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Top 10 Videos of 2018

The top 10 most popular videos (not counting Weekend Whippers!) of the year on Rock and Ice's website. Looking forward to more breathtakingly beautiful, mind-blowingly impressive, and gut-bustingly hilarious videos in 2019! (And we threw in a handful of honorable mentions at the bottom ;) ---there was just so much good content in 2018.)

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10. Catherine Destivelle Free Soloing Devils Tower

In this uber-classic footage from 1992, Catherine Destivelle, one of the greatest alpinists of her generation, solos the classic El Matador (5.10d) on Devils Tower.

She begins by rope soloing and plugging cams, but then later unties and free solos the rest of the way.

9. Without a Partner – Pete Whittaker Rope Solos El Capitan in Under 24 Hours [Full Film]

In November 2016, Pete Whittaker became the first person to solo—all free —El Capitan in under 24 hours, finishing in 20 hours and 6 minutes. Rope solo free climbing is a discipline that few people know about and even fewer people do. In this film, we hear from Whittaker, his long time climbing partner Tom Randall and big-wall, solo climbing expert Andy Kirkpatrick as they take us through the paces of what it really means to make a rope-solo, free ascent of El Cap.

“The Problem is if Pete pulled it off, nobody would even get it, nobody would understand how hard it was … and to do it in a day, is totally insane.”

—Andy Kirkpatrick

“The ascent made by Pete on Freerider to me is hopefully the dawn of a new style of big-wall solo climbing; big-wall solo climbing on El Capitan for many years was just aid climbing. Now Pete has proven that it’s possible to do that free climbing, but relatively fast.”

—Tom Randall 

8. El Capitan Kirk

You thought Free Solo was good? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

7. Two Nineteen Forty Four – Complete Time-Lapse Of Gobright And Reynolds’ Speed Record On The Nose

Tristan Greszko documented the entirety of Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds’ speed record on the Nose from the floor of Yosemite Valley. He managed to create a five-minute-time-lapse of the climb, which helps to put their achievement in perspective.

Greszko writes on Vimeo, “On a cold, misty morning in late October 2017, after 11 previous attempts, Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds broke the standing speed record on the Nose (formerly held by Alex Honnold and Hans Florine) with an unbelievable new time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 44 seconds. Watching this as it happened was one of the more incredible spectacles I’ve ever witnessed; an amazing display of superhuman mastery unlike anything I’ve seen before…”

6. Slaydies

Slaydies (noun, plural): fierce ladies who slay on the rock. Ex: Margo Hayes, Paige Classen and Emily Harrington.

Margo Hayes, Paige Claassen and Emily Harrington take a trip to Spain, to explore the abundant sport climbing and deep water soloing that Mallorca offers. Each woman is a “slady” (i.e., lady who slays) in her own right; each has contributed to the progression of the sport, while continuing to support her fellow slaydies.

5. Silence: Adam Ondra and the World’s First 5.15d

What does it take to climb the world’s first 9c (5.15d)? Find out in Silence, a 17-minute film by Bernardo Giménez.

It shows what preceded the afternoon of September 3, 2017 when Adam Ondra made a little piece of climbing history by climbing his hardest project ever in the spectacular Hanshelleren Cave in Norway. Ondra gave the route, later named Silence, the unprecedented grade of 9c, making it the hardest route in the world.

4. Adam Ondra Flashing Midnight Lightning

Ondra strikes again on the list. And this is the second year in a row that a video of Midnight Lightning has made the Top Ten! Last year a retro video of Lynn Hill flashing the problem came in at number eight.

Ondra onsighting the most classic boulder problem of all time is pretty fantastic! This was the first episode from a series of short videos from November 2018 when Adam Ondra and his team traveled to several popular climbing areas in the U.S. and Chile.

3. Metolius TCU vs. One Ton Boulder

This wasn’t a new video, but when we shared it again it went viral all over again! Pretty cool visual representation of just how strong some or the gear we rely on really is.

From the description on Youtube: “Found an old TCU in the mountains and decided to take it for a test. The first image shows the cam after the loadtest. The axel is clearly bent from the forces of the outer cams, making it impossible to release the lobes. Still quite amazing how an old and rusty 8 kN cam can take so much weight. When I found it the lobes had grown/rusted togheter and had to be beaten apart.”

2. Free Solo (Official Trailer)

Yea, we admit, we’re just about “Free Solo”-ed out, too, but we still remember how mind-blown and excited we were when we first saw the trailer at the end of the summer.

As we wrote then, “This. Looks. Amazing. The trailer for the highly anticipated film about Alex Honnold’s earth-shattering free solo of El Cap.”

1. Trailer For Gripped (Greatest Climbing Movie Ever Made?)

This is going to be one for the ages.

The trailer for the forthcoming feature film Gripped is destined to become a climbing classic in the same vein as the opening scene of Vertical Limit and last year’s eminently ridiculous Bollywood ice climbing video showing a dude jumping off a mountain like a badass.

Gripped sees a neophyte climber named Rose team up with the wise veteran Bret. Sparks fly, they get started for their big alpine climb at the crack of noon and things are just swell… until Bret takes a whipper that leaves him unable to lead the rest of the route (though in perfectly fine following shape, evidently).

