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 31)
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

Alex 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] He is the author of Alone on the Wall, a collaboration with David Roberts that details his climbing exploits.


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] 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.[5] Honnold lives out of his van, enabling him to follow the weather and climb all the time.[6] 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.[5] 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.[5]

In 2010, Honnold was awarded the "Golden Piton" for his climbing achievements.[7] Journalist Lara Logan interviewed Honnold as part of CBS 60 Minutes program airing on October 2, 2011.[6] 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.[8] On June 17, 2012, the two set a new record of 2:23:51 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 an "atheist."[9] In 2012 he started the Honnold Foundation which "seeks simple, sustainable ways to improve lives world-wide".[10]

Selected notable climbs[edit]

Big Wall[edit]

  • Yosemite
    • Nose of El Capitan: Speed record with Hans Florine on June 17, 2012.[11] Time: 2:23:51[2]
    • Solo of Half Dome in 1 hour, 22 minutes. May 2012.[12]
    • Freerider in Yosemite Valley in one day in May 2007 when he was 21 years old.[13]
    • Solo of Yosemite Triple CrownMt. Watkins, El Capitan, and Half Dome - in 18 hours, 50 minutes ; free soloing 90% of the link-up.[12]
    • 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.[14]
    • Free solo of the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome on 6 September 2008.[15]
  • 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]


  • 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.[20]
  • Solo
    • Free solo of Heaven (5.12d) and Cosmic Debris (5.13b) in 2014 in Yosemite National Park[23]
    • Free solo of The Phoenix, the USA's first 5.13a.[24]
    • 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.[25]
    • First ascents of The Rainbow Arch (5.12+, toproped) and multiple small towers (free solo) in the Ennedi Desert, Chad, in 2010.[26][27]



  1. ^ "Honnold's Biggest, Baddest Solo Yet". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  2. ^ a b c "New Nose Record - 2:23:51 (Florine and Honnold)". Mountain Project. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Alex Honnold". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "JRE #319 - Alex Honnold, Brian Redban". Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Alex Honnold - Athlete profile". 2011. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "The ascent of Alex Honnold". 27 December 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "2010 Golden Piton Awards". Climbing. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "El Capitan record attempt likey (sic) has to wait". Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2012. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived January 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "About — Honnold Foundation". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  11. ^ Mary Anne Potts. "Climbers Alex Honnold and Hans Florine Claim Speed Record on the Nose, El Cap – Interview". Beyond the Edge. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Bacon, Sean (6 June 2012). "Honnold's Biggest, Baddest Solo Yet". Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  13. ^ Luke Bauer (2007-10-30). "Honnold'S Yosemite Year: A Free-Climbing Extravaganza". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  14. ^ "Alex Honnold free solos two big wall classics in a day | Rock Climbing Articles". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  15. ^ Erik Lambert (2008-09-09). "Updated: Honnold Free Solos Half Dome 5.12". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  16. ^ [2] Archived November 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Honnold Rapid-Fires Two Desert-Crack Testpieces". Archived from the original on October 18, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  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. ^ "Honnold Free Solos Squamish's University Wall". Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  20. ^ a b "GLOBAL". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  21. ^ "Alex Honnold Gets the 2nd Ascent of Ambrosia. - Rock Climbing & Bouldering Articles". 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  22. ^ "Alex Honnold: Too Big to Flail". Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "More Solos In Yosemite By Alex Honnold – Updated | Climbing Narcissist". 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  24. ^ [3] Archived June 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ "Alex Honnold climbing interview -, climbing, News, mountaineering". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  26. ^ Gwen Cameron (2011-07-20). "Chad's Ennedi Dessert: A Google Earth Adventure". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  27. ^ "2010 - Ennedi Desert, Chad Climbing Expedition". 2010-12-03. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  28. ^ "Borneo Big Wall". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  29. ^ Roy, Adam (2009-06-19). "First ascent attempt of a massive big wall in Borneo". Matador Network. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  30. ^ "The mother of all traverses: The Fitz Traverse. :: SuperTopo Rock Climbing Discussion Topic". Retrieved 2016-01-04. 

Notable videos[edit]

External links[edit]