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Top 10 Videos of 2019

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 2020! (And we threw in a handful of honorable mentions at the bottom ;) ---there was just too much good content in 2019.)

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10. Speak To Me Softly

Experience fear and emotion alongside climber Jenny Abegg as she ascends Moonlight Buttress while fighting the self-criticism and doubt from that little voice we all have in the back of our heads.


9. Adam Ondra Does Ballet: The Secret Essence of Success

Ondra broadens his repertoire of skills in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics ?


8. 72-Year-Old Guy Free Soloing a Chimney

Alex Honnold’s grandfather perhaps???  Maybe even better than the video of the 99-year-old grandmother climbing in the gym that we posted last week!


7. Steve McClure Making First Ascent of GreatNess Wall (E10 7a)

British strongman Steve McClure has made the first ascent of a longstanding open project in Nesscliffe, Shropshire, England, dubbing it the GreatNess Wall and giving it a grade of E10 7a (something in the realm of 5.14c very R).

The 18-meter route largely follows pockets in the first half on slightly easier climbing than what’s to come. After reaching a large horizontal with a pre-placed thread-through about 12 meters up, the climbing gets very serious: the next six meters extremely marginal protection, and consist of unrelenting, desperate face climbing, replete with slopey edges and technical footwork.

Just recently, British climber James McHaffie, who was also gunning for the first ascent, took a near-disastrous fall from this upper section.

McClure talked with the folks over at UKClimbing about the climb, and expressed the tricky caculus that goes into deciding to go for the redpoint of a dangerous climb like GreatNess Wall:

‘The headpointing game is a tricky one. It’s a balance between the danger element and how close you are to your limit. On a sport redpoint, you’ll try when there is only a 10% chance because a fall is no problem. If it’s a death fall headpoint, personally, I’ll be looking at a much higher per cent chance of success (like 100!). When it’s not fully dangerous it becomes blurred. How much margin of error is acceptable – what are the chances of hurting yourself? How much will you hurt yourself? You juggle with the balance, trying to make it fit with drive and desire. I’d taken the fall from pretty high, came away with a sore back and a bruised palm, but it was nothing compared to a lob from the final move. But Caff had survived it fine, surely I would too. I’d not dropped the last move once on top rope, but then I’d probably only done it 5 times – was that enough?”

When he was actually runout on the top third of the climb during his redpoint burn, McClure suddenly felt everything just a bit more intensely. He wrote on Instagram the day after his send, “On lead it was all just a little harder and that final stretch was horrifyingly close. Just about recovered today and got my heart back in the right place after it ended up in my mouth.”

Greatness or Madness? Decide for yourself.


6. Alex Honnold Breaks Down Iconic Rock Climbing Scenes

Alex Honnold breaks down rock climbing clips from both real life and film, including Mission Impossible, Point Break, Star Trek V, Failure to Launch, Dark Knight Rises, Vertical Limit and Cliffhanger.

We also kinda wish he had taken a look at this beaut. Oh, and this one. 


5. The Guy Who NOBODY Expected To Free Climb The Nose

On November 11, 2019, Belgian climber Sébastien Berthe became only the seventh person to free climb the Nose (VI 5.14a), the world’s most famous route, on El Capitan, Yosemite. He also became the first person ever to free climb the route ground up.


4. Dani Arnold Free Solos Cima Grande and Sets New Speed Record

In September 2019, Dani Arnold set a new record time at the Cima Grande. He climbed the 550-meter north face over the Comici-Dimai route in 46 minutes 30 seconds. The 35 years old now holds the speed record on four of Europe’s six major north faces.

Arnold climbed the Comici-Dimai route three times with friends and carefully prepared himself before tackling it for his speed record—writing history again.


3. Alex Honnold Freeing The “Galapagos” Pitch (5.13b) On El Nino (Raw Footage!)

Great raw footage from Justin Lawrence (@steeppathproductions) of Alex Honnold freeing the 5.13b “Galapagos” pitch during his and Brad Gobright’s second-free ascent of the Pineapple Express variation to El Niño (VI 5.13c) , El Capitan, June 10, 2019.

Honnold gets the beta a bit wrong 20 feet run out, finds a no-hands knee bar, and plays leapfrog twice with the photographer—and still sends! See here for more background ?


2. Emily Harrington’s El Cap Rescue

Harrington and Alex Honnold, her partner for her attempt to climb Golden Gate in a day, were simul-climbing the beginning pitches of the route on Sunday when Harrington slipped.

Honnold told Outside Online that Harrington was 150 above him when she took the fall.  “I was sitting on the ground tying my shoes, getting ready to start simul-climbing,” Honnold told author Grayson Schaffer. “Tons of slack just pools on the ground, which is consistent with huge falls.” Honnold continued, “The rope is falling at the same speed as the climber. It’s just physics.”

Harrington lost consciousness and was extremely banged up with what Honnold, as well as Jon Glassberg—who was on the wall filming the attempt—were concerned could be life-threatening injuries.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Va-wPpJrW/

Adrian Ballinger, Harrington’s boyfriend, was at the two-thirds of the way up the route waiting for her to support her to the top, rappelled down to help Honnold and Glassberg, as they all waited for Yosemite Search and Rescue to arrive.

Grayson Schaffer summed up the extent of Harrington’s injuries as follows: “At the hospital, her injuries proved to be gruesome but largely superficial. Most shockingly, Harrington had somehow managed to get her neck caught in the rope during the fall and was left with a long bruise that made it look like she’d been strangled. Ultimately she was able to walk out of the hospital a day later.”

Harrington is a highly accomplished El Capitan climber. In 2015, she freed Golden Gate in a six-day push.


1. Replica Border Wall Climbed In Under 18 Seconds

The story about the border-wall climbing competition that Rock and Ice broke a week ago went viral. It was picked up by national and international media outlets alike.  And now, day 1 of the comp is in the books.

Hey Trump, give us climbers a real challenge, eh?

(And here are a couples bonus videos: one of the wall being free soloed and a great segment from “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”)


Also Watch

Top 10 Videos of 2018

Top 10 Weekend Whippers of 2018


Honorable Mentions

Our Road To The Nose: Two Ladies Learning Big Walls

Watch these two climbers tackle the most famous climb in the world!


Lynn Hill on Midnight Lightning (V8), Camp 4, Yosemite

Lynn Hill climbs Midnight Lightning (V8) in Camp 4, Yosemite in May 1998 for its first female ascent.


Alex Honnold Answers Rock Climbing Questions From Twitter

Alex Honnold uses the power of Twitter to answer common questions about climbing.

Just a few of the questions Honnold answers:

What’s Alex’s favorite type of climbing hold?

Do all rock climbers live in vans?

Once you get to the top, how do you get back down?

And our personal favorite: What happens if you sneeze on the wall? ?


Mama Bear and Cub Sending in Texas

Despite the fact that this video is from 2014, we’d actually never seen it—and it’s amaaazing.

Stephanie Latimer, who took this video, wrote on YouTube, “Endangered Mexican Black Bears (momma and cub) climb Santa Elena Canyon wall, March 21, 2014. I spotted them while I was kayaking and want to share with you my nature loving, rock climbing, suspenseful satisfaction.”


Lynn Hill And Beth Bennett On The First All-Female Ascent Of The Naked Edge, 1981

“First Ascent” is an awesome short film following Hill and Bennett as they climb the classic route in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado.

Director Bob Carmichael explains the structure of the film as follows: “It is not in chronological sequence but the idea was to create tension in the short film so we altered the pitches for those familiar with the Naked Edge. These two women became the first all women team to climb The Naked Edge.”


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