[Want more from Gripped? Check Out VIDEO: New Clip And Behind-The-Scenes Footage from Gripped]

He tell’s Rose that their fate is in her hands. “The only way down is up,” he says—dun dun dunnn!

Despite her meager gym climbing experience, Rose forges upward, clipping bolts that have suddenly materialized on the route, exhibiting flawless jamming technique and powering through a nasty spill that leaves her with a nice bloody forehead.

We couldn’t be more psyched for this flick. Even without having seen it yet, we’d say if there were climbing Oscars, Gripped should win every last one.

Also Watch

Top Ten Videos of 2017

Top Ten Weekend Whippers of 2018

Honorable Mentions

Stas Beskin Climbs Ridiculously Thin and Scary Ice Pillars in Quebec

Last week, the ice climber Stas Beskin made stomach-turning ascents of a series of three pencil-thin pillars in Cap-à-l’Aigle, Quebec. Using what he describes to Rock and Ice as a “new technique” that will “redefine hard ice climbing” and allow “one to climb stuff that was considered suicidal before,” he soloed each of the delicate pillars one after the other. (Beskin has not elaborated on this new technique yet, but promised he will reveal more information soon.)

Beskin had all but resigned himself to hanging up ice his tools for the season, when a friend sent him a picture of the sea-cliff pillars. “I told my buddy, ‘We have to change the plans and go check these things,’” Beskin says. “These things looked insane!”

Beskin on one of the ice pillars he soloed last week in in Cap-à-l’Aigle, Québec. Photo: Véronique Parke Bedard.

While the pillars looked insane, the truly insane thing is to think that someone would willingly climb them. Protection on such features is impossible, and the margin for error is all but nonexistent. Yet they are precisely the kind of features that Beskin pines for all year long: “I’ve been hunting this kind of stuff the whole winter. Went to Alberta and other places. It’s very unique, very rare, to find things like this.”

Beskin knew the pillars had been top-roped very recently, so was optimistic that they’d still be in climbable conditions when he got there. But climbable conditions in Beskin’s view would likely be the opposite for most any other climber. The pillars are located right on the ocean and receive all-day sun. “When the tide is high,” Beskin says, “they are literally coming straight out of the water.” When he arrived he inspected the first formation as best he could: “I tapped on it—I felt it of course shaking, but you know….”

Even with his new tehnique, Beskin admits that the climbing was uniquely scary. He explains, “The climbs were very, very thin at the base. Even with my technique I could feel them shaking.” But once he was a few meters up each one, he began to feel more and more solid.

The video above is of the third pillar of the day. The first one was the highest.

The Dawn Wall (Full And Final Trailer)

In January 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb the Dawn Wall, a  seemingly impossible 3,000-foot rock face in Yosemite National Park,  California. The pair lived on the sheer vertical cliff for weeks, igniting a  frenzy of global media attention.

But for Caldwell, the Dawn Wall was  much more than just a climb. It was the culmination of a lifetime defined by overcoming obstacles. At the age of 22, the climbing prodigy was taken hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan. Shortly after, he lost his index finger in an accident, but resolved to come back stronger. When his marriage fell apart, he escaped the pain by fixating on the extraordinary goal of free climbing the Dawn Wall. Blurring the line between dedication and obsession, Caldwell and his partner Jorgeson spent six years meticulously plotting and practicing their route. On the final attempt, with the world watching, Caldwell was faced with a moment of truth. Should he abandon his partner to fulfill his ultimate dream, or risk his own success for the sake of their friendship?

Footage of Drone Rescue on Broad Peak, Pakistan

After top U.K. climber Rick Allen—known for a harrowing traverse of Nanga Parbat’s Mazeno Ridge in 2012—went missing around 26,000 feet on Pakistan’s Broad Peak earlier this month, his teammates assumed the worst and reported him dead.

Miraculously, he was discovered alive the next day by a drone piloted by Bartek Bargiel at K2 Base Camp,who was preparing to film his brother’s ski descent of K2. Allen was found around 7,000 meters (22,965 ft), but the Mavic Pro drone reportedly flew at an altitude up to 8,400 meters (27,559 ft) during the search. Allen has since made it back to Base Camp, suffering only minor injuries.

Hazel Findlay FA of Trad Testpiece Tainted Love (5.13d), Squamish

Hazel Findlay said she had no plans to make any hard, trad first ascents when she rolled into Squamish, but “following her nose” and fellow Brit Neil Dyer brought her to Tainted Love.

The exposed and desperately thin corner, protected primarily by micro wires, sits right at the top of the Chief in Squamish, British Columbia.

“When it came to the send day I gave myself 30% chance of success,” wrote Findlay on the Black Diamond website. “It was crazy hot out and due to the forest fires, there was no breeze for relief. Despite the terrible conditions I reminded myself that ‘sending’ is mostly mental with the real variables and limitations existing between your ears.”

“I didn’t climb it ‘well’,” she continued, “typically I messed up all my beta, forgot everything I was supposed to remember but still, I managed to pull some magic tricks out the bag and moment by moment shook my way to the top.”

Free Solo Parody Trailer: Expensive Membership

When you start pushing the edge, the question becomes, “At what cost?”

And Click here to see the hundreds of other videos we shared this year that!