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simpson vanishes... (Read 112644 times)

John Gillott

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#75 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 07:58:35 am
His recent blog posts had ascents on them that a lot of people found hard to believe (these blogs have all now been removed unfortunately) but included achievements such as rope-soloing the Brandler-Hasse in the Dolomites in well under 2 hours. I think Alex Huber took 4 hours 20 minutes to free solo this route - unsuprising as it is one of the loosest 16 pitch complex limestone E5's you will find anywhere.

The scarpa blog is still there:

http://www.scarpa.co.uk/team/blogs.asp?TeamID=40

Maybe Simpson eliminated the nap? (around 1'30"):



SA Chris

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#76 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 09:26:57 am
go some way to proving or disproving his knockers.

Has he had breast implants too? :)

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#77 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 09:32:35 am
Few thoughts on this saga:

Firstly as someone who's clearly not daft and been in the game long enough to know better, I'm amazed that Rich has allowed himself to get into the position of seemingly not having anything evidenceable, especially given his track record of publicly calling bullshit on Heason. Whatever you can read into having met the Rich, or what a mate of a mate might have told you down the pub, or however many pullups he can do, or that he probably was strong enough to do XXX route, or that he's driven enough to be a self-made academic, I think the fact that sponsors have dropped him is a real eyeopener. When you look at people who've had questions asked about them in the past none of them (to my knowledge) got dropped as a result.

It does surprise me (as in I wasn't aware) if its true that nobody has seen him do the routes he's said he has, there must have been belayers, and even if they'd been sworn to secrecy (why?) you'd think someone would pipe up to save the guy's reputation. The person rumoured to have been the belayer on his unreported hard grit routes for example should be able to shed some light on this. Of course its not the case that everyone needs to be videoing everything they do, but when you're talking ascents thaat are either garnering sponsorship beans, or column inches, or that are of top-level significance then I think in todays world there aught to be hard evidence, or at the very least the climbing being able to put themselves in the context of being above suspicion.

I'm glad that this thread hasn't descended into the usual "well I met him once and he seemed like a nice guy, didn't have horns or a forked tail thus he can't be a liar" crap like we had with heason and scotty, so thanks to everyone for being rational.

Would anyone care to fill me in on the edited highlights of the boxing/athletics shit cos I ain't seen the stuff on CT?

I must admit it doesn't look good for Rich at this stage, even if he could beat this shit out  of me, lap me on the track and has got more UCAS points than me.

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#78 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 09:37:58 am
I must admit it doesn't look good for Rich at this stage, even if he could beat this shit out  of me, lap me on the track and has got more UCAS points than me.

Yes, but he doesnt have dave in blue does he! eh!

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#79 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 09:56:30 am
Cheers Dan, Percy and Chris for clarifying some of this.

Dan I agree that Sponsors should check for evidence for there athletes achievements.

However why did Wild Country and Scarpa choose to sponsor him if there was so much doubt about his credentials? Why the sudden change of heart as from what you and Percy are saying there was no evidence before and there is no evidence now. From an outside perspective none of this makes any sense.

I don't think they (his sponsors) have handled this well at all, although clearly simpson has himself to blame for refusing to, or not being able to produce evidence  for a lot of his claims. If they thought he was for real before and now they think he's a liar they should really explain the reason for the U-Turn

All things considered though I think from what I've heard heard I'm still inclined to believe he's for real. There's a common theme coming from
people who know the guy and that is that he is strong enough to do what he's said and that he is someone of integrity.

There's not much footage either of the likes of Malcolm smith, john gaskins, Stevie Haston (not to single these guys out) etc. floating around but no one (and certainly not me either) is questioning them. I just don't understand why Simpson is different and getting such grief by comparison.
The likes of McClure, Macleod, pearson etc. have pretty much all their hard stuff on video but this is not the case for a lot of other climbers.

Also another reason why I'm enclined to believe him is that he has provided so much detail and photos for this stuff in magazines blogs etc.

If he's lying he must be the most elaborate liar in climbing history. Why would he boast about fake boxing and running credentials in the climbing media? Why head out to the Frankenjura and spain numerous times before pretending to do these routes? As Doyle said why train so hard to get strong only to claim to do these old school routes for which he got so little reward or publicity?



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#80 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 09:57:24 am
I couldn't decide whether to to get involved in this but in the end thought, fuck it, so....

