Frequently asked questions

  • What are the best gloves for soloing?

    • Boxing mitts. They give more padding for catching a fall. also works for bouldering

  • If your hat falls off, does the climb count?

    • no, absolutely not

  • Do you carry your own body bag?

  • What kind of insurance policy do you have?

  • What was your first thought after your first solo?

    • “Wow, that wasn’t nearly as scary or stupid as I thought it was going to be… which is cool, because I didn’t expect it to be much of either of those!”

  • What are some interesting reasons you have bailed from a solo?

    • They’ve all been pretty boring reasons really. The most common being that I’ll get up to some sort of crux move, realize i’m not as cool as I thought I was, and then back off

  • Is it called “free solo” because you don’t have to pay for ropes"?

  • Why did you start soloing?

  • Do you have some sort of a death wish?

    • Clearly not. I really enjoy this thing called free-soloing, and if I died, I wouldn’t be able to do it anymore, which would be a huge bummer!

  • You do realize that you can just walk around to the backside, right?

    • Clearly you have no idea how insanely bad at walking I am. There’s a reason I climb!

  • Is the risk worth the reward? What about those you leave behind?

    • Good point. I get it, soloing enables me to move quickly, which runs the risk of leaving my climbing partners behind. I make sure to circle back periodically throughout the day and check on them!

  • Have you ever had a moment of panic or thought “this was it?”

    • One day I was soloing “Built to Tilt” in Linville Gorge, NC. As I got to the end of the body-length roof-crux, I felt something horrible shift. I felt a hard tug on my ears as I realized that my iPhone had slipped out of my pocket due to the change in angle. After a brief moment of panic I realized that it was dangling from my headphone cord, so I reeled it back in and kept going. This time in my butt pocket instead of the front pocket of my jeans. Maybe that one will work better??

    • On another occasion, storm clouds were rolling in, but I decided to take another lap anyway, on a mellow 5.6. Halfway up this five-pitch route, the rain caught me! As you can imagine, I wasn’t too worried. I knew it was coming, and knew the rock was grippy enough that it wasn’t a problem. But then I thought a little more and remembered that my phone was definitely not waterproof. That’s when the panic set in. “This is it, my phone is gonna die”. However, as always, such panic was for naught. Upon reaching my bivi cave, I wiped my phone off and all was fine! The next week I dropped it off of a cell tower at work. The irony was not missed.

  • Aren’t you scared?

    • Only when my phone has a mishap (see above)

  • What are you listening to on those headphones?