Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

Dean Potter Free Solos Separate Reality and A Dog’s Roof

A Dangerous Trance: Potter free solos Separate Reality and A Dog’s Roof without a hitch on a soloing binge.

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and unwrap savings this holiday season.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

Now 30% Off.
$4.99/month $3.49/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 153 (September 2006).

During the first week of June, Dean Potter free soloed A Dog’s Roof (5.12b), Yosemite, which he characterized as “perhaps the most difficult solo in the Valley to date. I [also] soloed Separate Reality (5.11d) five times as well, in a long trance.”

Separate Reality is a 20-foot fist- to finger-sized roof crack situated high above the Cookie Cliff. Wolfgang Gullich made the first known solo
of the intimidating route (a fall from the lip, the route’s crux, would mean a 500-foot plummet into the manzanita) in 1986. Heinz Zak, who photographed a shirtless Gullich hanging over the void, immortalized the solo with photos that appeared in most climbing magazines at the time. In no small part due to the power of these images, Separate Reality became a litmus test for bold solos. Almost 20 years later, Zak returned to make what is thought to be the second solo ascent, in June last year.

Potter running one of his five cordless laps on Yosemite’s Separate Reality (5.11d). Photo: Dean Fidelman.

“It’s been in my mind forever,” Potter said. “There is no solo more classic or special. The first time I did it I was quite nervous but the jams were locker and my sequence was super locked in. It felt so good I started to do it over and over again, to savor it as a breakthrough.”

On June 4, Potter upped the ante by soloing A Dog’s Roof (5.12b), a 40-degree-overhanging off-fingers crack near the west end of the Wawona tunnel.

“That was a way different experience,” Potter said. “The last time I went up to it, I couldn’t lead it. The climbing is on rattley jams that could just
slip out. The crux is right at the top [of the 40-foot wall]. But I meditated hard at the base and on the solo I felt like I could break my fingers
[because] I was jamming so hard. I actually had to ease off a little.”

When asked what else he has planned for this spring season, Potter said, “I’m on a free solo mission.”


 

More Articles on Dean Potter 

Dean Potter Killed in Wingsuit Accident in Yosemite

Dean Potter: Life at the Edge of Realization

Dean Potter On Laws, Modern America and Soloing Delicate Arch

Dean Potter: When Dogs Fly

Dean Potter Sets New Half Dome FKT

Dean Potter Moon Walks

Niall Grimes: Stalking the Raven, or Rather Dean Potter