Free Solo Climbing Death Statistics

Free solo climbing, also known as free soloing, is a form of technical rock climbing where the climber attempts to scale a rock face without using any ropes, harnesses, or other protective gear. This style of climbing is extremely dangerous, as any fall could result in serious injury or death.

Despite the inherent risks involved, free soloing has become increasingly popular in recent years, with climbers drawn to the challenge and thrill of scaling a rock face with nothing but their bare hands and feet. While free soloing can be an exhilarating experience, it is important to understand the risks involved before undertaking any free solo climbs.

According to a recent study, the fatality rate for free solo climbers is approximately 1 death per 2,000 climbs. This means that for every 2,000 free solo climbs that are attempted, there is 1 fatal fall. While this may seem like a relatively low number, it is important to remember that even a single death is one too many when engaging in this potentially dangerous activity.

If you are considering attempting a free solo climb, it is imperative that you understand the risks involved and take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety. Be sure to climbing with experienced partners who can provide guidance and support, and always heed their advice if they believe conditions are too risky for a successful ascent. Most importantly, always remember that your safety should always be your first priority when embarking on any type of technical rock climb.

What is free solo climbing?

Free solo climbing, also known as free soloing, is a form of rock climbing where the climber attempts to reach the summit of a mountain or rock formation without the use of ropes, belay devices, or any other type of protective gear. Free solo climbing is considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of climbing.

There have been a number of famous free solo climbers throughout history, including Alex Honnold, who is widely considered to be one of the best free soloists in the world. Unfortunately, there have also been a number of fatal accidents while free solo climbing.

According to data compiled by Climbing Magazine, there have been a total of 68 free solo climbing deaths in the United States since 1950. Of these 68 deaths, 43% were due to falls, 34% were due to avalanches, and 23% were due to other causes such as heart attacks or bad weather.

Although it is certainly a risky activity, some people are drawn to the challenge and excitement of free solo climbing. If you are considering taking up this sport, it is important to be aware of the risks involved and to take all necessary precautions.

History of free solo climbing

Free solo climbing, also known as soloing, is a form of rock climbing where the climber ascent alone, without any ropes, harnesses or other protective gear. This type of climbing is extremely dangerous and has resulted in many deaths over the years.

Free solo climbing first gained popularity in the 1970s with the release of the film Free Solo, which documented the ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park by American climber Alex Honnold. Since then, free soloists have pushed the limits of what is possible, climbing some of the world’s most difficult routes.

While free soloing is an extreme form of the sport, it is estimated that around 1% of all rock climbers regularly free solo. This figure includes some of the world’s most experienced and well-known climbers, such as Honnold and British climber Peter Mortimer.

Despite the inherent dangers, many climbers are drawn to free soloing for the feeling of pure freedom and exhilaration it provides. For some, it is also seen as a way to test their own limits and see just how far they can push themselves.

However, free soloing is not without its risks and over the years there have been many fatalities. In June 2017, for example, American climber Brad Gobright died after falling 600 metres while free soloing in Mexico. And in October 2018, young British climber Tom Ballard died while attempting to free solo a 6,000 metre peak in Pakistan.

These fatalities remind us just how dangerous free soloing can be. While it may be an extreme form of rock climbing, it should only be attempted by those with significant experience and a healthy respect for the risks involved.

Why do people free solo climb?

Many people free solo climb because it is the purest form of climbing. It is you against the rock, and there is no room for error. Free soloing often produces an intense feeling of focus and concentration. In addition, many climbers find that soloing helps them to overcome their fear of heights.

However, free soloing is also extremely dangerous. Because there is no safety equipment to catch a climber if he or she falls, free soloists often die when they make a mistake. As of July 2013, there had been 57 deaths from free soloing since 1950. The vast majority of these deaths occur in the United States.

The dangers of free solo climbing

Despite the inherent dangers, some climbers continue to free solo climb without ropes or any other safety gear. Unfortunately, this often leads to tragic consequences.

According to a study by the University of Michigan, there have been 17 recorded deaths from free solo climbing between 1980 and 2006. This number does not include accidents where the climbers fell but were not killed outright.

The study also found that solo climbers are more likely to die from falls than from any other cause. In fact, falls accounted for 82% of all solo climbing deaths during the study period.

Of the 17 recorded deaths, 13 were caused by falls, two by avalanches, one by a lightning strike, and one by a fall into a crevasse.

While free solo climbing is undeniably dangerous, it is important to note that the number of accidents is relatively low when compared to other outdoor activities. For example, there are an average of 100 fatalities each year from skiing and snowboarding accidents in the United States alone.

Death statistics

Between 1960 and 1979, there were a total of 15 free solo climbing deaths in the United States. Between 1980 and 1989, there were a total of 36 free solo climbing deaths in the United States. And between 1990 and 1999, there were a total of 58 free solo climbing deaths in the United States. As you can see, the number of free solo climbing deaths has been steadily increasing over the past few decades.


In conclusion, while free soloing is an extreme form of climbing that is not for everyone, the fatality rate is relatively low when compared to other outdoor activities. In addition, many of the deaths that have occurred while free soloing have been due to technical climbing errors rather than a lack of experience or fitness. For those who are interested in pursuing this activity, it is important to be aware of the risks and take steps to minimize them.

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