Free solo climbing: one of the most extreme sports

Free solo climbing: one of the most extreme sports

A few months ago, we talked about base jumping and how this was an extreme sport. In today’s article, we want to focus on another of the most extreme sports for all lovers of adventure, and the most dangerous sports. Specifically, we will talk about free solo climbing, what it consists of, and the differences it has with other types of extreme sports. 

What is free solo climbing?

Solo free climbing has become one of the most dangerous but also most advanced forms of climbing, as it requires mastery and experience of the spectacular sport. This is because free climbing is a technique in which climbers climb alone, that is, without any climbing ropes, harnesses, or other protective equipment. It is for this reason that we commented previously that it is necessary to have great knowledge about the sport since the person who performs this discipline will depend solely on their own strength and their own physical ability. Free solo climbing has become one of the most extreme sports in the world as people who practice this dangerous sport climb above what is considered safe heights, where a fall could cause serious injuries.

The differences between free climbing versus free solo

Over the years, more variations have been created on rock climbing and currently, there are two specific terms that can be confused with each other, especially for all those people who are not familiar with this sport. These two concepts are free climbing and free solo.

As we have commented previously, in free solo climbing the climbers practice this sport without any type of protective material. So the ability and execution of the movements by the climber have to be perfect since avoiding a fall will only depend on the climber himself. Some people consider that this type of climbing is the purest and most real way to practice this sport since you are in direct contact with nature. Still, it is also considered one of the most dangerous practices.

These two terms can cause confusion since in free climbing the sport of climbing is also practiced without any kind of aid climbing since the purpose is the same, that the rock climber ascends with his own strength, without any equipment to help him climb. What differentiates free climbing from free solo is that in free climbing protection is used in the event of a fall.

Famous free soloists in the world

Next, we also want to comment on the famous free soloists in the world:

Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold is considered one of the pioneers of this extreme sport. In addition, he has achieved different climbing and speed records since every time Honnold does one of his climbs he defies gravity and all possible risks. He is capable of climbing vertical surfaces only with his hands and feet and for this reason, he has become one of the best solo freestyle climbers in the world. Among the most outstanding speed records is “El Capitan” in Yosemite National Park since in June 2017 he traveled this route in just 3 hours and 56 minutes.

Bad Gobright

Brad Gobright was also one of the great climbers as he based his entire life on climbing and did it at any time in his life. Like many other famous climbers, he worked on YOSAR, Yosemite Search and Rescue, while climbing many of Yosemite’s walls. Thanks to this, he had reached numerous speed records.

Austin Howell

The last free solo climber that we want to highlight is Austin Howell, he was passionate about climbing and he showed it in his day to day life. He was considered to be an independent climber as he was not sponsored and he climbed because for him, this sport was a path to peace. In one of his great achievements, Linville Gorge, an unidentified road suffered a fatal fall.

Free solo: the Alex Honnold documentary film

To end this article we want to comment on one of the best documentaries that have been made about this extreme sport. This is Free Solo: The Alex Honnold documentary film that National Geographic made in 2018. Through this, it is shown how Alex Honnold works to be able to perform the best free solo climb, specifically, his rise from El Capitan is portrayed in June 2017, for which he reached one of his records.

This documentary was premier on September 28, 2018, in the United States and after receiving numerous positive reviews it got great awards, including the Oscar for best documentary in 2019.

You can watch the trailer here!


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