Any free climbers out there

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  • #3400 Reply


    I’m wanting to get in touch with any free climbers out there (ie no ropes/safety equipment – the purest form of climbing)and organise trips around WA.

    My email is



    PS No preaching thanks

    #3401 Reply


    Hi Paul,

    I’m not going to preach to you, but I am certainly going to point several things out. The first is that free climbing is defined as climbing without aid, ie not hanging on gear. Leading, using ropes and protection, but not hanging on the protection is by definition freeclimbing. Aiding may include the use of aid gear, such as Skyhooks, which can’t function as protection and can only work because they are loaded by being climbed on.

    What you are planning on doing is unroped soloing.

    Now, maybe you know all this and have made an informed decision that you want to solo. That is your decision and has to be your’s alone. By definition, you don’t need other people in order to do so. That’s the first thing.

    Secondly you have used a value-laden word, (purest), to describe what you want to do. It worries me that some impressionable person reading that will think they should be soloing because it’s “purer”. The lead climbing safety protection system works. We can climb at our limits and beyond, fall, and survive. For anyone tempted, be aware that if every lead climber I know soloed what they lead, there wouldn’t be more than one or two left alive or not permanently paralysed and/or maimed and I would definitely be amongst the dead. Just to keep the record straight, I have soloed, but way, way below my limit, and for my own very, very personal reasons. I would be totally and utterly morally wrong to suggest or invite anybody else do so or to say that it was somehow a “purer” thing to do.

    Cheers all,

    Safe climbing,


    #3402 Reply


    Good on ya Toc! And Paul, if you’re going to solo, please don’t do it at any crags on private land, cos when your body is found in a pile at the base, it’s likely that the crags will be closed as you’ve just made climbing look dangerous.

    And not to start a flame war, but if you don’t know the difference between free climbing (as Toc explained) and free soloing, you probably shouldn’t be soloing.

    #3403 Reply


    Yeah Yeah, I pretty much expected that response but everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

    I’ve never used climbing equipment so I’m not up to speed with the lingo but I guess I like to go Solo (ice ice baby)

    Look I shouldn’t have used the word “purest” and apologise for unintentionally trying to glamorise what I do. Lets face it – this can be high risk – and people that contact me will know this otherwise I wouldn’t climb with them.

    #3404 Reply



    Are you talking about bouldering or soloing? How much climbing have you done if you have never used climbing equipment? Because, if you are planning on soloing, not bouldering, and you don’t know what you are doing, and you attempt what climbers typically climb, you are almost certainly going to die. You have no right to invite anybody else to join you. If that’s what you really want to do, I’ll repeat, you don’t need anybody else.

    I was away for the Easter weekend at Peak Charles, where there are climbs in excess of 200 metres. Is this what you plan on doing, because if you don’t learn to top rope, to second and to lead, you won’t even learn the physical techniques essential to do these climbs.

    Safe climbing,


    #3405 Reply


    just to clarify Toc’s point…

    bouldering is generally classed by a climb which you can generally safely jump most standards up to 6-7m for a high ball problem (any corrections welcome) where free climbing (climbs where the climber utilises ropes and protection to protect them from injury and death if they fall) can range from anywhere from 5m up to long multipitch routes as Toc states in excess of 200m.

    #3406 Reply

    John Knight

    If you are planning on bouldering, then there are plenty of us that love a good boulder, and I’m probably the most notorious boulder-phile on the forum! You’d be welcome to join us. But yes, free-soloers don’t get any empathy/kudos/congrats/sympathy at death from me.

    #3407 Reply


    I respect free soloists for what they do and I can understand why they do it, but even the best soloists have usually toproped/lead climbed the route they are soloing so many times that they know every hold, every move, every balance on the rock. Usually to the point where only a freak accident would be able to ping them off the rock. Some free soloists of note being Dean Potter and Steph Davis, and even they rope a climb long before soloing it.

    But to free solo a route onsight with no prior knowledge, except for maybe a topo, is a bit like playing russian roulette with five bullets in the gun instead of one isn’t it?

    It’s not a game I would play…

    Stay alive. Use a rope.

    #3408 Reply



    It’s all about knowing your limits and making calculated risks. You mentioned when you were soloing that you climbed way below your limit – that is common sense and I don’t endorse any reckless/suicidal decision making but when you are soloing you have to accept that the reaper may be around the next ledge.

    Not sure where you are going with the moral issue about inviting people to join me? – my conscious is clear – as you said it’s a “personal” decision to solo and with or without me people will continue to solo – Infact I think its responsible that I solo with other like-minded soloists (ie emergency help could be sought by other climbers in the event of a non fatal accident – some chance is better than none!) .


    I’m not in the same league as the climbers you mentioned (I did a search on their names and there is a lot of interesting info about them – thanks) – I climb verticals and slight overhangs that are within my limits ( I have done a lot of climbing in areas like Kakadu / Karajinni – where the integrity of the rock faces are very solid). I think you are overplaying the Russian roulette thing – what’a topo? Some sort of drug?


    #3409 Reply


    Paul, I prefer you don’t die, but I’m having a huge amount of difficulty working out where you are coming from. I support more than you realize the right to make your own decisions about your own life.

    You say you’ve soloed, but you’ve never done any roped climbing. There’s terminology any climber who has been around for any longer than a little while, that you don’t know. This may sound like I’m putting you down, I’m not. I’m just trying to find out what you are about. There is a moral issue involved, in this case it’s mine.

    So here’s a question. How high do you climb?


    #3410 Reply



    Actually one further thing.

