If you have been following our blog for a while then you will know that free climbing is all about climbing without harnesses, ropes and other protective gear … and the sky’s the limit. Free climbers, or free solo climbers, are truly amazing individuels.
In this video you will see the best of the best including the superb Dan Osman who is now sadly deceased as is John Bachar who died after a free solo accident at Dike Wall near Mammoth Lakes, California.
But there are others carrying the torch.
Steph Davies, not the English cricketeer but an American rock climber, BASEjumper and wingsuit flyer, is certainly pushing her boundaries. Is she the only woman to have free-soloed a 5.11+ grade? She started rock climbing when she was 18 and became the second woman to free climb El Capitan in one day. Davies has made many first ascents and has also free-soloed and BASE jumped Castleton Tower in Moab, Utah. She has written a book called book High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity which has been translated into multiple languages.
Alex Huber, German, famously set the world record with his brother for climbing the Nose route on El Cap in a death defying two hours and 45 minutes in October 2008 . An all-round climber, Alex is most famous for his bold free ascents of big walls.
Catherine Destivelle soloed the North face of the Eiger in 1992 in 17 hours. It was the first solo female ascent of such a serious and dangerous Alpine face.
Andreas Proft is a 36-year old barefoot climber from East Germany who has been climbing for about 15 years. When questioned about the state of his feet he said “It still hurts to take a fall, but apart from some minor cuts on my feet I have never been injured climbing barefoot.” As his feet became resistant to the pain he was able to redpoint climbs of 8b/5.13d – without any shoes. Combine that with climbing with no protective gear and he really is going the whole hog!
Alex Honnold, a 20-something big wall free solo climber has broken a number of speed records including Salathé Wall and free-soloed the 3,000 ft The Nose in 5 hrs 49 mins - both routes are on El Capitan.
I have written about Dean Potter so many times that it was hard to decide which article to supply as a link but since El Cap is such a stunning piece of rock with so many record attempts made and a few records broken I decided that that would be the one.
The same goes for the great Chris Sharma. Type his name into our search box and you’ll come up with a whole host of articles but I’ve chosen just one to make it easy for you.
And of course, on a slightly different level, but no less athletic and entertaining, is Jyotiraju AKA Monkey King who has put a whole new spin on free climbing and mixes it with parkour!
This hard core group of supreme athletes are the driving force in rock climbing and free soloing today.
Are your palms sweating?