This is a lot different to the Scotty situation as clearly Rich is/was strong enough to do the feats achieved of him. Also worth pointing out that a lot of these rumours get spread as hard facts by people who hear them second/third hand. For example, I recall that Si Moore saw RS do Hubble, no? Yet many people on this thread have included this as an 'unwitnessed' ascent. I think the responsibility for this lies firmly with the doubters (I.U.P.G and all that), so maybe someone who knows Si should check with him? Also, did everyone miss Doylo saying that Dai's entourage were at the crag when Rich did Action Directe? Anyone bother to chase that up before stating baldly it was 'unwitnessed'?

I'm not saying it's wrong to ask for proof of ascents; I think climbing is important enough to all of us to make that fair enough. I do think if you're going to insinuate public that someone's a liar, you should make all reasonable efforts to check your facts.

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#81 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:02:13 am
I must admit it doesn't look good for Rich at this stage, even if he could beat this shit out  of me, lap me on the track and has got more UCAS points than me.

Yes, but he doesnt have dave in blue does he! eh!


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#82 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:09:17 am
Good point from Stu there about checking facts. I'm probably as guilty as anyone of taking stuff stated on this thread as fact. Sport routes have belayers and hence if they happened then they have witnesses, so producing witnesses for sport route ascents shouldn't be a problem.

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#83 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:10:58 am
Dave a brief athletics/boxing synopsis:

Rich said he'd done a 4 minute mile at some venue, he was originally pace making but "felt good" so went on to to finish the mile. Can't remember the specific venue but blah blah. Anyway sone athletic knowledgable types on the other channel said they hadn't heard of him and their mates hadn't either. Also his time didn't appear to be recorded anywhere. The feeling was that a 4-minute miler wouldn't just pop up do the deed then walk off into the sunset but that there would be paper trail of results which is apparently absent in this case.

The 2hour 30 marathon was apparently done in the New York Marathon however his name doesn't appear in the results. Dolye has revealed he was running under someone elses ticket so that makes sense. However again the feeling was amongst the athleticophiles that a 2:30 marathon doesn't just happen and there would be a paper trail, which again fails to materialise.

The boxing is 16 bouts all won I think he claims. None of the UKCer's who've looked have found any evidence that he's stepped into the ring.

Not sure whether this say more about Simpsons record or the competence of UKCer's to research on the interweb...

Anyway I'm still prepared to accept his climbing claims, although I must express similar surprise to you regarding the apparent reticence of witnesses, but his Brandler Hasse solo (or whatever it was) is maybe looking like a shakier claim??? I don't know anything about this type of climbing(mountaineering?) but some of the above comments have given pause for thought...

P.S. I agree with Stu, he seems pretty smart.

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#84 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:28:03 am
I think that there are two issues here,

One is, as has been pointed out Rich Simpson set him self up a la Jonathan Aitken as the bearer of the sword of truth and the shield of fair play.  As such his claims need to be viewed in that context.

The second is that he's made extrodinary claims of athleticism which do not bear the slightest scrutiny.

Similarly with the boxing, as I understand it you have to be registered with the ABAE to box and there are records kept of all bouts for health and safety reasons as well as rankings.

If you have fought 16 fights I am sure you'd be able to name places, dates and your opponent.

The academic qualities have no relevance to the veracity of the claims that he's made.

If up at cambridge he gets a double blue in boxing and athletics his claims will take on a different hue but until then the only rational conclusion is that his claims of athletic prowess are not to be believed and by inference his claims as to the routes that he has climbed are substantially undermined.

If he can't name one belayer, one good witness, or indeed any other evidence then why should we believe the claims?

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#85 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:31:24 am
1hr 37 for the BH is very impressive, but not that outlandish I'd have thought if we assume something approaching Steck's ability to speed climb - and it's Steck that he was / is training to match not Huber. Not unreasonably from most people's point of view, Huber's approach as shown in the video was very steady and cautious, but then he wasn't training for speed climbing as far as I know. The climbing itself is well within both of their capabilities.

As someone who knows nothing about this - and let's face it that must go for many people including his sponsors - the claim that leapt out at me was the four minute mile. The runners posting on UKC found it hard or impossible to believe that such a result wouldn't have been recorded. Maybe that's what has tipped the balance?

Stu Littlefair

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#86 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:46:59 am
The second is that he's made extrodinary claims of athleticism which do not bear the slightest scrutiny.

Similarly with the boxing, as I understand it you have to be registered with the ABAE to box and there are records kept of all bouts for health and safety reasons as well as rankings.

If you have fought 16 fights I am sure you'd be able to name places, dates and your opponent.

