Solo Climbing

About This Project

Training and Free Solo climbingFree Solo Climbing was the favourite style of climbing for Ivan Kristoff in his teenage years. To climb alone, without the assistance of a climbing partner to belaying, it gives the pure freedom for enjoying the bond with the nature.

Currently Ivan Kristoff is creating a portfolio of “One Hundred Faces of Extreme Sports”, who have passion for high adrenaline activities. He aims to assist this adventure lovers in showing their world in a new way and will invite them in the new Web TV Series for extreme sports. He is also one of them and climbs solo in a free climbing style .

Photography by: Lazar Goushev

Solo climbingAugust Photo of the Month courtesy of Ivan Kristoff
This photo is from the timeline of Nikon Canada Inc.  Facebook site, in which Ivan Kristoff won the Photo contest for Nikon Canada Inc.

“I was scouting out locations in Greece for my upcoming photo exhibit titled, ‘Achieve New Heights,’ which takes place on November 6-8, 2012 at the Dubai Helishow 2012 Exhibition. I wanted to capture a picture that would portray my personal philosophy, ‘Achieve New Heights,’ by focusing on a man who is taking a risk and looks out into the open. For this photo, I found a spot for my Nikon 1 J1 camera with 10mm lens and set the Self Timer option for 10 seconds. It was just enough time for me to climb up. If I remember correctly, I had a burst of continuous shooting. This photo was my favorite picture of the set.”

Visionary Outdoor Thinking

The experience from Solo climbing shapes the mental preparedness of Ivan’s team

“Free Solo Climbing was my favourite style of climbing when I was a teenager. My favorite soloing rock climbing destinations were the Lakatnik Rocks and the Vratsata in Bulgaria. To climb alone, in a Free Style was the coolest way to enjoy the pure adrenalin in my veins and the surrounding view, without any distractions. Besides, as almost a kid, I had no income and did not earn money to buy the expensive at that time equipment that was produced mainly in the West and was quite expensive during the Communism in Bulgaria. So, that was one of the few ways to feel completely free to do what I used to do, when as a child, I climbed the 7 storey tall trees at my home backyard and enjoy the bond with the nature.

Мy social campaign ‘Smart Thinking’ addresses some of the biggest challenges facing the vertical, aerial and rescue rescue world today and will focus on the avalanche effect of disrespect for personal and public safety”
Ivan Kristoff

How do you react, when your safety line is cut, when the “acts of God” apply to your body, hanging out a few meters off the wall, when you get your self in extreme situation at extreme heights, is what determines what kind of a vertical access expert you are.  If you don’t have this experience in your childhood, then don’t expect to be efficient in a situation like that on the exterior walls at high altitude. Up there, the winds are so strong, the forces of nature so brutal,  and you are feeling so lonely in the mercy of your knowledge and experience in dealing with such “delicate” situations, that only your reaction to action can determine the good come out of such events.

That is why at Ivan’s team, we appreciate and welcome experienced rock and ice climbers, who have enjoyed solo climbing and know not only how to ascend on walls with safety equipment and fall protection, but also to thrive on climbing up with the absence of these protective gear. Just leave the rest for us, and we will make a real life Spiderman of you.

“I don’t work. I have fun and I get well paid for that. And I earn with pride every cent, because I use my skills and thrive in the rope access industry where whole teams  have failed and had fatalities. But boldness and solving problems, where others can’t or have failed, it comes with a price – you have to do it Solo. Because there is no one to follow you. I have tried hard and invested a lot of money in brave men, even triple national champions in Alpine mountaineering sports, but when I asked them to follow me up there.,a few hundreds meters off the ground, on the shaky Antenna Mast – there legs start shaking and eye pupils start growing… No thanks. That is I go solo and I finish solo the job. Especially in extreme winter  weather conditions and brutal winds, above 60 km/h…

Up there, in 2003, on the unclimbed and unreachable places on the tallest tower in the world, no one could dare or be capable to extract me or come to the rescue. Some professionals have asked me – What if you are incapacitated or have a suspension trauma???  That is why I plan in advanced and develop a battle proven strategy, so that I can depend only on my self and save my self even in worst case scenarios. Even death is not an excuse!

