Alex Honnold tries to change focus

INTERVIEWS

Friday, 13 July

Alex Honnold has recently made several solo and speed ascents up on El Cap that already is part of the climbing history. Beside these scary challenges, he is also a world class boulderer and sportclimber and this is what will be his focus for the remaining of 2012. But just the other day he could not resist doing The Naked Edge, 6c in Eldorado Canyoning solo. 

(c) Sender Films - Reel Rock Tour
Which has been the best moments in life the last months? What is it that really turn you on?

Each of my big climbs in the last month have felt very satisfying for different reasons. The triple with Tommy and the Nose with Hans were both reminders of how great it feels to climb well with a good friend.

The solo triple was more about finding satisfaction in accomplishing something that pushed my personal limits. And then, soloing the West Face of El Cap was strictly about pure climbing in a spectacular setting. I topped out El Cap at 7:30am on a clear blue sky morning and hiked out for several hours through a beautiful forest. They each highlighted a different aspect of the climbing experience. 

What has been good and bad with all the media cirkus around you? 
One of the good things about all of the climbing media is that all of the people who I work with are personal friends. It makes it all just feel like a day of hanging out at the crag with your friends. Working with some of the more mainstream journalists can get tiring because it's hard trying to explain climbing over and over. But overall it is not so bad, but I'm certainly spending more time with it than I ever used to.

What are your next plans and projects for 2012? Are you finished with the scary things for a while now?
I think I'm probably done with scary things for the rest of the year, but you never really know. I'm planning on going to Rocklands in August and then on a North Face expedition at the end of the year. I'm attempting to shift my focus to hard free climbing rather than big link-ups and solos.

I'm not sure what sport/bouldering ambitions I have. I'm just trying to improve my climbing a bit. Still trying to find a purpose for it all.

What would you say to a potential son or daughter who are at your position?
It sounds really cliche, but I would tell them the same thing that my mom has told me: follow your dreams, but be careful. I don't really know what more to add, just do what you love to do but be careful. 

Do you ever do any specific training or do you just climb?
Generally I only rock climb, but I occasionally do opposition and core
exercises. However, I'm hoping to train in the gym for the next month to see if I can improve my finger strength. It never hurts to try something new.

What are your thoughts on grade inflation? In your scorecard you can
see many personal grade suggestions?
(Alex was one of the first guys to give personal grades of Kalymnos classics some years ago.)
I don't really worry too much about it, I just grade things however they feel to me. I leave it to more qualified climbers to determine what deserves a certain grade.

What kind of life do you hope to be living in ten years?
I hope to be doing virtually he same thing but maybe with a family or slightly more stability. I live this life because I love it; I doubt that will change in the next decade.


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