Alex Honnold

Posted by: TomD

Alex Honnold - 10/04/11 12:02 AM

If you want to see some amazing climbing, go to the CBS website and watch the 60 Minutes piece on Alex Honnold, the solo free climber. If watching him doesn't freak you out completely, you are a far braver person than I will ever be.

Check out his hands. That alone should do it.
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/04/11 07:31 AM

Very impressive isn't he! Like Bachar and Long before him (and lets not forget Lynn Hill who may have been THE best climber in the world at one time), Alex Honnold has the focus, the confidence, the decision making capacity to pull this off. He looks like a chameleon he is so smooth. These people are amazing athletes. However, I admit that this kind of stuff always makes my stomach grind. Check out Ueli Steck speed climbing the Eiger (in crampons of course) in 2 hrs 47 min. To me Alex H. seems to have it together...but I would hate to be his parents.

I have had some exposure to this before and can appreciate the commitment. In 1979, my old room mate did the first free solo of a 5.10c overhanging, offwidth, squeeze chimney in Squamish called Pipeline. Pretty low key about it too. I read about it in a climbing mag; it was a one liner at the bottom of some page. He is still around. In fact I went to the Winds with him recently.
Posted by: TomD

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/04/11 01:19 PM

I remember Lynn Hill (from magazine stories) and who was that French woman climber around the same time? Catherine Destivelle. (Thanks Google and Wikipedia). Trying to pick the "best ever" (a thread on Trailspace right now) seems impossible given different times and styles, but Honnold has to be right up there. The 60 Minutes story said he's done 1000 free climbs. Some are probably very short, but still, anything over about 25 feet could get you killed if you fell.

Todd Skinner was killed in Yosemite in 2006 when the belay loop on his harness failed, so even using ropes and protection is no guarantee of safety.
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/04/11 06:14 PM

Lynn Hill was (still is) one of my personal favorites. Her foot-work/technique was what I (once) aspired to. Creative, smooth, and strong.

Thanks for posting the interview and the climbing footage up. I don't watch TV too often any more and would have missed it. I love the part when they ask John Long what Alex's greatest accomplishment is, and he answers "that he is still alive". Really puts it in perspective. BTW Tom, did you look at "Dude: The quirky world of Alex Honnold" ?;listingLeadStories

Alex is obviously a very genuine person. But his vocabulary seems straight out of Bill and Ted's excellent adventure. The yin and yang of a climbing genius!
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/04/11 08:18 PM

A quality climber was killed not that long ago when a fairly large boulder fell, and hit and severed his rope. Basically a freak accident if you will. I think mountaineering can be worse. Some routes are just gambles period; people just think it won't be them. Good habits will always minimize the risk...and that is probably the best you can hope for.

The best of the best...I always have problems with this. Especially in sports like surfing and climbing. The equipment on both has helped propel people forward; shoes in particular for climbing. But you are always standing on the shoulders of the people who came before you. Those are the people who set the standards of what is and is not possible, and these standards become the training tools for the youth.
Posted by: Jimshaw

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/06/11 08:26 PM

I met Lynn hill on something like "pinnacles Day" at The Pinnacles climbing area in California of course. I probably shouldn't say anymore. She's very charming, but I've met better climbers. How can that be you wonder? I guess we all have good days and bad. One world class good day (or bad) and you're down in history, like the day it was 100 degrees and I finally made it up over the ceiling of the climbing gym and back down the other side. We all have the ability to do one finger pullup with practice. But the commitment required of someone like this, and don't forget Peter Croft too, is total. Something few modern people have. I like to free solo, but I stop at 5.9.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/06/11 10:39 PM

While my free soloing stops with easy Class 2!
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/19/11 01:16 PM

I was probably "parroting" something somebody told me about Hill being the best at that time. Never have really considered myself a climber; a surfer yes. But I have gone through stints of climbing activity and once I got to watch Lynn Hill climb some bouldering problem and what she was doing with her feet just hit me and I focused on using my feet more effectively. Currently I can climb low grade 5 with hiking boots and be fine (as long as its not raining). Its funny, but 5.5 fist cracks are easy with these boots on. Its almost like walking up really narrow stairs. 4th class is just fun. Bummer is that with the dog I can only do very short sections of 3rd class. Really, dogs are only good in up to 2nd class in any sustained lengths. It gets rough on Tica and she is my adventuring buddy most of the time.

Posted by: TomD

Re: Alex Honnold - 10/20/11 02:30 PM

Surfing is another one of those "who's the best" had to compare sports. The modern gear is so much better than the old school boards. Not really a surfer, but have friends who surf, so I know a little about it.

Surfing can kill you too-Mark Foo at Mavericks, among others.