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Free solo climbing is far and away the manliest and most reckless (see: manliest) sport in the world. It’s essentially just the name of walking up to a sheer rock face, saying, “Beat you to the top!” to either nobody at all or anyone insane enough to join you, then having at it. No ropes, no harnesses, no parachutes. A bag of chalk is pretty much the only accessory aside from rock climbing shoes that free soloers elect to don. You’re digging your own grave the entire way up to the summit with hopes of not winding up inside it when all’s said and done.
I consider every free solo climbing feat incredible no matter how small, but even free solo lifers are hailing what Alex Honnold just did in Yosemite National Park as probably the greatest accomplishment in the sport’s history.
From National Geographic:
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA—Renowned rock climber Alex Honnold on Saturday became the first person to scale the iconic nearly 3,000-foot granite wall known as El Capitan without using ropes or other safety gear, completing what may be the greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport.
He ascended the peak in 3 hours, 56 minutes, taking the final moderate pitch at a near run. At 9:28 a.m. PDT, under a blue sky and few wisps of cloud, he pulled his body over the rocky lip of summit and stood on a sandy ledge the size of a child’s bedroom.
I’m out here trying to lightly jog a total of a quarter mile throughout the course of a day without puking or passing out due to lack of hustle, and Alex is going double that, straight upwards, in under four hours — all while his life hangs in the balance. Unbelievable.
A short promo video for his momentous climb can be seen on Nat Geo here. To tide you over until that video comes out, here’s video of Honnold free soloing Mexico’s 2,500 foot Sendero Luminoso back in 2014.
Some call Alex Honnold’s work the stuff dreams are made of. I call it nightmare fuel.
I’m sticking to terra firma..
[via National Geographic]
Image via YouTube/The North Face