Alex the free solo climber. Yosemite climber rescued by star Alex Hannold

Yosemite climber rescued by star Alex Hannold

alex the free solo climber

It was before El Cap, when he was a precocious climber but not yet a transcendent one. We are in a Subaru station wagon. I climb halfway up the ladder to peer into the loft. More than scared, he was pissed, embarrassed that he had to be rescued. Two years after he became the first to climb the 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without a rope or any protective gear, a terrifying and mesmerizing feat that garnered an Oscar and a lifetime of corporate speaking gigs, as well as a reputation for being indifferent to death, Alex Honnold is talking about summiting a loft, in a beautiful new house he shares with his beautiful longtime girlfriend -- not alone or desperate or driving to his next perilous climb in his signature white van.

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'Free Solo': How filmmakers avoided killing Alex Honnold as he climbed

alex the free solo climber

There, Honnold had to hold onto grips facing down and out — practically pushing him off the face. He exercises every day, and spent three months training specifically for El Capitan, spending extra time on the hardest sections. He insists he fears just like everyone else -- if, say, a crocodile entered his house, he'd freak out -- but he's spent so much time alone on cliffs that any anxiety is contained. Honnold said he told stories to distract Harrington and to keep her awake during the two hours they waited for the rescue team to arrive. If you didn't, the film was more than a breathtaking study of what can be accomplished when the body and mind silence the fear of fastening yourself to millimeters of dimpled granite thousands of feet in the air.

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Alex Honnold is Engaged to His Wife

alex the free solo climber

His shout echoes around the valley. On Saturday, the possible finally became reality. He is a 33-year-old rock climber who recently rose to fame after climbing the world's most famous rock face, El Capitan, without any ropes, a style of climbing known as free soloing. And so that pretty much necessitates living in a car. He knows he's delivering climbing gear, but he doesn't appear to know to whom -- that it's, you know, the Free Solo guy. Using regular clothes, climbing shoes, and a bag of chalk, Honnold monkeys his way up impossible looking climbs.

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Free Solo Climber Alex Honnold Ascends Yosemite's El Capitan Without a Rope

alex the free solo climber

He kept obsessive daily notes of each stage of El Cap, committing each pivot to memory. Other zones required him to climb up stretches so flat that they offered no hand grip at all, 600 feet in the air, requiring foot smearing. The documentary movie was, in a way, a show of an extreme athlete, hell-bent on doing the one thing he always dreamed of. Honnold displayed his own version of the traits possessed by so many transcendent athletes -- the mix of ambition, ruthlessness, insecurity, selfishness and self-confidence required to go it alone. Alex free solo climbed the 3,000-foot vertical wall, the first person in the world to do so.

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Yosemite climber rescued by star Alex Hannold

alex the free solo climber

Sanni is at the counter on her laptop. He stands in front of the board and maneuvers his fingers onto the 6 mm ledge, holding on by half a knuckle. But I'm also a father -- and this means I am no longer allowed to die. People watch Free Solo and are like, 'I can't believe you did that thing. It's beautiful and impressionistic, all of the cracks and shadows perfectly detailed, staring at him as he lies in bed, daring him to try. He might have made a decent competitive swimmer, he thinks, only because he hates water so much that he'd hustle to get out of it.

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WATCH: Alex Honnold Talks to Girlfriend About Dangerous Climb

alex the free solo climber

Alex Honnold is one of the best and most inspiring free climbers of the current climbing generation. Such was the attitude of an Austrian alpinist named Paul Preuss, considered by climbing historians to be the father of free soloing. The Honnold House isn't his first house. Climbers are motivated by the exhilaration of success, with the thrill of the void luring them in to climbing hard routes un-roped and close to their limit. We're in his driveway, waiting for a delivery truck. Honnold woke up this morning grumpy. We've got a few hours to kill.

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How Alex Honnold free solo climbed Yosemite's El Capitan

alex the free solo climber

Honnold spent a year choreographing thousands of precise moves to get through a gantlet of physical and nerve-testing challenges. He was scared of El Cap during most of Free Solo, after all. And be relatively comfortable as I do it. Sanni looks too, over his shoulder, as they scan notes below the El Cap entry, stuff he didn't want me to see. Now all that was left was to rest and prepare mentally for the climb of his life. The deliveryman mentions he was a climber back in the day.

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