“Basically you just put your fingers into the crack and just turn them a little into the side and they just wedge in there… You only have… like a tiny amount of skin inside the crack… like half of two fingers.”
Think about it. Is this perhaps something you’d like to have a crack at?
Wait a moment; if you are now sniggering because of some perverse thought, very much like the sick-minded individual we had encountered when we were discussing the dangerous activity that required such actions, you rightly deserve to be beaten to a pulp.
For the said individual, he was lucky to get away with just a hard smack on his head.
Ok, we are indeed referring to a crack – a fissure, but definitely not that of the human anatomy, rather that of a rock face. Therefore, walloping those who deserve it may be the only way to rear-end (pun definitely intended) their twisted mindsets.
Now that we’ve got your kind attention, let us continue by explaining that the fissures refer to the long cracks along rock faces. With their fingers in these cracks or fissures, rock climbers are able to grip onto the walls and make their ascents.
For example, these tiny gaps in the rock faces are what American rock climber Alex Honnold (born in 1985) relies on to make his free solo ascents. He places his fingers into the fissures for grip and uses his feet to stabilise and manoeuvre his body. “So little of your body is actually touching the rock,” says Honnold.
What is free solo climbing? Free soloing refers to the extremely dangerous activity of climbing up rock faces without any safety ropes. It is an extremely risky activity, what Honnold describes as having much higher consequences than other climbing because “… you have no rope, no back-up, no protection….”
All Honnold has for “gear and accessories” are his shoes and chalk bag. Alone and on the wall, Honnold describes his climbs as being in “… a cool place with there is lots of air around you.”
Still unsure of what free solo rock climbing is all about?
If you had watched Mission Impossible II that was released in 2000, you would have caught Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise who plays the character of Ethan Hunt performing the death-defying free solo climbing during the first few minutes of the movie. But that is Hollywood action.
Honnold is reality – this young gentleman lives in his van just to enjoy his passion of free solo rock climbing as he needs to travel to many distant places in the United States to satisfy his itch for dangerous climbs.
One rock face Honnold scaled in 2008 is the Moonlight Buttress located at the Zion National Park in Utah, USA. He describes it as 700-feet (more than 210 metres) of continuous split-of-finger crack, that is, one-inch fissures, along a vertical rock face.
You can therefore realise that losing one’s grip and free falling from such heights will obviously result in serious injury or a fatality. Now you can understand why the free solo climbing sport is no laughing matter.
The Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Black was developed for Honnold in 2013, the year he became the brand’s ambassador. One can therefore appreciate why it was made to be lightweight (with its case made of titanium) for a rock climber like Honnold.
Aesthetics-wise, our view is that the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Black is a handsome-looking sports watch.
Another added-value feature that is out of one’s view is the brand’s patented SpringLOCK system incorporated into the ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement. This is an anti-shock system which according to Ball Watch, can reduce the impact of external shocks to the balance spring by as much as 66%.
Such extra protection is perfect for a sports watch. Speaking of which, Honnold describes the “perfect route” as one with “… a humongous wall of perfect vertical clean granite”.
This explains why on the case back of the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Black, there is the engraving of Honnold scaling a vertical rock face.
To better appreciate Honnold’s bravado and free solo climbing skills, it is recommended that you view the videos of him in real action on:
1. youtube: “Square Space presents: Alex Honnold (Climber’s Cut)”; and
2. National Geographic: “Alone on the Wall: Alex Honnold”.
Having done so, you can perhaps better appreciate what wonders our limbs can do for us, especially if we have a strong mental will and have good discipline in keeping fit. There is much to do outdoors so we should also avoid being another piece of furniture in our own homes, that is, being couch potatoes.
There are only a rare few like Honnold who can scale vertical rock faces with such skill and daring. His favourite playground is the Yosemite National Park in the United States and his favourite free solo climb is that scaling what is known as the “Heaven” route.
At such heights, especially after scaling the rock faces, Honnold enjoys the views of “an epic scale”, notably that of Yosemite. It is through the videos of his free solo adventures that Honnold hopes to share “… the beauty of the places where he goes climbing.
For us, the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Black developed for Honnold symbolizes the human courage and the spirit of adventure. Wearing it is a constant reminder to remain brave despite the challenges and to live life to its fullest.
Another article on the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Black on timewerke.com is: Not Alone in the Dark.