Alex Honnold Discusses Free Soloing El Capitan, and What He’s Been Up to Since

Free solo climbing is the act of climbing without the use of a rope or harness – of any sort. And ASN had the chance to speak with Alex Honnold, the man who recently free solo climbed El Capitan.

Located in Yosemite and standing a whopping 3,600 feet above the ground (7,569 feet above sea level), El Capitan is one of the most difficult climbs on the planet (and is only conquered by the very best climbers in the world).

Here’s what Honnold had to say about this monumental feat.

How long have you wanted to free solo climb El Capitan for?

When I first looked at El Cap eight years ago, I thought that it could be possible. Two years later, so six years ago, I started free soloing parts of it and soloing it (solo climbing includes ropes and harness, free solo climbing does not).

Fast forward to the day I did it and I was very comfortable with my route.

Was there any doubt at all?

No. On the day I did it, I was 100-percent confident and comfortable. It was all just a matter of going up there and executing. I couldn’t have been more prepared.

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Honnold in action … Photo: Courtesy of Jimmy Chin/North Face

What are some uncontrollable factors that you have to be conscious of?

Things like ice and birds that fly really close to you. If you look at the film, you’ll see some birds flying but none of them got in my way or caught me off-guard because even if they do end up flying right in front of me, it’s pretty normal and I’m very used to it.

Everything went perfectly that day.

What have you been up to since that day?

A few things. I’m working on some climbing projects – Last winter, I went on an expedition to Antarctica. Other than that, I’ve just been soloing here and there. Just climbing and living, really …

I’ve also put a lot more time into my foundation, the Honnold Foundation.

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The man himself. Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Tell us little more about the Honnold Foundation.

My belief is that if you want people to care about the environment, you have to lift them out of poverty first. Meaning, if I want to improve the environment, I have to improve peoples’ standard of living first.

The Honnold Foundation envisions a world where all people have equal access to opportunity and live in balance with the environment. We award grants to bold and ethical organizations that drive innovation in the solar industry. In fact, we believe solar to be the best solution to global energy poverty.

One of our most notable partners is with the Solar Energy Foundation. They actually introduced a pay-as-you-go financing system for solar energy systems in Africa. Since their founding in 2006, they’ve trained 65 technicians, provided solar lights to 160 school, 53 health centers, sold over 30,000 solar lighting products throughout Ethiopia and a lot more.

This film is sure to blow you away. Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Be sure to check out additional information and premiere dates of Alex Honnold’s feature film, ‘Free Solo.’

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