#10. Charles Albert Sends Monkey Wedding (V15) Barefoot
Watch French climber Charles Albert climb Monkey Wedding (V15) in Rocklands, South Africa without the aid of climbing shoes. This is just one of Albert's many hard barefoot sends. In fall of last year he not only climbed Fontainbleau's Gecko Assis (V14) barefoot, but he also downclimbed it.
#9. Of Choss and Lions: Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright in Kenya
Watch as Alex Honnold, Cedar Wright, and Maury Birdwell travel to Kenya’s Mt. Poi, dodging choss, wild animals, and general debauchery to claim ascents of Africa’s biggest big wall. It’s, uh, character building.
#8. Pamela Shanti Pack Climbs Scary Moab Offwidth: The Kill Artist
For five years, Pamela Shanti Pack has worked to establish Kill Artist, a five-pitch offwidth in Moab's Longs Canyon. In this video, she faces off against the Mental Block, the second pitch, named for its enormous detached blocks. The crux involves a "foot-over-the-head offwidth invert to layback off a knee-lock" 200 feet off the deck. “It’s worth it for that one move," she says. Shanti Pack completed the first ascent of the full 5.13+ line on April 26, 2017.
#7. Arete Cuts Rope Resulting in Groundfall for Michele Caminati
On March 27, Italian climber Michele Caminati sent Elder Statesman (HXS 7a, roughly 5.14 R) at Curbar Edge in England's Peak District. The next day he returned for a photoshoot. During the session, he fell above his protection with the rope running over the route's sharp arete. As you can see in the video, the arete cut his rope, resulting in a groundfall. He walked away with a broken heel and wrist, while his belayer suffered a concussion. Caminati shared the above footage to make other climbers aware of the dangers of rope shearing. He speculates that half ropes could have helped, but still may not have made a difference. The real lesson here is that, when you're in a no-fall zone, don't fall.
#6. Margo Hayes Sends La Rambla (5.15a)
At 19 years old, Margo Hayes made history when she became the first woman to climb a confirmed 9a+/5.15a with her ascent of La Rambla in Siurana, Spain. Watch excerpts from her historic ascent in this short video. The full film is currently showing in this year's Reel Rock film tour.
#5. Innovative Backpack of the Year: HonnSolo 11 Freesolo Airbag Pack
For April Fools, Black Diamond announced the world's first free solo protection system: the HonnSolo 11 Freesolo Airbag Pack. Deploying like an avalanche airbag, the bag inflates a pad with the push of a button. Just fall off your groundbreaking free solo, deploy the pack, and you're cleared for landing. We don't know why Honnold didn't use this on Freerider.
#4. Boulderer Falls, Pulls 300-Pound Block Off With Him
On July 29, 2017, Brian Koralewski was finishing his bouldering session on an established V6 arete in Little Rock Canyon, Utah. “I stood on my pads and tick-marked the holds where I was going to grab and top out,” Koralewski wrote on his blog. “Even though I was touching and marking the very chunk that would soon land on me, there was no indication that it was loose.”
As he pulled the final moves, that massive chunk of the boulder broke off. Koralewski landed on his padwith the 300-pound stone hitting his leg. He estimates that from 10-feet up, it would have landed with ~3,300 lbs. of force. He suffered a broken fibula, partial tendon tear, and required stitches. Despite the injury, he was able to walk out on his own (covering a 1/4 mile over 25 minutes) and drive himself to the hospital. Visit Koralewski's blog for his full account of the accident.
#3. Ice Climber Collapses Dagger
Watch as Swiss mountain guide Marcel Schenk collapses an entire ice dagger with the swing of his tool. Luckily, he had just moved off a mixed portion of the climb, and had rock protection to catch his fall.
#2. The First Video of Alex Honnold's Freerider Free Solo
On June 3, Alex Honnold made climbing history when he free soloed Freerider (VI, 5.12d, 3,300') on El Capitan, completing the first ever free solo of a full El Capitan route. In this teaser, filmed by Jimmy Chin for a National Geographic documentary, Honnold works his way up the route's 26th pitch. Dubbed the Enduro Corner, it goes free at 5.12b/c and is considered one of the routes cruxes. We can't wait to see the full film.
#1. Insane Bollywood Ice Climbing Scene
Note: The good stuff starts 53 seconds in.
Of course this was the most-viewed climbing video of the year. Look out Vertical Limit, Cliffhanger, and Mission Impossible 2, there's a new contender for craziest climbing scene in cinema. The clip above is from Shivaay, a 2016 Bollywood film. As far as we can tell from the Wikipedia description, it's about an Indian mountain guide (Shivaay) who gets caught up trying to stop a child trafficking ring in Budapest. He must backflip off mountains to do this. We'd tell Shivaay that his harness is backwards, but he seems like he's got everything under control.