Imagine finding yourself hanging from a sheer rock wall so high above the ground that people below look like little more than a speck. And, oh yeah, the only things holding you in place on that mountainside are your own hands and feet. No gear, no ropes, just you and the rock. There isn't a more dangerous form of climbing than free soloing.
Free soloing is a contest between the climber, the elements and the climber's own fear. A misstep or a moment of panic can end it all -- and frequently does. In 1981, legendary free-soloer John Bachar issued a challenge from Yosemite. He would pay $10,000 to anyone who could do what he did for a day. No one took him up on the contest. In 2009, Bachar would die during a fall in Mammoth Lakes. He was 52 [source: Thomas].
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