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The World’s Strongest Man Tried Rock Climbing. Here’s How it Went.

This week, force challenged finesse when Eddie Hall—who was dubbed World’s Strongest Man in 2017—went head to head on the rock wall with renowned climber Magnus Midtbø. As they quickly found out, brute strength isn’t everything. 

The physiological differences between the two men are striking. For one, Hall is more than twice Midtbø’s size: The strongman weighs about 370 pounds to Midtbø’s 154. Though for what Midtbø lacks in mass, he makes up for with his sense of humor about the disparity. 

“I’d offer to catch you [if you fall],” Midtbø laughs. “But I can’t.” 

And while Hall admits he’s new to climbing, he’s no stranger to climbing gear. 

“As a strongman, I used to pull trucks. And the best footwear for pulling trucks is climbing shoes,” he reveals, showing off a custom pair he’d purchased for a competition years ago. He also has his own liquid chalk, a staple for heavy lifting and gripping rocks alike.

While the gear (and his undeniable strength) served him well, Hall proved no match for Midtbø’s superior technique and years of experience. While the climber darted up the wall—sometimes using only his arms and leaving his feet dangling—Hall grunted and fell, turtling on the ground. 

“You make it look so fluid and effortless,” Hall says, gawking at Midtbø while wearing a GoPro on his head. Midtbø, meanwhile, zipped up a difficult sloper problem with widely spaced holds and tricky footwork. Hall got through a few moves, then jumped off, huffing and puffing. 

“That’s my limit reached,” he says. “Me grip’s gone…I’m just pumped. I can’t even close my hands hardly.” 

Lesson learned: Strength is important—but it sure isn’t everything when it comes to climbing.

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