UKC Articles - Hazel Findlay and Alex Honnold in South Africa
Being a lover of 'king lines' like the Salathe Headwall, or the Cobra Crack, Alex wasn't impressed by the wandery, circuitous nature of the climbing, nor was he impressed by the apparent mandatory use of double ropes.
I liked it; the rock is amazing, so solid, with ergonomic holds, weird gear placements, and a real adventurous feel. Blouberg also feels remote; it really is in the middle of nowhere, and I don't envy the climber who arrives without local knowledge.
Since we were making a film, camera gear, food, water and tents were helicoptered up the mountain for us, which obviously has it's pros and cons: The route wanders so much and is so hard to read that it has never been climbed without the first ascentionist Snort present to show the way.Eureka Wall w/ Hazel and Alex
But it is an amazing route that just about works and in full mist and freezing conditions it felt like a full adventure. The history of the wall includes a battle between old and new-school ethics that mostly comes down to the question: The harder free routes have a spattering of bolts, and my feeling is that this approach works.
With care the local climbers can retain the adventure of the wall with a few bolts in the places where the gear runs out and with this ethic, Blouberg has room for some harder lines. The last two weeks of our trip were based here and we had a great time.
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We started off at Table Mountain, which overlooks the city and is a right tourist trap. A cable car goes to the top, which is perfect for the lazier climber, and once you drop over the edge, the faint hum of tourists chattering above is the only distraction. All the rock we climbed in South Africa barring Alex's time in Namibia was some form of sandstone — mostly a type of quartzite and although it often looks like it might be chossy from the ground, when you get up to it you realise that it's about as far from chossy as you could ever get and makes for really good climbing.
Table Mountain was no exception and we started our first day in high spirits by warming up on the Jeopardy Wall, which has most of the harder routes.
I jumped on Double Jeopardy, our very own Dave Birkett's route and unfortunately I was perhaps a little too psyched resulting in my first proper finger injury. I packed it in for the day but the route was too good to say no and I went back the next day to do it. It's given 8a and is pretty safe, so does that mean E8?
Not sure, but either way it has some of the best climbing I've done on a trad line and eats up gear for the most part. He also came back for more the next day and we polished off our filming and climbing on the mighty TM.
It's not the most aesthetically pleasing place to climb but has some fun routes. It didn't turn out to be that casual when I redpointed an 8a bouldery affair and Alex completed a horizontal roof crack called Green Peace, which had only been done previously with the use of a glued on pebble. Big Walling at Yellowwood Amphitheatre We rounded the trip off with a visit to Yellowwood Amphitheatre, which probably turned out to be my favourite place.
This is a m wall an hour outside Cape Town lucky bastards and has amazing clean crimpy yellow rock. It's historically a traditional wall and there has been a lot of controversy regarding the addition of the line we did New Born.
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It's a tricky situation, but having done the route and had an amazing time, Alex and I were both of the opinion that Yellowwood could have some of the world's best hard multipitch routes with the addition of some bolts. Of course it's up to the local climbers to decide what to do with the wall, but as it stands not many new routes can go up without a few bolts.
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In some places the rock is gently overhanging with 60 metres between natural features that will take gear, but certainly enough features for free climbing. He has broken a number of speed records, most notably the only known solo climb of the Yosemite Triple crown, an 18 hour 50 minute link up of Mt. Watching her get towed away by the local French scrappy was a sad day indeed.
We rounded the trip off with a visit to Yellowwood Amphitheatre, which probably turned out to be my favourite place. The only place I've been with comparable rock is Mt Arapiles and the Grampians in Australia — but they don't have m big walls!
The only thing to be put off by is asiandating scammer crime over there, which is pretty bad, but if you're careful it's mostly avoidable. This video shows that this is obviously not the case.
Honnold was born in Sacramento, California and started climbing indoors when he was 11 years old. I did everything I could to stay in the crack and not knowing how to jam, that included lay backing, slapping, flailing and the old 'elevator door' technique whereby you furiously gaston each side of the crack with each hand.
He also came back for more the next day and we polished off our filming and climbing on the mighty TM. You can clearly tell that he is relaxed because hazel findlay and alex honnold dating is really no narrative to the video and it's not trying to sell anything.
It shows him being a personable funny character that he is.
A Google Earth Adventure". Just saw this for the first time.