The point is, your argument doesn't bear the slightest amount of scrutiny until *you* contact the ABAE and check that he isn't registered, or hasn't boxed, or lost his fights, or whatever. Otherwise your argument goes
  • this hypothesis is easy to verify
  • someone else hasn't verified it for me already
  • this hypothesis is false

Similar to the belayers; as a bare minimum you should check the belayers/witnesses named in this thread, before coming on the internet and saying that Rich can't produce a single belayer or witness for his climbs.

I'm all for subjecting extra-ordinary claims to scrutiny, but some of this thread is a witch-hunt by rumour and scuttlebut. At their worst, the threads about Ben Heason and Scotty were just as bad; it's what happens when the nasty side of crag gossip goes public, and it looks pretty unedifying.

Just to re-iterate; I'm completely fine with people discussing claims and evidence in public, but we should always remember we're talking about real people who actually give a shit, and err on the side of fact, rather than speculation.

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#87 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:47:19 am
How about we go back to basics and keep it fact based to find out we is factually known.

There are a lot of people here who know and have climbed with Simpson. Yes?

Who can give personal eye witness testimony of a successful ascent of an 8c or harder by Simpson ? Please

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#88 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 10:51:44 am
as an aside; that video of Huber on the Brandler-Hasse is the scariest thing I've seen in ages.  :o

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#89 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 11:04:31 am
His recent blog posts had ascents on them that a lot of people found hard to believe (these blogs have all now been removed unfortunately) but included achievements such as rope-soloing the Brandler-Hasse in the Dolomites in well under 2 hours. I think Alex Huber took 4 hours 20 minutes to free solo this route - unsuprising as it is one of the loosest 16 pitch complex limestone E5's you will find anywhere.

Hubers eyes on stalks... love it.

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#90 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 11:09:28 am
as an aside; that video of Huber on the Brandler-Hasse is the scariest thing I've seen in ages.  :o

 :agree:  solo-ing tottering choss. OK, its slightly (not much) better than tottering choss, but I wasnt inspired by the rock quality during my (puntering) Dolomite forrays...

More seriously, if he making things up then the only person he's cheating is himself! (now that he has resigned/lost his sponsors) What video/pictures I've seen of him in action are pretty inspiring (apart from the action direct wet dream sequence... which was cringeworthy) but they're just vids etc.. and I personally wouldnt feel cheated/let down if they were false... so - so what  :shrug:   in climbing if you make stuff up your'e only really lying to yourself at the end of the day...

Secondly, its possible he just couldnt be arsed with the sponsorship? My only brush with watching the hand of sponsorship in action was chatting to someone (un-named climber) at Almscliff who was 'having' to make some videos of some of the harder problems he'd done there with the name of his sponsoring bouldering mat manufacturer in prominent view. He'd rather not have done it, but the sponsors wanted their pound of flesh (which is fair enough). Perhaps RS just couldnt be bothered with the whole sponsorship shizzle now he was doing something different  :shrug:

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#91 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 11:13:13 am
Stu,

I wasn't suggesting that there was a syllogistic model that could deal with the matter, rather the following:

My reference was to the criminal trial process whereby the prosecution has to adduce sufficient admissible evidence to allow a jury to properly return a guilty verdict whereupon it is then for the defence to adduce evidence to refute that case or advance an 'excuse'.

In this matter the allegation (complaint) has been made and there's been more than sufficient evidence, even if circumstantial, to make out the allegation to the necessary degree.  There is nothing inherently 'bad' about circumstantial evidence and in some ways it would be surprising if there wasn't a preponderance of circumstantial as opposed to direct evidence in a matter such as this.

There is also a general presumption that, where a party can adduce evidence with great ease and the other party cannot reliably adduce that evidence or only with great difficulty then the onus on the party who can evidence the matter at issue becomes even greater than before.

Rich could answer the question in a short post with verifiable evidence.

As to the discussion being nasty and based on gossip and innuendo, that's a direct consequence of the fact that Rich Simpson set himself up as the inquisitor general and that the gossip and innuendo was used to advance the claims.  You can't have it both ways.

I'm sure these revelations and the discussion must be fairly devastating for him but let's remember this, he has the means to settle the critics within his gift. 

That he doesn't exercise this option might lead one to the inevitable conclusion that he has no means of answering the charge because it's true.

If we were talking about some minor embellishment (eg stating that the route was only worked for two days rather than a week and that's after a prolonged assault on a model in the cellar) then he might be considered to be exercising the 'today's news is tomorrows fish and chip paper' position but given matters generally I do not find that credible.


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#92 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 11:24:29 am
as an aside; that video of Huber on the Brandler-Hasse is the scariest thing I've seen in ages.  :o

you're not wrong. it's scary enough in the dolomites with gear etc. jesus.

