Could Alex Honnold have climbed back down to escape?


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Arne Hendricks

Sport climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 7, 2019 - 06:02am PT
Saw the movie, found it pretty interesting to think about it, investigated further and wrote an article!

Hope you enjoy it :)

Also, would love to get some comments from you, feel free to post on the article or just here, to get the dicussion rolling :)

The Wastelands
Mar 7, 2019 - 06:21am PT
no, he could not have down climbed

Boulder climber
Mar 7, 2019 - 06:26am PT
If ever there was a "tiger by the tail" moment for all to witness.

Trad climber
Mar 7, 2019 - 06:27am PT
Not sure about Alex, but BURT BRONSON could...

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Mar 7, 2019 - 06:31am PT
BURT BRONSON would never down climb even though he could of course.


Ice climber
hartford, ct
Mar 7, 2019 - 06:58am PT
Alex apparently onsite downsoloed DOWT (6p 10b?) in Black Velvet canyon after soloing that steep crimpy thing to the left (prince of darkness?)

I found turkeys exciting enough with a rope going up!

That blew my mind.


Here it is.... 2010....

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 7, 2019 - 07:11am PT
No...and he would not have had to.

Mountain climber
Mar 7, 2019 - 07:18am PT
Scariest descent I ever saw was John Bachar skipping down the Water Cracks on Lembert Dome facing out from the wall after soloing a Face route !

Trad climber
Red Rock
Mar 7, 2019 - 08:51am PT
yes, before the boulder after?
doesn't he say in the film he went up half way and then down-climbed, because it didn't feel right?

Trad climber
La Crescenta, CA
Mar 7, 2019 - 08:56am PT
Somewhere thereís a vid of him freaking out on thank god ledge on HD and the camera man says to climb back to him and he has an extra harness for him. But Honnold clams down and climbs away.

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Mar 7, 2019 - 09:22am PT
^^ that was staged for the camera

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Mar 7, 2019 - 10:01am PT
Need shorts with full strength clip in master point. My chalk bag is on a piece of the asserory cord tied with a water knott. It has crossed my mind that in an emergency i could clip into my chalk bag cord. Not comfortable but not splat either.

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Mar 7, 2019 - 02:50pm PT
Likely not.
Highly unlikely the boulder problem is reversible without a lot of work, and maybe not even then.
But reversing the moves on the Freeblast slab would be very hard as well. Pretty unlikely that if he decided to stop above that, he'd want to risk downclimbing the slab.

Mar 7, 2019 - 04:14pm PT
Iím always trying to learn from my experiences.

And what Iíve learned so far is that it would be foolish for me to believe what my imagination tells me Alex Honnold is possible of, because he blew past that a while ago.

Go ahead and imagine that heís not possible of stuff if that suits you. But you might want to be prepared to be proven wrong sometime in the near future.

lawrence kansas
Mar 7, 2019 - 04:25pm PT
^ Does that mean in the near future he's gonna downclimb elcap? Suhweet!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 11, 2019 - 01:04pm PT
On the aborted first attempt, he grabs a sling down on Free Blast and calls it because the move was too sketchy. There were cameramen dangling all over the place, and he was able to get down with their assistance on that occasion. He didn't downclimb, he didn't have to.

He later went back while roped up and worked out an alternate series of moves for that sketchy bit.

BUT the crux of the climb - the Boulder Problem - was filmed with remote control camera. He didn't want a dangling cameraman there to distract him in any way. So if he were to have blown it there, no possibility to reverse as far as I know.

What always blows my mind is that he returned to the summit a few days later, to climb the final few pitches so the cameras could shoot him from different angles. "I'm wearing the same clothes, Pete...."

It didn't occur to me at the time what this required - rapping down in harness, disconnecting from rope, taking off harness, and soloing back up - yikes!

Mar 11, 2019 - 02:14pm PT
Right, like thatís the yikes thing about it. Like after having accomplished it and having free soloed it, why put yourself at more risk and tempt fate like that after you already accomplished what you set out to accomplish?

But his brain just works differently than that I think where itís just not necessarily that scary for him - where for him rapping down and taking off his rope and harness and giving fate a poetic second chance at chopping him after he already defied fate is just no big yikes. For him maybe thereís a range of ďrightĒ reasons to free solo, and free soloing to get some better shots is a good enough right reason for him to do it and to be successful at doing it.

But downclimbing the boulder problem??!! Yikes! To most of us. Maybe to all of us. Maybe.
the Fet

Mar 11, 2019 - 06:15pm PT
Like after having accomplished it and having free soloed it, why put yourself at more risk and tempt fate like that after you already accomplished what you set out to accomplish?

The last 3 pitches are 10d, 10d, 5.6.

Probably not much risk for him. Getting the killer helicopter shots was worth it.

Trad climber
Mar 11, 2019 - 06:28pm PT
he free soloed moonlight butt (2nd time march 2013 ) twice!

linked with shunes and monkeyfinger

not for a camera...for fun

yes he also went back and did it for a camera on el cap


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 12, 2019 - 08:06am PT
He could, as long as heís careful not to make the Tangerine, Trip!
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