    Climbing is not allowed in either Kakadu or Karajinni and Karajinni in particular does not have good rock. I don’t know about Kakadu.

    If what you were doing was actually bouldering, then take up John Knight’s offer. You’ll have a lot of fun.


    #3411 Reply


    So far but one point has been missed. Does CAWA want to host a site that offers opportunities for soloing? The discussion on this topic has been interesting however in the long run does CAWA really want to be the vehicle for linking solo’ers together? I think not.

    Soloing (as opossed to bouldering) goes against the climbing ethics that CAWA stands for. Personally if people want to do it then so be it, I can’t or wouldn’t stop them. The CAWA site is free for people to express their opinions. Paul one of the reasons have got so much flack/moralising is because CAWA does not advocate these activities and the cAWA website is not the best place to be advertising for climbing partners if soloing is what you want to do.

    #3412 Reply


    i think that as a climbing website the issue of free soloing is relevant as a post (even though it is only represents a marginal segment of climbers).

    and here is probably a better place to post where those people who might be otherwise drawn to this “pure” form of climbing as it was proposed can be given a balence view of this activity by those of us who have been climbing for a long time and know the risks that are not only entailed in soloing but in climbing in general.

    For people considering soloing you need to consider a lot of factors the least of which is your climbing ability. you should also consider, weather, rock stability, your current confidence, wildlife (bees, wasps, lizards snakes..which like to hide in nooks and crannies in the rock). But most importantly you should consider those around you and the other members of the climbing community. If you fall it is those around you who will inevidiably be the ones to patch you up (if your still alive) and carry you out, they will also suffer due to access cliffs closed due to insurance and legal considerations…and last but not least you family and friends… putting them through as loss due to your stupidity in partaking in an extremely high risk activity.

    enough said

    climb safe and have fun

    #3413 Reply

    Chris Dorrian


    I agree with Jamie, soloing is climbing, this is a climbing website.

    Anyone new to climbing and thinking of soloing – read the disclaimer!

    Also you said..

    “Soloing… goes against the climbing ethics that CAWA stands for. “

    I’ve read CAWA’s ethics and constitution and there is no mention of soloing being against what CAWA stands for.



    Well said.


    #3414 Reply


    Oh come on guys! CAWA surely promotes safe climbing and this does not include soloing. Heck look at all the warning notices it puts out about normal run of the mill climbing. Get your heads out of the sand.

    I acknowledged that it is an interesting post and has introduced some good discussion but this still doesn’t negate the fact that advertising for solo climbing partners doesnt fit well on the cAWA site.

    #3415 Reply


    Mmm, soloing.

    People who have never done it ask “why”; and people who have done it understand why and do not need to ask.

    However; soloing is a solitary business, by definition.

    The problem with taking others along is that they may be impressionable, inexperienced and – Paul, do you want to look into a parent’s eyes and say “I went soloing with your kid and now he’s dead, sorry.” ?

    This business is like handling dynamite: it can be done, and safely, but only by the very gifted and experienced few survive it in the long run.

    #3416 Reply


    Had an interesting talk with Mike Adams at Easter about this very issue. For those of you who don’t know who Mike is, he was one of Western Australia’s earliest climbers and is still going strong and still putting up bold routes. It’s well worth the Easter trip just to meet the guys still climbing from that generation. Mike quoted John Long, “There’s a special place in hell for those who convince others to go soloing.” I’ve got no problem with anyone soloing, and I’d be a hypocrite if I did, but it is morally wrong to suggest to anyone that they join you. That’s my beef with Paul, not that he actually solos. The other thing I’ll say is this, everyone else, I know, who solos, does know their limits, because they do climb with ropes and do know what they can and can’t do, except for the young guy who didn’t have a clue, and decided to solo at Mountain Quarry one day when I was there. I helped carry him out. For those who need to know, it’s a sick sound a body makes when it hits. He lived. Lucky, lucky young man. Not every body does and even some of the best find a rock that wasn’t loose last time, or a snake, or a wasp, or a patch of wet rock, and that can so easily be the end of it all.

    A trip around Western Australia dedicated to soloing only is simply madness. A trip around Western Australia, bouldering, sounds like a great way to spend a holiday.

    Cheers all,


    #3417 Reply


    Dinah i understand where your coming from and what you mean by your post….

    but i honestly believe that this is the forum to discuss/debate the issues of soloing..

    as i stated before anyone who might come across pauls post in another forum may not get the balanced view and see both sides of the fence.

    and to be honest…i think we are all kidding ourselves if we think that soloing isnt practiced… most of us have soloed in the past and will do in the future.. as toc states for our own personal reasons. – and thus its a valid post to discuss…i dont think most of us out here morally object to soloing.. but as discussed .. should only be considered by experience climbers who know what they are doing and there abilities and they are fully aware of the risks taken and even then they should be fully aware that they could be seriously injured and die.

    what i think most are objecting to is the “coercion” of others to join up and solo as well…

    climb smart use the protection or boulder…and if you are going to solo….do it where you are not going to influance or affect others…i particularly dont want to carry out someone badly injured…or even worse a corpse

    #3418 Reply

    John Knight

    I agree with Dinah that it probably isn’t a good idea to advertise for soloing, but I think it’s defintiely worth keeping this discussion thread for future reference.

    #3419 Reply

    Mary Wollstonecraft

    A solo climbing partner is an oxymoron. Soloing, like masturbation, is a solitary occupation.

    #3420 Reply


    Masturbating is a lot safer and more socially acceptable.

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