Alone vs single handedly

In the case of something like…

Does this get the implication across that the climber did this activity wholy unassisted?

Is this a sentence that you wrote? Was すべて一人 an attempt at translating the English “all alone”?

Also, I’m not sure I would grasp the distinction in English. Would “alone” not mean “without other people around” in mountain climbing?

Yes. I had seen several examples where ひとり is used to mean that somebody did something alone, implying a lack of other people.

I wasn’t sure if it could be used to mean that somebody did something unassisted.

In the context of climbing a mountain like Everest, it does matter. Climbing Everest is a fairly difficult undertaking that’s often done with the support of guides or in group expeditions. So climbing Everest alone would be seen as very noteworthy and a demonstration of skill.

1 Like

Right… But wouldn’t alone always be unambiguous there?

I’m not sure if it’s used in mountain climbing, but 支援なし is one way to say unassisted.

Solo climbing can be 単独登山


I think it works for both meanings, and I mean, if you do something alone, you have to do it singlehandedly. However, if you want to focus on the ‘herself/of her own ability’ dimension, I think something like 自分(じぶん)で would work.

By the way, I think ‘all alone’ in the sense of ‘as just a single person’ would be better captured with a phrase like たった一人で.


From what I’ve heard, there are standard routes up the mountain, and it’s possible to come across other people going up the same route at the same time even if they’re not part of the same expedition.
So it’s possible to be climbing Everest ‘without any assistance’ while not climbing Everest ‘without any other people around’ if that makes sense. Idk, I might be reading too much into it.


Was the question meant broadly, with Everest as an incidental example, or specifically, because you want to be clear in expressing something about a climb of Everest?

Climbing Everest is a very technical subject that presumably gets discussed with precise jargon.

If you just want to know how to use 一人 in everyday life, I agree with Jonapedia that it could be ambiguous.


Just my personal opinion here, but while I see your point, and I really didn’t consider the very real scenario you just raised… I think 一人で in such a context would suggest doing it without assistance? で is also the means particle, after all. Perhaps it’s not so much a matter of whether 一人で can be used as it is of how its meaning might change based on context, and in what cases it can’t be used.

Either way, I think it would definitely be helpful to know whether we should be focusing on the Everest context specifically. It does introduce quite a lot of circumstantial elements that might need consideration, after all. :slight_smile:

Side note: if we’re looking at the kanji used, then I suspect that 一人で would highlight the ‘one person’ aspect, whereas 独りで would highlight the ‘aloneness’ aspect.

1 Like

Yeah, I didn’t mean to say that 一人で was wrong, I was trying to point out that there is some possibility for nuance in this scenario. But like I said, I might be overthinking it.


Yup, and I didn’t think you meant that. Perhaps what I was trying to point out was that in that case (i.e. if someone’s using a common path, and others are present), context would eliminate the ambiguity? I have a feeling that I forgot what I was trying to say halfway through the post… :sweat_smile:

Hm… however, now that I think about it, if you didn’t know the specifics of the situation, then it really could go either way. I see why you used that example now. But yeah, I think that the word itself has both meanings, kinda like how ‘all by myself’ can mean ‘just me in complete solitude’ (e.g. ‘I’m all by myself’) and ‘with my own strength and nothing else’ (e.g. ‘I did it all by myself!’), so it’s really a matter of which aspect requires emphasis in context. That might also point us towards a more specific phrase.


Yeah, it’s pretty significant considering only 6 people have attempted solo climbs: three were successful, two died, one turned back at 7,350m.

If we’re talking pure solo all the way from base to summit, there’s only one: Reinhold Messner.

Give that context, that’s why I think the emphasis is the important part, because it’s the noteworthy bit, and why they added 全て. Well, he also did it 無酸素, but that’s kind of implied when solo since you can’t carry enough bottles by yourself.

I thought the sentence might be from Messner’s Wikipedia page, but couldn’t find it there.

That’s kind of what we do around here. :wink: