NFR The Greatest Athletic Achievement of All Time

Gyrfalcon2020

Honoring Vets
Well..........Nik Wallenda scores pretty high in my book of greatest athletic achievements...over the Grand Canyon. 14oo foot walk over 1500' high. And, only with his feet! No hands!

Saw the Wallenda family perform at the Puyallup Fair in the 70's..including the old man before he fell... not long after. Great stuff.
 

Thomas Mitchell

corvus ossifragus
WFF Supporter
Agreed. This is nuts. In younger days I climbed and trained hard to climb for a long time and never got close to leading 5.13, especially outside the gym.

I was in living Japan in the mid-90's and ran into Lynn Hill at a local climbing competition. We asked her to come climb with us at a local crag and she said she couldn't as she needed to get back to the Valley for a "project". Next thing we hear, she freed the Nose which we thought was nuts. Then there was Hans Florine and the simulclimbing stuff which was nuttier.

Alex blows them all away, an elite athletic achievement with certain death the consequence of any real mistake over a 4 HOUR period.

Most scared I've ever been was a 100'+ pitch of 5.6 slab with a single bent rusty pin in the middle for protection...

This was the first ascent...first free solo ascent.

And while I have total respect for the original pioneers in the valley, this is on a whole 'nother level.



I have to assume most in this thread have no idea how hard it is to climb 5.13. I climbed for years and I can't even comprehend. There are very few climbers in this world that are at that level. Then doing it w/o a rope with intense exposure really is really hard to wrap my head around.

I read that two of the crux pitches are 5.13 slabs 600 feet off the deck. No holds, just smearing your feet. I've done a lot of lead climbing and by far the most terrified I've ever been was on two run-out slabs in Joshua Tree....they were only 5.8.

I can't even imagine the focus and skill this takes. My hands are getting sweaty just thinking about it.
 

silvercreek

WFF Supporter
Rarely is superhuman athletic ability and supreme intelligence along with a drive to help humanity found in the same individual. I lived for a while with such an individual.

While I was in medical school, I rented a 4 br home in Palo Alto with 2 of my law school friends. We needed a 4th and Lou Reichardt answered our ad. He was a Harvard grad, a former Fulbright scholar, and now attending Stanford in the biochemistry PHD program. We made small talk and he said he was a "climber". I assumed he meant rock climbing.

One day he asked if he could have a few of friends over one evening. When I came home from studying, he was showing some slides. Lou was hanging from a sheer cliff in a bivouac, kind of a cocoon bag, off the face of Mt. McKinley. I found out that Lou was one of the best if not the best mountain climber in the USA. Lou and I got to know each other rather well during the year we were house mates.

Lou is the real life version of Superman. He is brilliant but mild mannered. He had to train at sea level so he loaded a backpack with 60+ pounds of weights and he would run and jog for miles every day to train for his climbs. Other climbers have called his ability to climb in the death zone (+26000 ft) without O2 as super human. Theoretically, above 26,000 ft, humans cannot adapt to the low O2.

He was the first American to summit both Everest and K2, the the highest and second highest mountains. He has since climbed both of them several times without O2. He climbed the East Face of Mt. Everest, a route so dangerous it has never been done again. He led the National Geographic expedition to K2 and an Everest expedition. But the expedition I remember most was the unsuccessful 1969 American Mt. Dhaulagiri expedition, which ended with an ice avalanche killing every active American climber except Lou. Another American climber, Al Read, had been previously evacuated for acute mountain sickness and was off the mountain.

I knew Lou was on the expedition. He had waited while China finally let the American climbers enter Nepal. Along with him was a Stanford MD who died in the avalanche along with the Boyd Everett, the expedition leader. The disaster was broadcast on the CBS evening news. All I knew was that there was only one survivor, and so I thought Lou had been killed. 8 members of the climbing party including Lou were setting up to cross a series cravasses, and they were hit by an avalanche. 5 American climbers and 2 sherpas were killed. I later learned that only Lou survived. None of the bodies were recovered.

Lou sent me a very moving letter when he returned to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. He said he did not know why he alone survived when the rest of his friends had died. He wrote that he didn't know when, but he would return and climb Dhaulagiri for his friends. He did as part of the 1973 expedition summiting with John Roskelly and Sherpa Ngawang Samden.

”If you're more intrigued by adventure than science, you've probably heard of another Louis Reichardt, the so-called "climbing gorilla" with an equally impressive resume: first human to stand atop K2, arguably the world's deadliest mountain, without an oxygen tank (or a coat). First ascent of the East face of Everest, a route so challenging it has not been climbed since. Third person (and first American) ever to climb both K2 and Everest, one of the most accomplished high-altitude mountaineers of his generation.

These two resumes, in fact, belong to the same man. Which begs the question: what kind of person drives himself to perform with equal intensity under the fluorescent lights of a lab as well as the blinding sunlight of the highest mountains? How do those of us who live a sea-level type of existence understand someone drawn to the "death zones," those places above 26,000 feet where there is not enough oxygen for people to survive for long.”


https://iancommunity.org/ssc/summit-sfari-high-altitude-life-louis-reichardt

https://www.himalayanclub.org/hj/29/20/the-american-dhaulagiri-expedition-1969/

https://www.himalayanclub.org/hj/33/6/american-dhaulagiri-expedition-1973/

http://jcb.rupress.org/content/186/5/634.full

http://www.everesthistory.com/climbers/loureichardt1200308.htm

http://hr1964.org/reichardt.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Reichardt
 

Gyrfalcon2020

Honoring Vets
Rarely is superhuman athletic ability and supreme intelligence along with a drive to help humanity found in the same individual. I lived for a while with such an individual.

While I was in medical school, I rented a 4 br home in Palo Alto with 2 of my law school friends. We needed a 4th and Lou Reichardt answered our ad. He was a Harvard grad, a former Fulbright scholar, and now attending Stanford in the biochemistry PHD program. We made small talk and he said he was a "climber". I assumed he meant rock climbing.

One day he asked if he could have a few of friends over one evening. When I came home from studying, he was showing some slides. Lou was hanging from a sheer cliff in a bivouac, kind of a cocoon bag, off the face of Mt. McKinley. I found out that Lou was one of the best if not the best mountain climber in the USA. Lou and I got to know each other rather well during the year we were house mates.

Lou is the real life version of Superman. He is brilliant but mild mannered. He had to train at sea level so he loaded a backpack with 60+ pounds of weights and he would run and jog for miles every day to train for his climbs. Other climbers have called his ability to climb in the death zone (+26000 ft) without O2 as super human. Theoretically, above 26,000 ft, humans cannot adapt to the low O2.

He was the first American to summit both Everest and K2, the the highest and second highest mountains. He has since climbed both of them several times without O2. He climbed the East Face of Mt. Everest, a route so dangerous it has never been done again. He led the National Geographic expedition to K2 and an Everest expedition. But the expedition I remember most was the unsuccessful 1969 American Mt. Dhaulagiri expedition, which ended with an ice avalanche killing every active American climber except Lou. Another American climber, Al Read, had been previously evacuated for acute mountain sickness and was off the mountain.

I knew Lou was on the expedition. He had waited while China finally let the American climbers enter Nepal. Along with him was a Stanford MD who died in the avalanche along with the Boyd Everett, the expedition leader. The disaster was broadcast on the CBS evening news. All I knew was that there was only one survivor, and so I thought Lou had been killed. 8 members of the climbing party including Lou were setting up to cross a series cravasses, and they were hit by an avalanche. 5 American climbers and 2 sherpas were killed. I later learned that only Lou survived. None of the bodies were recovered.

Lou sent me a very moving letter when he returned to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. He said he did not know why he alone survived when the rest of his friends had died. He wrote that he didn't know when, but he would return and climb Dhaulagiri for his friends. He did as part of the 1973 expedition summiting with John Roskelly and Sherpa Ngawang Samden.

”If you're more intrigued by adventure than science, you've probably heard of another Louis Reichardt, the so-called "climbing gorilla" with an equally impressive resume: first human to stand atop K2, arguably the world's deadliest mountain, without an oxygen tank (or a coat). First ascent of the East face of Everest, a route so challenging it has not been climbed since. Third person (and first American) ever to climb both K2 and Everest, one of the most accomplished high-altitude mountaineers of his generation.

These two resumes, in fact, belong to the same man. Which begs the question: what kind of person drives himself to perform with equal intensity under the fluorescent lights of a lab as well as the blinding sunlight of the highest mountains? How do those of us who live a sea-level type of existence understand someone drawn to the "death zones," those places above 26,000 feet where there is not enough oxygen for people to survive for long.”


https://iancommunity.org/ssc/summit-sfari-high-altitude-life-louis-reichardt

https://www.himalayanclub.org/hj/29/20/the-american-dhaulagiri-expedition-1969/

https://www.himalayanclub.org/hj/33/6/american-dhaulagiri-expedition-1973/

http://jcb.rupress.org/content/186/5/634.full

http://www.everesthistory.com/climbers/loureichardt1200308.htm

http://hr1964.org/reichardt.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Reichardt


I, too, think these climbers are hard to beat as my personal pick for physical/mental achievement in pushing the limits.

But in truth, the greatest achievements will never be written about or known to most, or any others. War stories, single parents... mentally ill. Survival stories eons ago. Everyone has a different level of challenge.
I doubt Usain Bolt was the fastest human ever on the planet. The fastest timed...
 
Last edited:

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
Well, if it isn't the Fosberry Flop, then it has to be Billie Jean King beating Bobby Riggs... or was it staged?
 

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top