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tazz

interesting Mass free soloing video

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When people die on a rare occassion doing something that they love, that is an understandable risk/reward activity.

When people die on a regular basis doing something that they love, that is a questionable risk/reward activity.

 

The difference between "American" free soloists and "Stolby" free soloists is the mindset approaching the climb.

For the most part, free solos in America are carefully calculated risks made by climbers that know their ability, know the climb, know the risks, and are mature enough to decide whether they are capable of climbing the route safely without gear. As a result we are generally surprised when a free soloist dies.

 

Stolby on the other hand is a community that appears to be free soloing in the same manner as a group of kids playing on monkey bars with no regard to the consequences, knowledge of the climb, knowledge of their own abilities, and many aren't mature enough to get behind a wheel let alone free solo.

 

It's basically comparing a climbing gymn where someone who's been climbing all his life, jumps on a rated route within their ability and solos to the top vs. a gymn where everyone pushes the kids, who are just learning, to try the climbs with no ropes. It was a boy who died not a man, how do you feel about a 13 year old american being encouraged to free solo by his parents, especially after his 3 siblings have already died doing the same thing. When do you have the right to call a climber or a group of climbers reckless?

 

I can't say I understand it or agree with it and yes I feel that I have the right to call it as I see it. The difference between us calling them stupid and the public calling us stupid, is that we don't die on a regular basis, they do. "This happens all the time at Stolby." Brittany saw it for what it was right off and I'm sure Jonathan sees it the same way after watching a young boy die in front of him and the community shrug it off as commonplace.

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So ken4ord when people disagree with your opinion they are "stupid" and unworthy to climb? What makes you the authority on the definition of climbing?

 

My Thailand analogy still stands for on reason: the key difference between pursuits like climbing and collecting bird eggs or fishing in the Bering sea is that one servers a very specific purpose that has a price determined by an economic market on it. Sure climbing warms your soul - that's great. It warms mine too when it's not snowing. But no matter how you look at it, it is a pursuit that serves no purpose other than personal gain. We choose to climb and most of us who choose to climb do so because we have the economic means to do so. To many of us climbing seems more valuable than any job and we would like to think we prize it above our work commitments. However, the fact remains - climbing is an activity that is primarily an activity pursued by middle to upper class white guys who have a solid financial base (be it their own money or mammas).

 

Granted we're basing all our conclusions on a short video clip -- however the video speaks for itself in that it shows what the kids are doing. Most of us would be quick to condemn pursuits where children and youth are subjected to dangerous pursuits that often result in death - but for some reason this is considered fine because it's climbing and tradition.

 

Sure there might be a huge tradition when it comes to free soling and risk - that said there is also a huge "tradition" of alcoholism and suicide in Russia. Russian's have a long history of mental angst and depression, to me this video highlighted another out that really didn't seem much different then suicide or alcoholism.

 

PS... here are more pix / videos. This one is pretty telling in that it actually has a series of photos of a guy falling to his death.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=1622731;guest=14932675

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It's the fucking Russians, that's pretty much all that needs to be said. Did you see the crazy shit they put up on the Dru around the time of that huge rock avalanche a few years ago? They're all psychos, it's in their culture somehow. That's why they get stuff done where others can't. And also why they die with regularity. There was an interesting documentary on when the American astronauts had to work together on Mir. Pretty eye-opening on what's considered acceptable risk in our culture.

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A few years ago I was on the Kahiltna when a group of Russians showed up hoping to put the first paraplegic on the summit of Denali. Their plan was to fix rope up the entire West Buttress while the guy essentially jumared his way up using a custom sled. I asked the head ranger, Roger Robinson, what he thought their chances were and he said: "They're Russians. They live to suffer. If anyone can do it - they can."

 

 

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Now you know why the Nazis were defeated at Stalingrad.

having italians on their side probably didn't help either :)

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Now you know why the Nazis were defeated at Stalingrad.

having italians on their side probably didn't help either :)

 

via ferrata vs. head-first free downclimbing... yep, you've got a point!

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So ken4ord when people disagree with your opinion they are "stupid" and unworthy to climb? What makes you the authority on the definition of climbing?

 

My Thailand analogy still stands for on reason: the key difference between pursuits like climbing and collecting bird eggs or fishing in the Bering sea is that one servers a very specific purpose that has a price determined by an economic market on it. Sure climbing warms your soul - that's great. It warms mine too when it's not snowing. But no matter how you look at it, it is a pursuit that serves no purpose other than personal gain. We choose to climb and most of us who choose to climb do so because we have the economic means to do so. To many of us climbing seems more valuable than any job and we would like to think we prize it above our work commitments. However, the fact remains - climbing is an activity that is primarily an activity pursued by middle to upper class white guys who have a solid financial base (be it their own money or mammas).

 

Granted we're basing all our conclusions on a short video clip -- however the video speaks for itself in that it shows what the kids are doing. Most of us would be quick to condemn pursuits where children and youth are subjected to dangerous pursuits that often result in death - but for some reason this is considered fine because it's climbing and tradition.

 

Sure there might be a huge tradition when it comes to free soling and risk - that said there is also a huge "tradition" of alcoholism and suicide in Russia. Russian's have a long history of mental angst and depression, to me this video highlighted another out that really didn't seem much different then suicide or alcoholism.

 

PS... here are more pix / videos. This one is pretty telling in that it actually has a series of photos of a guy falling to his death.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=1622731;guest=14932675

 

 

No. Just because someone disagrees with my opinion does not make them stupid. What makes them stupid is to jump to a conclusions about a group of people based on a short video clip. I think I am pretty clear I am not the authority on climbing, but I still stand by my belief, just because something doesn't have economic value doesn't make it less valueable or worthy than things that do.

 

I don't know if I agree with your statement that climbing is mainly done by middle to upper class white guys. Yeah most of them are white and guys that one is pretty obvious, but most climbers I know and who I have met are more lower class. Again I am not an authority on climbing or it's demographics throughout the world, nor do see the point of bringing demographics into the picture. Climbing is a pursuit that enriches or at least hopefully it does enrich ones life. Comparing climbing to alcoholism and suicide is a pretty far stretch and if that is what it is to you, then you need some help.

 

I know that I can go searching on the internet and find all kinds of pictures of people who are roped up and falling to their death. What are those crazy fools thinking pursuing a activity that is so dangerous. Do they not have any regard for their own personal well being??

 

 

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In America we have two annoying mindsets:

 

1 - When things go wrong many Americans blame everything except themselves (coffee burns lip = blame vendor, child fails class = blame teacher, kid shoots peers = blame video games).

 

Couple this with our legal system and you get people who sue McD because coffee is hot. This seems to feed our second mentality:

 

2 - Many Americans seem to believe the government has the right to decide what level of personal risk is acceptable for its citizens to assume. (Laws for motorcycle helmets, car seatbelts, carseats, marijuana....let's not forget MLUs on Mt Hood!).

 

In other places (like Stolby?) you don't see this combination. To illustrate, consider the next time you visit a cliff or waterfall in a popular area. In the US you will see railings and warning signs. Go to a similar setting in Australia or NZ or elsewhere and often you don't see those things. Why? It is presumed that if you do something stupid it is your own damn fault and not the park's fault. If you were to try to sue the park the judge would throw your case out the window.

 

The blame game is deeply disturbing to me, but I don't have any solutions to propose other than reforming the legal system to remove financial incentives...

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