Fringe Elements: Free Soloing With A Net

matt maddaloni fringe

Last week I posted about a new set of videos from National Geographic Adventure called Fringe Elements which exhibit the adventure lifestyle by spotlighting some very cool outdoor activities. The videos covered everything from trail running and snowboarding to mountaineering and paddling, with the early entrants into the series showing tons of promise for what is to come.

One of the videos features rock climber Matt Maddaloni free soloing some rock climbing routes, which can be a challenging and dangerous activity. In fact, the text that accompanies the video asks whether free soloing “epitomizes the climbing spirit” or is instead “the reckless, selfish endeavor of adrenaline junkies?” Climbers who choose to free solo work without ropes, which leaves them little room for error, and when they fall, there is nothing to catch them, sometimes resulting in severe injuries or even death.

Maddaloni came up with a solution for this by building a net that he can set-up beneath him while he climbs. It gives him the freedom of climbing unfettered but the security of having the equivalent of a rope in case he does fall. It seems like a great safety solution, albeit one that won’t work in all situations. Check out the video here to see in action.

You can also read Matt’s thoughts on deep water soloing by clicking here. This is rock climbing that is done over a large, preferably deep, pool of water, which serves as the climbers “net” should they fall. It has become more popular amongst some free solo climbers as well.

So what are your thoughts on the subject? Is free soloing a selfish pursuit or something that should be admired? Personally, I think climbers should be allowed to pursue what ever climbing techniques they like, but to not use safety equipment just seems like you’re asking for trouble.

Kraig Becker

2 thoughts on “Fringe Elements: Free Soloing With A Net”

  1. These are silly questions.

    What do you mean, "I think climbers should be allowed to pursue what ever climbing techniques they like"? Do you have any say in the matter? What context is there for, "… should be allowed…"? Is there going to be a public opinion poll with stylistic regulations imposed based on the opinion of bystanders?

    Climbers are going to do what they think is right. So are you. Hopefully so will all of us.

  2. It was in response to the question posed by National Geographic as to whether or not free soloing is a selfish act or not. Did you not read the post or the one that I linked to in which they asked that very question? No, they didn't take a "public opinion poll" but they were putting the question out there for discussion.

    Thanks for reminding me that I don't have any say in the matter. Much appreciated.

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