The man who can’t feel fear

Discussion in 'Sports' started by dealmaker, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. dealmaker


    The man who can’t feel fear
    Thanks to the “Free Solo” documentary that everyone’s talking about, Alex Honnold has become a paramount symbol of fearlessness. He is history’s greatest rock climber in the free solo style, meaning he ascends without a rope or protective equipment of any kind. In this profile, scientists take a close look at Honnold’s brain to determine what occurs in his amygdala, the “fear center” of the brain. If you find yourself experiencing pangs of anxiety in everyday life, this one will amaze you.

    “It’s better over time if you can put yourself in a situation where you experience some fear, but you overcome it, and you do it again and again and again.”
  2. Dizaj


    I have not seen the documentary but I know this that everyone has a fear in life. They may not show it to the world but they are fearful of something in life. However, I will see the documentary and tell you guys about the reviews. Has anyone from this forum seen the documentary?
  3. maxinger


    This man feels fear like all normal human beings.

    But he is able to neutralise fear effectively and hence he is able to climb confidently and safely.
  4. Pekelo


    Yes. Also should watch its sister docu called The Dawn Wall. I think that is more inspirational, because of the "no buddy left behind" aspects of it. Both features Tommy Caldwell who is less likely to die in the next 5 years.

    But anyway, they examined Honnold's brain and yes, he didn't have the correct response to fear as most of us has.

    He also trusted his girlfriend belaying him and she promptly dropped his ass to the ground injuring his back. Well, that is for another day.
    dealmaker likes this.
  5. Pekelo


    So you didn't see the docu and his MRI scan....Well, let me help you:

    "An initial anatomical scan of Honnold’s brain appears on MRI technician James Purl’s computer. “Can you go down to his amygdala? We have to know,” says Joseph. Medical literature includes cases of people with rare congenital conditions, such as Urbach-Wiethe disease, which damage and degrade the amygdala. While these people generally don’t experience fear, they also tend to show other bizarre symptoms, such as a total lack of concern for personal space. "

    "Yet in the fMRI images of the two men’s responses to the high-arousal photographs, with brain activity indicated in electric purple, the control subject’s amygdala might as well be a neon sign. Honnold’s is gray. He shows zero activation."
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
  6. Sprout


    Excellent article. I especially enjoyed the parts that described reconsolidation of memory and how the process of journaling can change the nature of a memory.
  7. sle


    Arguably the greatest, that is. People have soloed harder routes and there were several climbers who done similar things, sans the publicity aspect. For example, Dave Mcleod free soloed a 5.14b, Darwin Dixit, which is way harder than Honnolds Yosemite exploits) in Spain a few years ago. Hansjorg Auer did Fish Eye in Dolomites which I though was harder (despite a marginally lower grade) and scarier (dolemite is not granite) after a single pass over a route.

    This said, Honnolds Freerider solo an incredible feat of mind - I have done the route (with a rope, of course, and many pitches took me multiple tries) and there are several sections were I was very scared. Even thinking of going through these sections unroped makes my palms sweat.

    There is plenty of other climbing porn out there, I thought Dawn Wall was on par with other "how I wanted to do this thing and eventually did it" climbing flicks, but not that special. FWIW, I don't think Honnold will die in the next 5 years, but then again I thought that about Ueli Steck too :(

    That is actually a very common thing. Climber dude meets a cute chick, takes her to the gym or outside (depending on how adventurous she is), gives her a grigri and voila, next thing you know he's broken an ankle.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
    dealmaker likes this.
  8. What's the training like to climb these mountains, I could imagine you have to be in better shape than most proffesional athletes. For someone who is in the office for 12 hours a day, how do you keep your body in that kind of condition?
  9. Pekelo


    It is a different kind of strength and muscle. If you watch American Ninja Warrior, that kind of training they use. Honnold has a hanging wall in his van, what is a finger muscle strength exercise device. He is hanging by his fingers from it. I would say they go for stamina instead of pure strength. Traditionally muscular guys never did well on ANW.

    The ways how free soloers can die several times are out of their control. Like a bee attack or a sudden muscle cramp, those things you just can't foresee...
  10. sle


    For finger training, I have a hangboard at home and a hang-free finger thingie in my office (grippul - it's a small edge plus a weight attached to it). Then I go to the climbing gym couple times a week plus I work with a climbing coach once a week. So while it's not as easy as it used to be (I am getting older, mid-40s is far past athletic prime), I am still cranking fairly hard.

    The hard part is keeping weight under control, in fact I got to lose 15 pounds for the season. As @Pekelo rightfully said, it's a different kind of shape :)
    #10     Apr 11, 2019