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#93 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 11:32:17 am
Ok so here is an exerpt from UKCs badly researched article.


"With regards to the mile. It's been a lifelong ambition (I came from a running background). I'd previously run several miles under 4.05 minutes, but never broken the 4 minute barrier. I ran 3.58 whilst pace setting at the Alexandre Stadium (I was supposed to drop out after three laps, but felt strong so continued). Just a 2.30 marathon to go now, which I hope to do in New York this November."

The name of the stadium is the Alexander stadium it is the home of birchfield harriers (http://www.birchfieldharriers.net/news/)

I've rung them and they can find no record of a richard simpson running such times, there are results for richard simpsons aged 40+ and 20- and a Richard Simpson who ran half and full marathons (nothing exceptional though). To be fair they can't be 100% sure until the event is known (perhaps someone can ask rich this as its ruddy hard to find it out without asking him!)

http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/athleteslookup.aspx?surname=Simpson&firstname=&club=
This basically ties in with what power of 10 says

But they have no record of a richard simpson running a 4minute mile. Unless he ran that under someone elses name too
(http://www.birchfieldharriers.net/club/records/club-records-men/ maybe he ran it under the name of robbie harrison!!!)

So being as objective as possible, i'm not going to believe a 4minute mile claim when none of the story checks out at the minute, i'll try and find out the race type off someone

I've sent an email to someone who should be able to confirm whether Dai's entourage was at the crag or not, i hope they were.

If i was going to solo the brandler hasse quicker than huber (lets not forget Huber holds speed climbing records on el cap, can do mono front and back levers, and climbed the worlds first 9a+ and is just about the most accomplished big wall climber in the world) with less practice and a rope to slow me down i'd take a photo of my watch at the bottom middle and top, then you can pair the internal camera clock against the watch as pretty solid proof (granted you could alter the times on them but the sync would change slightly).

He must have been seen doing hubble evolution or stamina band PUTP, its the Tor there's nearly always someone there. I never seriously doubted any climbing ascents but if you're prepared to pad out the truth about being one of britains fastest runners then you'll have started somewhere.

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#94 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 11:56:21 am
Stu,

I wasn't suggesting that there was a syllogistic model that could deal with the matter, rather the following:

You can add as many long words to your post as you like, and it doesn't change the basics of what I wrote. If you want to adopt a trial analogy, before the trial even starts the prosecution has to amount sufficient evidence for the CPS to consider it worth going to trial. Note that the prosecution doesn't simply have to point out that the defence hasn't provided it for them.

And Rich's actions in the Heason debacle is absolutely no excuse for adopting the same behaviour in dealing with him. It's your own moral standards that should concern you, not his. Or, put more starkly, two wrongs don't make a right. Didn't your mother tell you that?

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#95 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 11:59:29 am
Some background for those of you wondering why this has come to a head recently, some background on the Hasse-Brandler.

The Cima Grande di Lavaredo is one of the six classic north faces of The Alps. Unlike the others, though, its is a huge overhanging pure rock wall rather than the mixed alpine terrain more typical of the Eiger or Matterhorn.

The first ascent of The Direttissima was in 1958, after many attempts and failures, and took four days of sustained hard aid climbing, and left 180 pitons in situ, plus bolts, wedges threads etc. The second ascent followed immediately, and added another 40 pitons. 

It wasn't climbed free until 1987, by a strong German team led by Kurt Albert. Over the next twenty years it became one of the most sought over free routes in The Alps. For a personal perspective by an 8c climber, see here. 

Dolomite limestone is inherently loose, friable - not your typical continental bolted limestone, more what the french call 'terrain d'aventure'. The route is not an obvious choice for free soloing.

Quote
On August 1 2002, I climbed the Direttissima (5.12a, 550m, Brandler-Hasse-Lehn-Low, 1958; FFA, Albert-Sprachmann, 1987) of the Cima Grande di Lavaredo free solo, with nothing more than climbing shoes, chalk bag and helmet. I started climbing at 7 a.m. and reached the summit after approximately four hours. The route is eighteen pitches long, with one pitch of 5.12, four of 5.11 and four of 5.10. I had spent six days on the route before my solo. The first time, I climbed the route onsight with Guido Unterwurzacher. I then trained on the route for five days with Michi Althammer until I knew the route and its difficult passages well and above all until I knew which holds I could trust in the not-always-solid dolomite typical of the Cime di Lavaredo.

The rock in the Dolomites is quite friable. Don't you feel that you are stacking up the odds when free soloing on such rock?

