Alex Honnold


Wednesday, 5 October

"I respect the fact that 8a is normally all about safety, I can see how you wouldn't want to encourage kids solo climbing. But it's something I love to do."
Alex does it all: Solo, Sport, Trad, Multi-pitch, Bouldering etc
(c)James Lucas
Newsworthy is also that Alex several times have been the first suggesting a down grade sometimes after hundreds confirmation like on Kalymnos, see above. Later his suggestions have been accepted.
Alex Honnold
, #20 in the 8a Combined game and #1 as a trad climber, is today the most famous and active hard core solo climber in the world. 8a has a policy to not publish death potential ascents as this just might encourage youngsters to take a that short cut in order to make some headlines and possibly sponsorships.

However, as Alex is world famous it could be interesting to get to know some background and his thoughts about solo climbing.

When did you start climbing and when did you understand that you were a talent?

I started climbing when I was maybe 10 or 11. My parents took me into a local gym and I really enjoyed it. I didn't really start climbing outside until I was around 19.

I've never been much of a "talent", I just like to climb a lot. I've slowly gotten better at it, but I've never been a prodigy like Chris or Adam Ondra. I just try my best.

When did you start soloing and why?
I started soloing when I was 19 or 20. I'm not sure if there was any specific "why". I've just always been drawn to it; I've always just thought it was cool.

I had great respect for the Stone Masters in Yosemite and they sort of had a culture of soloing. And on a more practical note, I didn't know many climbers and I used to be really shy. So I would just climb by myself. There were a lot of reasons, but I just sort of found myself getting into it.

Have you ever been in a dangerous situation with no way back?
Hard to say. I've certainly been in serious situations but I've never really felt totally trapped I don't think. There's always some way out of it, even if that just means taking the whipper or something.

What would be your ultimate goal?
I don't know about goal, but an ultimate fantasy would be something like a 6b handcrack up a 2000m wall. It would be an amazing scramble. But my goals are constantly changing, and they're normally about
pushing my grades or climbing things that are hard for me.

Do you train or is it just climbing?
I pretty much just climb all the time. I try to do pushups and core in order to stay balanced and avoid injuries and all that, but I never really 'train'. I sometime think I should because it seems like the
best way to get stronger, but it's just not as much fun as going climbing.

What does your family and friends say about your soloing?
My parents/family don't really say too much about my soloing. I think they trust me to make good choices and not do anything too stupid. I'm sure they must worry a little, but honestly there's risk in all things
in life, you can't worry about everything.

What do you think about other people out there taking big risk soloing?
I've definitely climbed with some people who seem to be taking too much risk, but it's hard for me call someone out on that since it's like the pot calling the kettle black [if you know that saying, basically it means that I'd be a hypocrite].

I think everyone can judge for themselves just how far they want to push it. I know that when I watch someone who looks shaky but who goes for it anyway it makes me really uncomfortable. But it's their choice, and maybe they feel really solid, even though they look terrible. Everyone can make their own choices in life.

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