example of a really great soloist. Dan Osman also comes to mind. This is only my opinion and I will never solo anything. I have never climbed the difficulty these guys have. I am inspired by all these guys. They do what they do and the films of their exploits get me psyched to climb and train harder. Just like a climbing film should. Sorry if I have wandered from the point but I have had a drink or 2.
Everyone always forgets Michael Reardon. Perhaps the best on-sight soloist: 5.13s and 5.12 multi-pitch. He also did Bachar-style single-pitch binge-solos. As far as difficulty goes he is in the 14 club. Some think he faked his death since his body was never found. He was an eccentric Hollywood movie producer with an array of scholastic achievement so its not that far fetched.
NotCoolMan September 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm #
Reardon deserves the recognition for sure, but you should drop the stuff about him faking his death. His body was never found because he was swept out to sea and drowned in rough waters before rescuers could arrive. I m sure that his wife, and his friends who watched him get taken in and ran to go get help, would think that was a pretty funny joke to play along with though.
j September 9, 2014 at 12:43 pm #
There s nothing inherently wrong with mentioning conspiracy theories, even those about death, save for the fact that like most, they lack credibility. Lack of a body does not constitute evidence for the positive claim that Reardon faked his death. Conversely, there is ample evidence for the claim that he died as reported.
I do think that onsight soloing, like onsight ascents in general, are by far the most impressive. Of course, at the highest grades, they are also the most dangerous. I for one would not like free soloing to go this direction in any competitive fashion. I want to share in the enjoyment of the ongoing accomplishments of top climbers, not mourn their loss.
the menace September 8, 2014 at 7:02 pm #
I am not as familier with Michael as some others. He came up with the zones in soloing right? Feel like I read an old mag article about the zones of injury depending on height. And was it Earl Wiggens or Eric Zieschie who soloed in the Black canyon of gunnison? Cutting edge on rotten rock. Wow. Makes me wonder if Honnold is more note worthy because of the time we live in given so much media exposure. And climbing having grown t the proportions it has. Of course there is always Herman Buhl who was soloing way back when. Standing on the shoulders of true giants! Also what is the median age of folks who look at this site. Do they even know the names of past heroes?
Matt September 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm #