How Nuts Is This Rock Climber Who Scaled El Capitan Without A Rope?


Simply put, Alex Honnold is insane.

Listen, I don’t know crap about rock climbing, much less what constitutes a really impressive climb versus a somewhat impressive climb. Anyone who climbs anything high is nuts, as far as I’m concerned.

But when I read Honnold, who I wouldn’t be able to pick out of a police lineup, climbed El Capitan — a big ass rock in Yosemite National Park — without any safety gear Saturday, I couldn’t help but marvel.

Seriously, think about how insane this S.O.B. must be to scale a 3,000-foot granite wall without as much as a rope. Total wacko, right?

National Geographic basically confirmed my suspicions by describing Honnold’s recent climb, which took 3 hours, 56 minutes, as the “greatest pure feat of rock climbing in history.” In other words, of all the crazy bastards who climb crazy rocks that reach crazy heights, Mr. Honnold is the craziest.

Honnold is the first person to ever climb El Capitan without using ropes or other safety gear, which is wild enough, but consider this description of the route he took to reach the peak, via National Geographic:

It is a zigzagging odyssey that traces several spidery networks of cracks and fissures, some gaping, others barely a knuckle wide. Along the way, Honnold squeezed his body into narrow chimneys, tiptoed across ledges the width of matchboxes, and in some places, dangled in the open air by his fingertips.

I’m lucky I can climb a fence or do a pull-up, and here’s this guy dangling from his ‘tips hundreds — even thousands — of feet in the air. How did he not dump his drawers?

“It felt much less scary than a lot of other solos I’ve done,” Honnold told National Geographic in his first interview after Saturday’s climb.

Still, perhaps my favorite response from Honnold was when the 31-year-old was asked how he felt at the start of his climb and he said, “Not perfect. Maybe I didn’t drink enough yesterday.”

You and me both, pal.

Click to read Honnold’s complete Q&A >>

Thumbnail photo via YouTube screengrab

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