Alex Honnold

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Alexander J. Honnold
Alex Honnold - Trento Film Festival 2014.JPG
Alex Honnold at the Trento Film Festival (2014)
Personal information
Born (1985-08-17) August 17, 1985 (age 29)
Education UC Berkeley (dropped out)
Occupation Professional rock climber
Climbing career
Type of climber
Highest grade
Known for

Big Wall Free Soloing

Speed record on The Nose of El Capitan

Alexander J. Honnold (born August 17, 1985) is an American rock climber best known for his free solo ascents of big walls. He has broken a number of speed records, most notably the only known solo climb (mostly free climbing with a few points of aid) of the Yosemite Triple crown, an 18 hour 50 minute link up of Mount Watkins, The Nose, and the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome.[1] He and Hans Florine are the current record holders for the Nose with a climb time of 2:23:51.[2] Honnold says that he likes tall, long routes and that he tries to do them quickly.[3]


Honnold was born in Sacramento, California. He started climbing when he was 11 years old. Upon graduating from the Mira Loma High School with a 4.7 GPA,[4][5] he matriculated to the University of California Berkeley to study engineering. However, at the age of 19, he dropped out of school and has since devoted all his time to climbing. Between climbs, he runs or hikes to maintain fitness.[6] Honnold lives out of his van, spending less than a thousand dollars per month, enabling him to follow the weather and climb all the time.[7] Honnold prefers big walls and sport climbing, but enjoys any climb calling for extreme commitment, Yosemite being his favorite area because of its impressive walls and favorable weather.[6] Honnold is inspired by such noted climbers as Peter Croft, John Bachar and Tommy Caldwell, and even more so by the stark simplicity and beauty of El Capitan.[6]

In 2010, Honnold was awarded the "Golden Piton" for his climbing achievements.[8] Journalist Lara Logan interviewed Honnold as part of CBS 60 Minutes program airing on October 2, 2011.[7] In November 2011, Honnold and Hans Florine missed setting the record time on the Nose route on Yosemite's El Capitan by 45 seconds with a time of 2:37.[9] On June 17, 2012, the two set a new record of 2:23:46 on that same route.[2] Honnold is an avid reader, with interests in classic literature, environmentalism, and economics. When asked about his religious or spiritual views, he described himself as a "militant atheist." [10]

Selected notable climbs[edit]

Big Wall[edit]

  • Yosemite
  • Utah
    • Free solo of Zion's Moonlight Buttress on 1 April 2008.[16]
    • Bushido and Hong Kong Phooey, in Utah, between 9 and 11 March 2008.[17]
  • El Potrero Chico
    • Free-soloed the Grade V big-wall route El Sendero Luminoso (5.12d) in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. The climb rises 1,750 feet up the limestone face of El Toro (The Bull), and sports 15 pitches--11 of which are rated 5.12. Honnold climbed the route in a mere three hours.[18]
  • Squamish
    • Free solo of Squamish's University Wall. He is the first person to completely free solo this wall.[19]


Single Pitch[edit]

  • Sport
    • The Green Mile: 8c+(5.14c). Alex Honnold's most difficult sport climb on a rope at the Jailhouse crag near San Francisco.[23]
  • Solo
    • Free solo of Heaven (5.12d) and Cosmic Debris (5.13b) in 2014 in Yosemite National Park[24]
    • Free solo of The Phoenix, the USA's first 5.13a.[25]
    • Repeats of Parthian Shot, New Statesman, Meshuga (solo), an on-sight of Gaia (and subsequently repeated it solo), and an on-sight solo of London Wall during a trip to England at the end of 2008.[26]
    • First ascents of The Rainbow Arch (5.12+, toproped) and multiple small towers (free solo) in the Ennedi Desert, Chad, in 2010. [27][28]


Notable videos[edit]


  1. ^ Honnold's Biggest, Baddest Solo Yet from
  2. ^ a b c [1]
  3. ^
  4. ^ "JRE #319 - Alex Honnold, Brian Redban". Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Alex Honnold - Athlete profile". 2011. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. 
  7. ^ a b The ascent of Alex Honnold from
  8. ^
  9. ^ El Capitan record attempt likely has to wait from
  10. ^ TE Exclusive: Alex Honnold Talks About Why He Does What He Does from
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b Honnold's Biggest, Baddest Solo Yet from
  13. ^ Honnold'S Yosemite Year: A Free-Climbing Extravaganza from
  14. ^ Alex Honnold free solos two big wall classics in a day from
  15. ^ Updated: Honnold Free Solos Half Dome 5.12 from
  16. ^ Honnold Makes a High-Stakes Solo in Zion from
  17. ^ Honnold Rapid-Fires Two Desert-Crack Testpieces from
  18. ^ Parker, Chris (16 January 2014). "Honnold Free-Solos the 1,750-Foot El Sendero Luminoso (5.12d)". Rock and Ice. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Alex Honnold Gets the 2nd Ascent of Ambrosia from
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ More Solos in Yosemite by Alex Honnold from
  25. ^ Free solo of Phoenix and CH from
  26. ^ Alex Honnold climbing interview from
  27. ^ [2] from Alpinist
  28. ^ [3] Mark Synnott's Climbing Expeditions
  29. ^ [4] Borneo Dispatches
  30. ^ [5] Matador Network
  31. ^ [6] from

External links[edit]