The beauty of climbing without ropes

For some climbers, though, protection takes away the essence of the sport. Without ropes and other obstacles, proponents of free soloing say their sport offers a kind of focus, simplicity and speed that other forms of climbing can’t touch. Free soloing also offers the possibility of death at any moment. If a rock ledge breaks, or sweaty fingers slip at hundreds or thousands of feet up, chances are not good for survival.All of that may explain why it is so mesmerizing to watch climbers as they free solo difficult routes. Even if you think it’s outrageous to take those kinds of risks, I dare you to tear your eyes away.

The video above, for example, shows Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck in 2008, as he cruised up the Eiger, a 13,025-foot mountain in Switzerland, in record time. Stech finished the technical route in two hours, 47 minutes and 33 seconds. It was just a year after he had set the previous record of three hours and 45 minutes. The video, created for the 2010 Reel Rock Tour by Sender Films, shows a man in constant and quick motion — even when he reaches an ice field near the top of the mountain. The energy required to accomplish such a thing is hard to fathom.

Via Free climbing

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One Response to The beauty of climbing without ropes

  1. alfy says:

    A breathtaking post. I thought it looked like the Jungfrau, but no it voss der Eiger. Years ago my elderly mother who was a great eclectic reader got a book out of the library on the first ascent of the north face of the Eiger and passed it to me. It was absolutely fascinating and some of the features stayed in my memory, like “The White Spider” (a snowfield) and the “Hinterstoisser Traverse” (a hairy ice-covered crossing). I shall look again at the ascent and see if I can spot them.

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