Alex Honnold + Freerider
Let’s recap real quick, (Italics to emphasize how punny I am): Honnold has had a long relationship with El Cap in Yosemite National Park. As Kat Long, of National Geographic, said, he “didn’t wake up one morning and decide to make the first historic rope-free ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan.” He has free climbed El Cap, Half Dome, and Mount Watkins. He has climbed El Cap for 24-hours straight and holds the record with Hans Florine for speed climbing The Nose in 2:23:46. With each accomplishment, a simmering notion turned into a concrete goal: to free solo the 3,000-foot granite monolith, via Freerider.
He started training. He got to know the handholds “like friends.” He practiced mental preparedness, physical preparedness, and kept everything hush-hush. On June 3, 2017, he woke at 4:30 am, walked to the base, saw a bear running away in the early dawn light, and began the “greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport.” Three hours and 56 minutes later, he casually stood at the top of the summit. “I could go do another lap,” he told Mark M. Synnott.
“Why?” Many people ask. Maybe the answer is this simple: “The whole pursuit of this dream has allowed me to live my best life, that makes me hopefully the best version of me.”
Photo cred: Jimmy Chin