Deep water soloing. A how to.

by We didn't write this

For those that don’t know, deep water soloing is greatest climbing discipline. It takes the best aspect of every climbing discipline and mixes it together to produce something truly awesome.

Bouldering is cool because there are no ropes and little equipment.  However, after a few days of carrying a huge, foam square around the forest humping tiny rocks you start to feel really gay.

Sport climbing is awesome because you get to go up high.  But, as a good friend once remarked, “sport climbing is neither.

The freedom of trad climbing is cool.  Carrying around 80 pounds of gear while taking 3 hours to climb a 5.6: not so much.

With deep water soloing, any and every line over water is open for business.  Every climb can be an FA, an opportunity to pick the line you want to do.

After going on several deep water soloing missions at Summersville Lake, we have put together this guide to deep water soloing.  The activities described below are illegal, extremely reckless, wildly dangerous and just plain stupid.  We don’t condone them and neither should you.  Sit on the couch and watch football instead.


Ordered by importance.

1. A boat: $120

The Jon Boat is the way to go.  Way more maneuverable than the pontoon boat, it allows you to place the climber exactly where he/she wants to start.

2. Booze:  $20

I cannot emphasize the importance of Booze.  The more, the better.  Science has long shown that liquid courage is an extremely important supplement to real courage.

After experimenting with many types of booze while soloing,  Tequila is the winner.  The reckless, dangerous Tequila drunk seems to perfectly complement deep water soloing.

3. Energy drink

We HIGLY recommend mixing one part 2 and two parts 3 together for a death defying concoction. Prepare to feel like a super hero (for 4-6 hours)*

*Disclaimer: also prepare for one hell of a hangover.

4. Liquid Chalk: $10

When applying, pretend your hands are Megan Fox and the chalk is your favorite lubricant.  The message: apply generously.

5. Other: Climbing shoes, sunscreen, snacks.

Total cost should equal about 160 dollars.  While this can seem kind of expensive, it is certainly cheaper than a day skiing.


In this section, we demonstrate how one can most successfully apply the above ingredients to deep water soloing

Part 1: The approach

  1. Pick a line

2Take a loooooooooong swig of booze

3. Apply lots of chalk

4. Stand on the front edge of the boat

5. Have the boat driver slowly drive you towards your starting holds.  Grab on, and let the boat pull away

If steps 1 through 5 (especially 2) are executed correctly, you should be on the rock, dry, and drunk as hell.

2. The climb.

Pretty self explanatory.  Don’t hesitate to pull on choss.  Go higher than you think you should.  Avoid bees, snakes and hornets.  Loud encouragement from a member of the opposite sex helps.

3. The dismount.

At some point, you are going to fall or jump.  If you f*ck this part up, it WILL hurt.  As you fly through the air, try  to remain upright.

The recommended way to hit the water, in our opinion, is the “don’t get ass raped by the water” position, also known as the pencil.

Feet together, straight, heels first.  Arms at your sides, hands in fists.  The water will try very hard to insert itself in your ass, dislocate your shoulders and otherwise hurt you.  If you don’t fight back, it will hurt.  In general, whatever position you chose assume, stay as tight and flexed as possible (see below)

Swim back up, get back in the boat, and repeat until someone gets seriously hurt.


If you are still alive and not arrested after following this guide, pat yourself on the back.  You just completed an extremely reckless day.  Reward yourself with a pizza and a mouthful of ibuprofen.  All climbing photos by Rami Annab