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ALEX HONNOLD

ROCK CLIMBER

 

Alex Honnold isn’t crazy, he just knows what he can and cannot do. And he can do a lot. He doesn’t play out worst-case scenarios when he’s clung to the wall, thousands of feet up with no rope. He replaces fear with a rare form of clarity. That clarity has led him to make free-solo ascents of some of the biggest walls in America and blaze new routes up cliffs around the world. Not that his humble attitude would ever allow him to brag about it. Through his epic big wall speed climbs and audacious free solos, Alex continues to push the boundaries of the impossible.

  • First ascent of the Fitz Traverse, Patagonia with Tommy Caldwell
  • Speed record on the Nose of El Capitan with Hans Florine – 2:23:51
  • Yosemite’s first “Triple Solo”: Mt. Watkins, Half Dome and El Capitan alone, in under 24 hours
  • First and only free-solo of the Moonlight Buttress, Zion National Park, UT –  5.12d, 1,200 feet
  • First and only free-solo of El Sendero Luminoso, El Potrero Chico, Mexico – 5.12d
  • First and only free-solo of the Northwest Face of Half Dome, Yosemite, CA – 5.12a, 2,200 feet

 

 

Why live a life that's perceived as mad?

To be honest, I’ve really struggled with this question because while I understand how some people might see my life as mad [The whole climbing without ropes thing. Or maybe the living in a car thing.] I’ve never personally seen it that way. And my friends and family have always been very supportive of my choices. Within my community this lifestyle of constant travel and non-stop climbing is perfectly normal. I don't really know anyone who doesn’t, so it’s pretty easy to forget that some folks might find it insane.

But just because some people might not see the appeal in climbing, sometimes unroped, up huge walls doesn’t change the fact that it is the most rewarding part of my life. I’ve devoted over 20 years to rock climbing, and before that my time was spent climbing trees and scampering onto roof tops. For me there is no greater pleasure than to struggle against gravity and pull myself up to a summit. Does it matter why I enjoy it so much?

Maybe that’s madness. But then everyone has their own madness. Everyone has their own unique passions and motivations. Just because mine are maybe a little more unusual doesn't change the fact that we each follow our own paths. Mine has taken me up many of the biggest walls in the world, and I find that incredibly fulfilling.

That’s enough for me. I’m leading a life that makes me happy and I can't ask for more than that. It doesn’t matter if other people can’t see the appeal. I don’t see the appeal in knitting or baseball but I respect the fact that some people devote their lives to each. Maybe they are the mad ones. Or maybe we all are.

#QuestionMadness