One of the most influential climbers in history and a true living legend in certain circles, Johnny Dawes has received a lot of attention in recent years for his unwieldy climbing feats.
Dawes, also known as the Stone Monkey, the Leaping Boy, the Dawes, has always been known for his dynamic climbing style and daring climbs, but his recent endeavors are probably the most impressive, at least to the untrained eye. Now, in his late 50s, the English climber has devoted himself to the esoteric discipline of no-handed climbing, which, as the name suggests, is about climbing steep rock faces without hands. It sounds crazy, but it looks even more.
Photo: EpicTV / YouTube Screengrab
“It’s a bit like climbing like camp or wine, and No-Hands is really like a liquor or a ghost,” says Dawes. “It’s a much more powerful coordination medium.”
As you can imagine, walking on a sheer rock face that most of us couldn’t climb, even if we had four arms, requires some real Jedi movement and control. When you watch Dawes do it, you think it was just a walk in the park, but you actually need ninja footwork, in-depth knowledge of physics, not to mention courage and a little bit of craziness to pull this off.
“It’s such an absurd and brilliant idea, delivered with such British confidence, that I keep thinking it could be the world’s greatest climbing device,” writes Steve Casimiro of the Adventure Journal. “Look at it like it’s totally wrong and you will find yourself breaking it. Look at it like it’s real and you’ll nod your head and say, “Yeah, Johnny!” It could go either way. “
But there is nothing wrong with Johnny Dawes climbing without hands, just being smart with his body and having a lot of courage.