According to Fosters, a man fell Thursday, September 13 while free soloing cliffs in Massachusetts with friends. The climber was 10 feet from the top when his hand slipped off the rocks. He flipped in the air as he fell, hitting his head on the rock on the way down, before finally landing on his back at the base of the climb.
He was known as an experienced climber and had climbed these cliffs often in the past. However, he only started free soloing them this summer. Emergency crews came to the rescue and medevaced him to Tufts Hospital where he has recovered.
His injuries include three broken vertebrae, broken bones in his left and right feet, and a head gash that required two staples to close. Apparently nothing vital was injured and he is expected to leave the hospital soon. The doctors are surprised he lived, and his friends report he doesn’t want to climb again.
While many people free solo for the adrenaline rush, I can’t imagine ever doing it personally. The risk just seems too great! While climbers like Alex Honnold are amazing and I have great respect for them, I can’t believe the danger they put themselves in. Many things can go wrong that are out of your control, and eventually everybody makes a mistake.
I recently posted a video of a man free soloing a 400 foot crack with a go pro camera on his head. While the video is amazing, I get nervous just watching him climb. If you do practice free soloing, please be careful!