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October 10, 2011

"Walking across it was cooler"

halfdome.jpg

"There is a famous image of me standing on a ledge around 1700 feet up on the Northwest Face of Half Dome,"
explained Alex seen here reenacting that photograph. "My back is to the cliff wall and below is a sheer drop. It is part of the route to the top and has to be traversed by all climbers of Half Dome, with or without rope. Some climbers wade down and edge themselves across with their arms along the ledge. Some climbers sit on their backsides and edge themselves across that way. I felt though, that walking across it was cooler. It is around a foot wide at the start, but narrows to six inches by the end. By the end, the cliff wall bows out and pushes your back forwards so that you are literally peering over the sheer drop" -- Alex Honnold tackles cliff faces around the globe - Telegraph

Actually, what's really cool is "reenacting" it.

Posted by Vanderleun at October 10, 2011 9:21 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

What was the pucker factor? I'd guess about 98 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Posted by: ROger.45 at October 10, 2011 9:59 AM

Spiderman. Look at all the pics. Long wiry arms, slender ligtweight frame, and mental toughness. Not your typical human being. Unfortunately, he will grow old. What he does is for the young. And why does he do it? Because he can.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at October 10, 2011 11:19 AM

got 3 words for you.
No.
Fucking.
Way.

Posted by: m00se at October 10, 2011 12:18 PM

Been there, done that, twice (with ropes). Good times. Mine was more of a crawl, but even that way, the ledge pushes hard to get you off it. This way is very sporty, as once started standing up, you can't reach down to place protection in the crack. You will fall a long penduluming way before the rope catches you and smashes you against the Zig-Zag cracks. My hats off to the first climber who had the vision and courage to do it like this. An example of something very physically easy to do, but requires almost superhuman mental toughness.

Posted by: John A. Fleming at October 10, 2011 2:28 PM

I had an involuntary physical reaction just looking at that photo. And not in a good way.

Posted by: RedCarolina at October 10, 2011 2:56 PM

And just so you know, the camera angle is slightly off. The wall is actually steeper, closer to vertical, than the photo implies. You fall off that ledge, it's going to be a while before you hit something. Sick, huh!

Posted by: John A. Fleming at October 10, 2011 3:23 PM

The fall won't kill you, just the last foot.

Posted by: Peccable at October 10, 2011 3:43 PM

I had probably the same reaction as RedCarolina and also that of m00se.

I scaled a practice rock in Pennsylvania. Once. Made it to the top. It was the equivalent of a "bunny slope" in skiing, but it was enough for me.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at October 11, 2011 2:49 PM

You fall off that ledge, it's going to be a while before you hit something.

You have a way with words.

Posted by: rickl at October 11, 2011 6:29 PM

Just climber lingo. Survival strategy. So close and famililar to danger, we speak of it in a joking and graphic way, as of an old and trusted friend. It reminds us to hold on tight.

Posted by: John A. Fleming at October 12, 2011 1:35 PM

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