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
Known for
  • 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]

  • Speed record on Nose of El Capitan with Hans Florine. Time: 2:23:51[2]
  • Freerider in Yosemite Valley in one day in May 2007 when he was 21 years old.[11]
  • Bushido and Hong Kong Phooey, in Utah, between 9 and 11 March 2008.[12]
  • Solo of Yosemite Triple CrownMt. Watkins, El Capitan, and Half Dome - in 18 hours, 50 minutes ; free soloing 90% of the link-up.[13]
  • Free solo of Heaven (5.12d) and Cosmic Debris (5.13b) in 2014 in Yosemite National Park[14]
  • Second ascent of Ambrosia ; repeat of Kevin Jorgeson's highball boulder problem Ambrosia (V11) in Bishop, California.[15]
  • Free solo of The Phoenix, the USA's first 5.13a.[16]
  • Free solo of Astroman and Rostrum in Yosemite Valley in one day in September 2007, becoming the second person after Peter Croft (1987) to do so.[17]
  • Free solo of Zion's Moonlight Buttress on 1 April 2008.[18]
  • Free solo of the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome on 6 September 2008.[19]
  • Solo of Half Dome in 1 hour, 22 minutes. May 2012.[13]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.[21]
  • The complete traverse of the Fitz Roy massif in Patagonia. Completed over five days with Tommy Caldwell in February 2014. [22]

Notable videos[edit]


External links[edit]