Extreme (#2) – Alex Honnold : Free Solo

“In the mind of the climbing world, Honnold emerged from the goo fully formed. In 2006 nobody had heard of him. In 2007 he free soloed Yosemite’s Astroman and the Rostrum in a day, matching Peter Croft’s legendary 1987 feat, and suddenly Honnold was pretty well-known. A year later, he free soloed the 1,200-foot, 5.12d finger crack that splits Zion’s Moonlight Buttress. The ascent was reported on April 1. For days, people thought the news was a joke. Five months afterward, Honnold took the unprecedented step of free soloing the 2,000-foot, glacially bulldozed Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. Croft called this climb the most impressive ropeless ascent ever done.” …. Wikipedia


Here are some video clips to get your attention……..


POST SCRIPT: After having seen the film I can only say that it is an extraordinary example of documentary film making. The scenery was spectacular,the photography spell binding, the subject matter engaging and the possible outcomes emotionally terrifying. Alex is the ultimate climbing nerd and not one you would want your children or siblings to emulate. If you have an opportunity to see this film don’t miss it.

PPS: 2019/02/24 – FREE SOLO has just won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Film of 2018.


Extreme (#1) – Motor Cycles

I have never really been into motor bikes. In my twenties I toyed with the idea of getting a bike purely to take care of my transportation needs. My uncle talked me out of it and helped me get my first car. I think it was a wise move. In my parent’s day motor cycles were big. I mean the actual bikes were big. With engines over 350ccs the government  of the day decided, probably because of insurance costs, they had to go. They raised  the registration fee (Insurance rates) to a prohibitive level and that forced the big bikes off the road. In a very short time virtually all big motor cycles disappeared off the streets of Sydney (Australia). The Japanese manufacturers took advantage of the situation and aggressively marketed small sporty bikes that captured the imagination of the youth market. The advertisements on the top forty radio shows were not too subtle with their catch phrase  “get something hot and throbbing between your legs …. hop on a Honda”. Soon the soundscape of the beach side suburbs was dominate by the mosquito buzz of 90cc Suzukis, Hondas, etc. The newer, smaller, bikes ran on a thimble full of gas  and cost next to nothing to register and insure.  They were no less dangerous. One could argue that accident rates probably increased. This was in the days of no helmets or protective gear. It was not uncommon to see a bike belting down the beach front road in Manly, manned by youth clad only in shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops. I lost a number of friends to deadly street crashes. There was no particular street racing culture to blame. It was just the nature of the beast – light, fast and no protection. There was a racing scene but it centered around flat track racing at one of the local arenas. I don’t know if that style of racing exists anymore. Dirt bikes probably fill that particular need for excitement these days. In flat track racing there was a simple formula. Assemble a number of bike riders on a circular cinder track and let them go at it. It was cheap, spectacular and any one with the nerve “could give it a go”. The visual spectacle of a stack of bikes roaring around a track in what was basically a controlled skid with the riders sticking their inside his leg out to slide on the cinder track and prevent the bike sliding out from under them had great visual appeal. It was crazy but bike fans loved it. Compared to the races on the Isle of Man it was positively sane.

Even back in those days I knew about the Isle of Man TT Race. One of my uncle’s employees was killed on the Isle of Man track and when you view the following videos you can see how that could happen. So called “Crotch Rockets” have their appeal but this activity is purely insane.

and now the save of the year…………

It doesn’t get any more extreme than this……..