Appointment with Death: Filip Babicz climbs one of the most dangerous gritstone routes rope solo

Appointment with Death (E9, 6c) is one of the boldest routes in English gritstone. Filip Babicz recently secured the fifth repetition of the line. Unlike the other climbers before him, he didn't bring a crash pad or a climbing partner with him.

The Pole Filip Babicz is the first non-Englishman to whom the grit stone-Classic Appointment with Death (E9, 6c) succeeds. After the first ascent Sam Whittaker in 2003 only four climbers found the courage to climb the route. Due to the real danger of a fall, a crash pad in the landing zone was usually part of the inspection. Not so with Filip Babicz. He climbed the line rope solo style.

Appointment with Death: In Another Dimension

It's difficult to find the right words, says Filip Babicz after his ascent. On Wednesday, May 11, just before 20 p.m., he had his rendezvous with death – without a crash pad and without a belay partner. "There was nobody. Just me and the wall. I was in another dimension for three minutes.” It was surreal, says Babicz.

"There was nobody. Just me and the wall. For three minutes I was in another dimension.”

Filip Babicz

The top climber describes the feeling immediately after such a strong moment with a dream. "Unlike in a dream, you don't wake up, you live a lucid dream." He is deeply grateful for this moment and this encounter with himself.

filip-babicz-appointment-with-death-first-rope-solo
Filip Babicz climbs Appointment with Death (E9, 6c) rope solo style.

Highballs, alpinism, dry tooling

Filip Babicz has dedicated himself to climbing for almost 20 years and has competed in several World Cups as a member of the Polish and later the Italian national squad. Over the years he has left his mark on risky highballs in Bishop, on difficult multi-pitch tours in the Polish Tatras and in the Himalayas.

Filip Babicz has made a name for himself on the international climbing scene with his easy and fast alpine ascents and tough dry tooling tours. For example, he has the Peuterey ridge climbed solo in 17 hours that Three peaks of Lavaredo exceeded from Misurina in 6 hours and 30 minutes or that Matterhorn climbed in 5 hours and a minute.

In the Polish Tatras and at hotspots like Büs del Quai, he has done everything that makes a dry tool heart beat faster: Oswiecenie (D16), Integral Hades (D15+), Blair Witch (D15), Uragano Dorato (D15), Bafomet (D14+), Whitestar (D14+) or Sangreal Extension (D14+).

Video: Tom Randall on second ascent of Appointment with Death

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Credits: Cover picture Filip Babicz

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