There are many different forms of climbing that you can choose to specialize in, and many of them come with their own unique set of challenges and obstacles. Various climbers will have different skillsets, so no single climber will be the best in every category, but you can try to vary up your climbs to diversify your skills.
Since you have so many different forms of climbing to choose from (such as free solo rock climbing), it can be challenging to find a specialization that is ideal for your climbing style.
It is for this reason that you should try out various climbing styles early on so that you can find the best one for you, each one will require its own specific climbing abilities.
For example, an outdoor climber and an indoor climber will have different skills. An outdoor climber will know how to analyze the terrain and the wall that they are about to climb. On the other hand, an indoor climber will have a bit more of a technical skillset that is better suited to indoor courses.
Different types of climbing are not only distinguished by the venue where the climbing takes place, but they can also be determined by the equipment that you use over the course of your climb.
What Is Free Climbing?
Before we address the topic of free solo climbing, we will quickly go over free climbing, which many view to be intense enough in its own regard. Free climbing is much like ordinary rock climbing, except in that you don't use any ropes to help you scale your chosen obstacle.
Do not take this to mean that there are no ropes used at all. In most forms of free climbing, the climber still makes use of ropes, but none of them are used to help make the ascent any easier. Your ropes in free climbing are used exclusively to prevent you from falling and sustaining a severe injury.
Free climbing does not necessarily have to be done alone, and you will find that groups of some of the most experienced climbers will take on free climbing challenges together. Free climbing is viewed as a form of climbing that is reserved exclusively for more advanced rock climbers.
While free climbing can be a little more dangerous than regular climbing, you will find that the presence of a safety rope means that most injuries can still be avoided. However, keep in mind that it will be much more difficult for you to complete an unassisted ascent, especially if you have never tried it before.
What Is Free Solo Climbing?
If you thought that free climbing sounded like a hard enough challenge, then you have yet to hear about free solo climbing.
Free solo climbing would be like free climbing's big brother if it was about twice as dangerous. Unlike in free climbing, a free solo climber does not even make use of a safety rope. The entirety of a free solo climbing ascent is performed unassisted, and it is likely the most intense climbing challenge possible.
This form of rock climbing is the purest form of climbing when it comes to sheer athletic achievement. You will find no more impressive accomplishments in the rock climbing discipline save for a few rare outliers. Keep in mind that this is no challenge for even moderately experienced rock climbers; you have to be the best.
We would only recommend free solo climbing for rock climbers who feel that they have reached the limits of their abilities. If you have completed every possible climb and you are ready for the next challenge, perhaps you are prepared for a free solo climb.
Keep in mind that we have only addressed half the challenge that lies in a free solo climb. As you can tell by the name, a free solo climb can’t be accomplished in a group. When you embark upon a free solo climb, you are beginning something that you will have to undertake alone.
Dangers Of Free Solo Climbing
Of course, the most significant risk that you will have to put up with as a free solo climber is the chance that you lose your grip and fall to a severe injury or even death. The lack of a safety rope means that even the slightest of mistakes can result in disaster (even if it is that very lack that spurs you on).
Free solo climbing also means that you will not have a partner to notice if you end up falling. It is for this reason that free solo climbs are almost always supervised. If you survive your fall, you may not have access to a form of communication that can get you some help.
There are many horror stories of free solo climbers who got stuck after a fall and could not get access to help.
If you are going to be going on a free solo climb, you will want to be sure that you bring along a satellite phone or some similar form of communication so that you can get rescue if you need it. While free solo climbing can be dangerous, there are ways to minimize the risks.
Famous Free Solo Climbers
Ironically enough, some of the most famous free solo climbers are not even rock climbers. Many of the free solo climbers who are the most well-renowned are actually known for buildering. This is a form of climbing in which the climber ascends humanmade objects such as buildings and towers.
For example, the French Spider-Man is one of the most famous free solo climbers, and his real name is Alain Robert. This climber has ascended the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, though that particular climb was accomplished with the use of a safety harness.
There are few challenges in the world of rock climbing that can hope to match free solo climbing. Nothing beats the element of risk and fear that goes into a free solo climb, but nothing also beats the sense of accomplishment upon completion of the climb.