I am in LOVE with Shenandoah Nat'l Park. Absolutely LOVE IT. So much in fact when I was on my way out of the Navy in 2011 I spent the last few weekends driving the 4 hours one way just to go climb and enjoy the scenery. I took as many people as would come with me. We would shoot videos and do some good beginners climbs for the new guys. While we worked off of Little Stony Man mountain I often looked at it and said to myself "I could do this with no ropes..."
Saying it once in my head was all it took. A few more trips up there and I finally said to my buddy Smitty. "I'm gonna do Little Stony as a Freeclimb." Now, I was already two everclear drinks into the evenings dinner, so Im sure he was chalking this up to one of my drunken delusions. When we got to the cliffs the next day and standing on the top. He said, "No way, I cant see the bottom, Im not climbing today."
The fog had rolled in and was blocking the view to the bottom approx 120' down. That just added more fuel to my fire.
I decided to rappel down and check out the holds on my way down.. worst case scenario I would climb using an autobelay and just do the freeclimb another time.
We were planning on shooting a skit video at the South River Falls involving some Thrift Store Three Piece Suits and a waterfall, so time was of the essence.
I rapped the 120' face down to the bottom and waited for Smitty to come down the trail and meet me. When I got to the bottom I got my mind right and decided I was going for it.
Smitty walked up and started filming.. the rest is history...
I will note that Smitty said "I stopped watching you halfway, I figured I would just hear the meat smack the ground if you fell."
Did I mention it was raining that morning?