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When does a highball turn into a solo?
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By Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Apr 8, 2012
50 feet? 60?

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 8, 2012
El Chorro
At what height would you not want to fall from w/ your only protection being your bros w/ their padz? Is this a serious question? If so, the answer is more like 25.

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By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Apr 8, 2012
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lich...
25 feet seems about right, though a 25 foot fall, or even less is serious and could very easily kill you or seriously mess you up. Anything over 20 feet I consider do not fall territory. Even if you land right and it is well padded, get up and feel all right, people underestimate the pounding your body takes on the joints, internal organs getting shaken and bruised and you brain addled, especially when done repeatedly. It takes a toll. Anybody who thinks 40-50 or 60 feet is highballing is fooling himself.

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By Noah Doherty
From Nashua, NH
Apr 8, 2012
I thought that highballs did categorize as no fall zone boulders. Look at the Buttermilks. Those are more than 25 feet. 50 is tall for a boulder, so I was wondering. Ambrosia is about 60.

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By Shelton Hatfield
From Austin, Texas
Apr 8, 2012
Photo by Damien
pads + spotters = bouldering

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By PosiDave
Apr 8, 2012
-It's a freesolo when you want to impress a girl at the bar.

It-'s a highball when you are talking to your bros and trying to make that 50' 5.5 seem like Grandpa Peabody.


But really any climb that needs 4' foot of pads (for keeping you out of the ER) probably should just count as a solo. 20-25 feet is def on the border of this falling from that height sucks no matter how great the landing.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 8, 2012
El Chorro
Noah Doherty wrote:
I thought that highballs did categorize as no fall zone boulders. Look at the Buttermilks. Those are more than 25 feet. 50 is tall for a boulder, so I was wondering. Ambrosia is about 60.


Well, they do really. But if you wanted to talk about a specific height, you should have started with something a bit more realistic. Ambrosia is about 45 feet tall, and is commonly referred to as 5.14X. If I remember correctly, KJ clearly says that "there is a jug at 25 feet where you can shake out. This is where highball boulder problems usually end."

There are other problems (w/in spitting distance of Ambrosia) that are actually a bit taller. I think many people consider them to be routes (solos) as well, at least for the people who actually top out (Sharma didn't).

In the end, it doesn't matter what you call it. You can fall and die from 20 feet. But I suppose Shelton is correct: If you have spotters and pads then it's bouldering, even if the spotters and pads end up useless because you decided to go for a big line.

Edited to add: If you really want to have a proper discussion about style, then we need to talk about how the climber goes about working the moves. IMHO, if he/she is TRing it first, then it should be considered a head-point, which is a term typically reserved for routes. If he/she is working ground up, then they can call it whatever the fuck they want. I call it pretty fucking cool.

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By BDergay
From Eldorado
Apr 8, 2012
Jayy-Dogg on rappel
Shelton Hatfield wrote:
pads + spotters = bouldering


Yeah... "soloing" means there's nothing between you and the ground should you make a mistake. It's all up to you.

But if you've got a bunch of pads down there, that denotes a certain level of "insurance" which invalidates the concept of being "solo."

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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Apr 8, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!
if my feet are at 20 feet I don't want to fall off

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By crewdoglm
From TAFB CA
Apr 8, 2012
78 degrees north at 40,000 bearing about 220. Five...
When you're being carried out of there - hopefully not in a body bag it won't matter whether you were soloing or just on a highball. If your feet are 10' AGL, you are high enough for a tib/fib fracture or an ankle, foot, or back injury. This happens every day to military jumpers (static) and they are hitting no harder than from a 10' foot drop. I guess I am not sure whether your question goes safety or status symbols. I think the point is to have mature honest motives if you are high enough to get hurt i.e., don't press on and come off the Grandma Peabody telling yourself "I'm not soloing." Just call it soloing if it felt high and we'll drink to that. I am not trying to insult anybody but I doubt whether the guy who said 25 feet has actually decked from that far. If he had I suspect he'd say it doesn't matter what you call it either. Be safe buddy.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 8, 2012
El Chorro
crewdoglm wrote:
I am not trying to insult anybody but I doubt whether the guy who said 25 feet has actually decked from that far. If he had I suspect he'd say it doesn't matter what you call it either. Be safe buddy.


I have actually. I talked about it in the other "what happens when you fall" thread. My feet were exactly 18 feet off the ground, not 25. It sucked. I wasn't soloing OR bouldering.

And yes, in my last post I did say that it doesn't matter what you call it. Not getting hurt when you hit the ground from that high up is unlikely. Somehow I've done it twice w/o even a scratch. Lucky me.

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By PosiDave
Apr 8, 2012
I fell off the literal top of the Sunshine boulder and that is about 20 ft. I landed on 4 hefty pads and it sucked regardless of how you cut it. I didn't break anything but it killed my knees. I have also taken atleast 15-20 ft falls on a BMX bike. 15-20 compared to what alot of Action sports fall nowadays are nothing if you have momentum going into it.

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By Josh.Wood
From New York City
Apr 8, 2012
If you have a stack of crashpads and a few spotters, its a highball. If you're making the landing as safe as possible, then your bouldering. Free soloing is when there is no protection (crashpad included) whatsoever, and you don't do anything to increase the safety other than not falling.

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By crewdoglm
From TAFB CA
Apr 8, 2012
78 degrees north at 40,000 bearing about 220. Five...
Ryan Williams wrote:
I have actually. I talked about it in the other "what happens when you fall" thread. My feet were exactly 18 feet off the ground, not 25. It sucked. I wasn't soloing OR bouldering. And yes, in my last post I did say that it doesn't matter what you call it. Not getting hurt when you hit the ground from that high up is unlikely. Somehow I've done it twice w/o even a scratch. Lucky me.


I stand corrected. Glad you are OK. Try not to do that very often right? Sounds like we're saying the same thing.

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 8, 2012
OTL

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By PosiDave
Apr 9, 2012
Do you guys consider any of these Toproped or gear led turned Boulder problems actual Boulder problems? This is where I find the cutoffs. If you have to obviously rope up because of the problem. Why is this a boulder problem? I have never understood that. That is like Honnold calling everything he solos a boulder problem.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 9, 2012
El Chorro
crewdoglm wrote:
I stand corrected. Glad you are OK. Try not to do that very often right? Sounds like we're saying the same thing.


Ha, yea I try not to. There have obviuosly been a few times where I wasn't trying hard enough. But yea, we agree on all counts - what you call it is the last thing you should be worried about.

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By M Lindfors
From Highlands Ranch
Apr 9, 2012
I would think that it's a solo when you have a foot pop and you soil yourself

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By Chris Sheridan
From Boulder, CO
Apr 9, 2012
Chris setting up the rappel in the Southeast Gully...
Wife: "Honey, I told you I don't like it when you solo the first flatiron."

Husband: "But I wasn't soloing. I left my crashpad at the base. Its just a little bit of a highball."

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