People who don’t have the experience that I have had, are excused to think otherwise. But let me tell you for the record – in my personal and professional life, I have been in situations, surrounded by people even more experienced than me, with whom I felt safe and secure, but “when the stuff hits the fan”, they ran like hell.
So, as in the recent airplane tragedy of Germanwings – over safety can be an overkill. By-laws, regulations and safety rules can be applied in the industry, but for emergency situations and extremely high-risk task -there are the rules that have to be improvised and decisions made on the nick of the time. That why such tasks are not for every one.
On behalf of our Club Extreme, we would like to express our special thanks to the assistance of the “INTEGRA-A” company for providing TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS equipment.” says Ivan Kristoff
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SoloНай-горната снимка спечели конкурса на Фейсбук страницата на Никон Канада.  “Винаги съм се възхищавал на соло катеренето, чистия начин да се слееш с природата, освободен от всякакви технологии и мерки за безопасност, които те отделят от същността на чистото катерене. Скаутирах места в България за предстоящия ми фото изложба, озаглавена” Achieve New Heights “, която се проведе на 6-8 ноември 2012 г. в хеликоптерното изложение в Dubai Helishow. Исках да заснема снимка, която ще представи личната ми философия на тема “Постигане на нови висоти”, като предоставих камерата си на друг фотограф и му нарисувах първо концепцията си.


Проучвах места в България и Гърция за предстоящата ми фото изложба и улових мига със снимки, като се фокусирам върху човек, който рискува и е с поглед към отвореното обятие, високо над водата и земята. За подобни на тази снимка, намерих място за моята Nikon камера и зададох опцията Self Timer  за 10 секунди. Това беше достатъчно време за мен да се изкача нагоре и на мястото, където се бях позиционирал. Тази снимка е една от любимата ми от тази вертикална снимачна площадка“, казва Иван Кристоф

Екстремно соло катеренеНашата социална кампания „Интелигентно мислене“ се занимава с някои от най-големите предизвикателства пред вертикалния, въздушния и спасителния свят днес и ще се съсредоточи върху лавинообразния ефект на личната и обществена безОПАСНОСТ.

Затова и сменяме приоритетите 


Днес бях на ръба на живота, когато подкарах мощно АТВ на ръба на скални камъни и после нагазих с него в реката, дълбоко, колкото да се удавиш. Не защото бе опасно, а защото от години не бях карал и особено на такъв терен, а човек, който бе подкарал последното ми 800сс АТВ бе загинал с него. Затова и си спомних за историята около локацията на тази снимка, където като малък обичах да катеря соло маршрута “Германеца”…

Името на тур “Германеца”, доколкото знам, идва от мита, че докато го е катерил или е бил в района на Лакатник, като е паднал от това място, тялото му е летяло на долу и после е бил събиран в торбички от “Булгарплод”. Това бе името на може би единствената верига от магазинчета за плодове и зеленчуци в комунистическа България – през периода на може би най-силния “скрит комерсиален” алпинизъм. 

Сега, тази история е ужасна и смятам, че не е редно да се споделят такива истории, но от известно време ме шокира, колко много заглавия и с какви подробности бяха описвани детайли за падащ човек, дори в най-голямата група планинари, се въртяха клипове на последните мигове на прелитащ алпинист покрай трима катерачи, които най-спокойно и безмълвно наблюдаваха случващото и като се има в предвид, че този човек (както се описва във видеото дори, че това е падащ човек) дори и не помръднаха или се опитаха да реагират и да го спрат… Това смятам, че е ужасно и за да споделя, защо аз си позволих да споделя горе описаната случка за мита “Германеца” е, че алпинистите, които я разказваха тази история, винаги се смееха…