Free Solo II
For the last day of my days off, I headed to Vauxwall East this morning, to cross another London climbing gym off my to-visit list. I’d seen videos of the inside and knew that they had some cool walls and problems, but what I didn’t know is that they have a replica of the Freerider boulder problem on El Capitan, the one featured in Free Solo. The replica was even set, certified and climbed by Honnold himself, so it’s the real deal.
Obviously free soloing El Cap is a feat completely beyond my comprehension. I can’t imagine conquering my fears with such totality that I’d be able to perform at the level required to free every pitch on El Cap (obviously I couldn’t even do most of the pitches even if they were all single-pitch and I had a rope). They make a big deal of the boulder problem in the documentary, and so you know it’s a big deal. But to actually try and do a replica, knowing that were this the real thing one mistake would cause you to fall to your death, adds even more context to Honnold’s mind-boggling achievement.
I had not just climbed 15 pitches when I tried the problem, so I was a lot fresher than Honnold would’ve been at that point. I couldn’t even do the first move - were I in his tight-fitting, rubber climbing shoes, I would’ve plummeted to my demise on the floor of the Yosemite Valley.