Sunday, January 15, 2012

Alex Honnold, Too Big to Flail

"I was shaking a bit up there. It's f***ing scary!" said Alex Honnold after completing his hard new line on the Luminance Block. This line takes on the sheer face right of The Golden Rule and involves some thin v9 face climbing at about 20 feet up, followed by the most airy hard moves at the Buttermilks to gain the top of the boulder--which, in this case, was about 50 feet above one of the biggest stacks of crashpads ever compiled. Friends and acquaintances alike lent pads to or hiked pads up for Alex to fill a dangerous pit between boulders at the base of this spectacular glassy wall.

Alex warming up with a spin on the lower section

As you can see, the line is truly monumental! It is fairly low angle, an off-vertical wall, and has some of the sweetest rock in the area, water-and wind-polished with glassy crimps and some delicate, balancy climbing. With the moves up high being complex and feet-intensive, this is likely the most serious proposition in the Buttermilks. It was clear that this was a major challenge even for Alex and he was super-psyched with the ascent that was made possible by the use of 34 pads! Good luck on the second!

Alex going for the send

Alex Honnold high and focused during the ascent of Too Big to Flail

It must be noted that Alex did work this line on a top-rope before going for the solo. After Alex completed this line, which he named Too Big to Flail, in a reference to the "too big to fail" banking fiasco of a few years back, he went on to add (in similar style) an easier climb just to the left, effectively a direct into the top of The Golden Rule:

 Above: Alex "straightening the rule" with Josh Lowell from the Reel Rock Film tour capturing the action.

The guys from The Reel Rock Film Tour, Josh and Pete were both there filming this for a major segment on Alex for their next show. They said they'd have a short clip to post up. See 3rd comment below.


James said...

I thought he called it rise against.

Anonymous said...

34 crash pads stacked up would put me at the top of my project

Luke said...

Video looks to be on the Reel Rock Facebook page:

Wills Young said...

Also of note is that a line here was first top-roped by visiting Brit George Ulllrich during a trip in July! He had hoped to get back to solo the line but his car broke down on Buttermilk Road. See George's blog about this astonishing trip, during which he also established "Call It What You Want" which is the upper part of what is now Ambrosia, climbed from off a ladder--it was too hot to work the thin crimpy start to the line at that time of year!

You'll have to scroll right to the end to see the bit about this new face climb, but here's the link:

FISH Products said...

Hey Wills!
Did you take that photo of Too Big To Flail? I want to give credit on the thread below.

C'mon over and spray.
Side note: That thing looks knee knocking fantastic!

Wills Young said...

Yo Russ!
Thanks for the plug. Yeah, these are all my photos in this post.

I haven't seen the supertopo. Maybe I'll pass up the oportunity to spray, but I will definitely head over to your own Fish Products site soon! I love that I can choose either to buy you a beer or to save Tibet, and that I have those options before me on the same page.

I'll probably just get you a beer.

Take care man, and give me a shout when you're up this way.

Anonymous said...

Alex is just mental :)

Anonymous said...

Mr Young have you got a twitter page?

benjaminleaton said...

Great post. Fun stuff. We decided it was so good that we posted a link to it on The Chalk Pot’s Google+ and Facebook pages.

Check it out here:
The Chalk Pot Google+ Page:
The Chalk Pot Facebook Page:

Wills Young said...

To Phil B: I don't have a twitter page, no. Sorry. Thanks for your comments!

Dustin said...

Best "blog" post I've seen in a while... great work!