Leaps of Faith, Ropes that Bind — Dan Osman
This video of rock climber Dan Osman, speed climbing the Bear’s Reach route on Lover’s Leap with no ropes, hooks, or any other equipment, is energizing and inspiring:
(source: Masters of Stone IV, Eric Perlman Productions)
This performance seems simultaneously natural and unnatural… not impossible, but at the very edge of possible… the product of careful planning, practice and training, including some serious physical and mental conditioning. Watching this makes me proud to be a human being.
It’s great to see Dan Osman attack this challenge with confidence and resolve (“go, go, go..!”). He’s motivated to set a personal best with record timing, and he’s also having some fun and showmanship along the way. To be able to leap upwards on that rock face… it’s about having a passion for living life to the fullest… with no hesitation. As a colleague of mine noted, one gets the sense that if Dan Osman had ropes, they would only hold him back.
Well, as I was putting this together I discovered that this was only too true… tragically, Dan Osman died fifteen years ago due to a rope failing during an unplanned jump:
Depending on how the story is told, there are different messages. On one level, there is the simple acknowledgement of luck and statistical inevitability. Sooner or later, we all must go, and “DanO” kept pushing until his number came up. Some might tell this story as a late-1990’s heavy metal extreme sports version of Icarus — the hero who flew too high. There might also be a story about a momentary lapse in discipline and process (don’t leave ropes out for a month… test your jump angles… hindsight… hindsight…)… certainly Osman’s strict traditional Japanese father would have felt that way. On the other hand, there is also the message of quality of years and quantity of inspiration — he lived life to the fullest and helped many others do the same. Perhaps we must we admit that it’s a package deal, that the person who lives true to an ideal of facing into their fears is the same person who will continue to do so for as long as possible?
Fifteen years is a long time, and Dan Osman’s legacy has been carried forward by his daughter Emma, through this Facebook page…
..and this website: http://www.danosman.co/
Thank you DanO (and Emma) for sharing your story. I look forward to following it well into the future.