As the rock on the Direttissima is friable, I was forced to avoid many questionable holds and instead use many small but solid holds. This made the route harder than its normal grade. Even more, I had to climb three consecutive overhanging pitches in a row, with no rests, since that section is protected by hanging belays. This made the route significantly harder than its guidebook grade, 5.12a.

- Alex Huber, Germany

Huber's ascent included a twenty minute rest on a ledge below the crux section, where he calmed down from the inital pitches and considered whether to continue onto the irreversible crux pitches. Despite having 'spent six days on the route, studying the sequence of the most difficult sections and marking with chalk crucial holds', it still took four hours.

Simpson's account is here.
Quote
Approximately 1 hour 37 minutes later I arrived at the summit, having climbed the last five or six easy pitches in roughly twenty minutes

Removing the twenty minutes for the top six pitches leaves 1hr 17m for the other 12 pitches of sustained E2-E5 climbing - 6.41 minutes per pitch. In his own words, 'that pace is outstanding'.

So is Huber slow by nature? No, in '07, when he and brother Thomas held the speed record for the Nose at 2:45:45 (since broken twice, current 2:36:45, Leary/ Potter) working out that 'they ascended at an incredible rate of almost 6.1m per minute'.

Assuming only 25 metres per pitch on the Hasse-Brandler, Simpson was moving at speeds not dissimilar. On the crux three pitches he also had some ropework to contend with:

Quote
I threaded the rope through the belay anchor and tied into both ends; when arriving at the next anchor, Id untie one end and pull the rope through

Knocking off time for each pull-through, plus coiling and uncoiling ropes - say ten minutes total - leaves 67 minutes for 12 pitches. Lets say each pitch is 25 metres (Stu -  is that reasonable?) leaves him climbing at ~4 metres per minute.

Compare the videos of speed soloing on the Nose and Huber on the Hasse-Brandler, and consider the difference in speed. Why? Friable limestone is not an obvious choice for speed soloing; granite cracks are. Trying to climb fast on that rock is suicidal - even with the solid holds tick-marked.

Simpson's claim should have been the climbing news story of the year, and yet it has been ignored by every site or magazine in the world (except Climb). Why? Its simply not credible. 

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#96 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 12:16:57 pm
That's very persuasive JB, and could be seen as part and parcel of the generally incredible nature of the project that Simpson was setting himself - to turn himself from a rock climber into a speed alpinist. But just to ask:

I had assumed that Huber was most definitely not trying to speed climb the BH? In other words soloing it was enough of a challenge. Do we know? Everyone seems to be agreed Simpson is smart; how smart is it to claim to have more than halved the time of one of if not the best in the world?

Maybe an odd question to ask on a bouldering forum - but is speed climbing the BH (friable rock) any more crazy that speed climbing mixed north faces (Steck)?

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#97 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 12:20:39 pm

Maybe an odd question to ask on a bouldering forum - but is speed climbing the BH (friable rock) any more crazy that speed climbing mixed north faces (Steck)?

Why is it relevant?

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#98 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 12:21:44 pm
Johnny - 25m a pitch sounds reasonable. Only a few are longer than that; one is a long and very easy (Fr 4+) traverse. It's certainly gob-smackingly fast for that terrain.

With Rich, there's clearly a massive claimed ticklist of incredibly impressive achievements in many fields. I'd agree with both your characterisation of the Brandler-Hasse solo's importance, and the reason as to why the climbing press hasn't picked it up.

And of course, with Rich there's also the running, which doesn't seem to stack up, so I can see why people are dubious and want more proof. I understand that, totally. I still think going beyond a simple request for clarification, particularly in public, is unwise.

Even if he has told porkies about his running, or the Hasse, it doesn't necessarily mean that he hasn't done the other things, like A Muerte, AD, and Hubble. And it's still not established he has been dishonest about anything; for example I know several runners who run under assumed names, for a variety of reasons.

Hopefully some of the verifiable facts in this thread will firmly establish that Rich did indeed do Hubble and AD, as he was certainly capable of doing so.

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#99 Re: simpson vanishes...
November 08, 2010, 12:25:14 pm

Maybe an odd question to ask on a bouldering forum - but is speed climbing the BH (friable rock) any more crazy that speed climbing mixed north faces (Steck)?

Why is it relevant?

Presumably it's relevant because it's the Hasse solo that seems so incredible. But we believe Steck, don't we? So if speed soloing the Hasse is roughly equivalent in nutter-levels to running up the Eiger then it's at least a plausible level of crazy. Makes it easier to believe.

It's surely a hypothetical though, as I can't imagine anyone qualified to answer such a question...

 

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