013 – 5.12a Onsight and Free Solo “Tangerine,” Little River Canyon

Onsight Free-Solo 5.12, does it get any more rowdy than that? This is the story of the single most intense experience of my entire life

I don’t like lowball solos, where the crux is straight off the deck, at least not when searching for a “personal best” performance. If a route is V4 off the ground with a 5.10 finish, that’s 12a on a rope, but without one… That’s a 5.10 solo with a V4 approach hike. Or maybe a V4 with a highball V0 X-rated finish. It feels like cheesing out, lying about your accomplishment, an affair born of vanity rather than some higher philosophy which deepens one’s understanding of the universe. Those hypothetical 5.12 moves would be nothing more advanced in style than an ordinary and everyday boulder problem. Bouldering is respectable, mind you, it’s just not a solo. When searching for a personal best, I avoid that grey area between the two. I want the difficulties to be high enough that there is no question. The difficulties of “Tangerine’s” ninety feet begin about halfway up, at the fifty-foot mark. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to swan-dive into the boulders from that height. You’re not limpin’ away from this one.

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