Rock Climber Completes the Most Dangerous Rope-Free Ascent Ever

Alex Honnold becomes first climber to free solo El Capitan.

June 5, 2017 2:19 pm
Rock climber Alex Honnold
Rock climber Alex Honnold completes a 3,000-foot rope-free climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on June 3, 2017. The historic event was documented for an upcoming National Geographic feature film and magazine story. (Jimmy Chin/ National Geographic)

Renowned rock climber Alex Honnold scaled to new heights—both literally and figuratively.

Honnold became the first person to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without using ropes or other safety gear on Saturday.

Many are calling it the greatest feat in sports history.

The first ever “free soloing” of the 3,000-foot climb was accomplished in 3 hours and 54 minutes.

So stoked to realize a life dream today 🙂 @jimmy_chin photo

A post shared by Alex Honnold (@alexhonnold) on Jun 3, 2017 at 7:12pm PDT

The 31-year-old death-defying rock climber began his ascent just after 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning, dressed in his favorite red t-shirt and cutoff nylon pants, National Geographic reported.

Honnold had trained in secrecy around the world — China, Europe, Morocco and the United States — for more than a year.

This was Honnold’s second attempt at the epic free solo achievement. This past November he tried but backed off less than an hour into the climb because the conditions did not feel right at the time.

El Capitan is considered by many to be the epicenter of the rock climbing world. It stretches higher than the world’s tallest building. It has been dubbed the “moon landing” of free soloing. There have only been two other people who publicly said they seriously considered climbing it, according to National Geographic.

The route Honnold took up the wall is “a zigzagging odyssey that traces several spidery networks of cracks and fissures, some gaping, others barely a knuckle wide.” Positioning a foot too high or too low could mean the difference between life and death.

“I was pretty much elated,” Honnold said of reaching the top in a telephone interview Sunday with The Associated Press. “I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s something that I thought about for so long and dreamed about and worked so hard for. I mean, it’s pretty satisfying.”

Once the announcement was made, people took to social media to congratulate Honnold.


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