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What's the difference between free climbing and solo climbing?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2011.03  

Asked at 2011.03.08 23:43:53

answer Ian Bach  Answered at 2011.03.08 23:43:53
Solo versus free climbing:

Free climbing is a bit of a misnomer. There is nothing free about it. They say its free climbing because the rope is only there in case you fall and that you are not being pulled up. But they will never know the accomplishment of listening to ones own thoughts, gagging ones own ability to succeed or fail, and knowing when to turn back and climb down till the day you know you can accomplish the unthinkable.

Here I am standing bottom left, doing belay for my friend Eric who is near top of the crack. See the rocks to my right all the way bottom right. Ouch! you wouldnt want to fall here. Maybe its why it took me so long to overcome my doubts. Ever since the first time I finaly solo climbed this I have never had to turn back once here.

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Overcoming ones Limits
Once I was aware the only thing that held me back was my doubts I was able to tackle my fears and accomplish what others said could not be accomplished.

Yes it is me. and Yes there are some ropes dangling there from when my friend used them, those are not attached to me. Personnaly I have met too many people who relied on ropes and were injured when the rope broke. Three of those I met are paraplegics. Climbing ropes are only good for 10-15 falls. But most people use them beyod that. Also a delima is whats considered a fall. This is where the grey line clouds the judgments. The security blanket becmomes the noose, and trusting in what we can not control becomes dangerous.

Climbing without ropes is a rush. You must constantly be aware of what you are thinking (Like the little red train, either you think you can, or you know you can.) and at times you must tell yourself not to think too much. Many times I would get very high up on other rock faces 5.7s maybe as high as 200 feet. But the moment you feel doubt you must stop and position yourself where you felt secure. There you must rest and take a minute to gather your thoughts. You must at times rethink your position. First thought is, "is there a safer route I will feel more comfortable with?" If no safer, or easier route can be found "do I turn back or do I wait and gather my thoughts more." This is when knowing your limits are important. To push back the edge of the envelope is a rush, but it is knowing how far you can push the envelope that makes the journey succeed.

Here is a link to climbing terms:
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