CLIMB and PUNISHMENT- An Open Telegram to Alex Honnold


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Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Apr 8, 2010 - 10:42pm PT
I saw Alex unroped up on Half Dome last Friday when the Banff Film Festivel came to Bishop. It's been a long time since watching someone climb gave me the creeps like this did.

The doubters might ponder the following:

"And don't criticize what you can't understand." - Bob Dylan
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 8, 2010 - 10:53pm PT
Liking Eric Beckís (old friend) comment just above.

As a soloist, you are completely on your own calendar. Especially if others arenít keeping track of your every move as some are with Alex. When someone starts writing poetry about your theoretical and vastly hideous demise on a route you donít even plan to unrope ever, it surely doesnít have a place in your worldview and such a purview (Ed's) is actually creepier than the horror of watching you unroped 1,000 feet out. You climb, you are in your hay-days of youth with no dependents and at the opening of your adult life, you truly truly know what you are doing and at times just go out and express yourself in these pieces of great virtuosity with the angels.


Gym climber
Apr 9, 2010 - 03:45am PT
"Be safe," the kiss of death? Excellent poem, but a tough mark. I'm with PH: in the abstract it could have been not so personal and as powerful as velvet.

Apr 9, 2010 - 07:19am PT
Mr. Drummond has manipulated us, egregiously.

But I suppose embarassment is a small price to pay for something like Roger's superb Monty Python bit.

It is an ill wind that blows no one any good.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 9, 2010 - 08:01am PT
Yeah, Joe... I wonder. Does the whole arrangement just ratchet up several notches, all things seeming the same --- 5.11 is the new 5.8??---or is there something much wilder going on, when the top grade goes from 5.11 to 5.15? It is hard to believe that 5.11 could seem like the 5.8 of 1972, but then again if you have watched 5.11 being dispatched by top climbers today, it really does look like the person is doing 5.8!

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Apr 9, 2010 - 08:04am PT
wind is ill when it is still.
movement ignites search which leads to change,
and growth prevails.

for the youth not to stretch upheld and stagnant standards according to his neon dreams, a surrender to complacency must take place.

"stand still alex. curb your dreams. betray your path because of my fears."

pooey. let thrive that boy.

Social climber
los angeles,ca
Jun 3, 2011 - 08:14pm PT
hi ed

i was thinking about your epic 'first ascent' of the statue of liberty.

did you summit? and if so, who topped out first you or stephen?

rip: Elmer 'Geronimo' Pratt


Trad climber
Jun 3, 2011 - 08:24pm PT
Find an old copy of I can't remember which issue of Ascent and read "Mirror Mirror" by Mr. Drummond. Fantastic stuff. i don't feel his comments were out of line...seemed like good advice to me. But Alex is the master of his own ship, sailing on an ocean I can't fathom.

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Jun 3, 2011 - 08:37pm PT

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jan 20, 2014 - 06:47am PT
Well, it's-been-three-years-and-he-still-hasn't-soloed-El-Cap bump.

Jan 20, 2014 - 09:58am PT
Said upthread:
"There are two kinds of climbers, BOLD climbers or OLD climbers, not both."

I disagree as I see plenty of both still around. The list of old bold climbers would be very long. A few have posted upthread, some don't even speak english, plenty of Euros who would fill the bill of being old and bold. What is old anyway? Is Peter Croft old yet at mid 50's+ or so?

(ps, way to stir up a shitstorm again Randisis LOL)

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Jan 20, 2014 - 10:33am PT
I know what kind of free-solo underwear he wears!


Dave Kos

Social climber
Jan 20, 2014 - 12:58pm PT
BTW, is it still possible to send a telegram these days, one that's not delivered by a stripper?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jan 20, 2014 - 01:01pm PT
No Dave, not at all, but there is the option of gender, finally.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Jan 20, 2014 - 01:08pm PT
Like it or not, ill bet that OP is something we all THINK down deep.

We have all lost great friends in this pursuit. Facts hard to ignore fully. I pray AH has a long and fruitful life. Hes a natural climber- a club of few. But in that club comes very high odds.

Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 20, 2014 - 01:36pm PT
Writing a manifesto is a bit excessive, IMHO.

Worrying about another human being is in our nature.

While I am in awe hearing about Honnold's solos, I can't help the unpleasant feeling in my stomach. Maybe because I have too much imagination. Or I am afraid to solo myself. I don't know. It is not because I envy him, though.

I wouldn't try to convince him to stop. He is a smart guy and knows the risks better than me. Hell, I took grave risks in my life because of the lack of experience. That for sure is not the case here.

Long live Honnold, use your brain and don't listen to our speculations.


Romans 5:8
Jan 20, 2014 - 01:40pm PT
All I got to say is, "TENSION"!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Jan 20, 2014 - 01:44pm PT
Dano sometimes thought he should slow down, and that included the last week of his life. He had fully admitted he was "pushing his angels". The week before he died, he called me and wanted to start hunting again - and wanted to arrange a turkey hunt. Years before his death i told him i was worried id wake up someday with his name in the headlines and not in a good way. But for that one last jump...

So there is real reason for concern of these natural born climbers. Yet they also demonstrate a purity within our lil game that cant be surpassed.
the Fet

Jan 20, 2014 - 01:50pm PT
As an acquaintance of Alex I know him a little and I doubt he will ever read this thread. He is better than most about not wasting time looking at screens.

I don't blame people for throwing out warnings, I think it's good for people to speak their mind and share their experience. And I think the message stands repeating because it's easy to get caught up in things and get carried away and do something you shouldn't do.

However Alex has an excellent grasp of what he is doing and a great head on his shoulders. I doubt he'd do something he wouldn't do if the cameras weren't rolling.

It will be interesting to see where his climbing career goes. He has huge talent, motivation, and is very smart. The big free solos naturally are limited in number. It's wasn't surprising in a way that one of his next huge accomplishments was the triple crown. Not pure free soloing, but using that talent to pull off the next step in rock climbing. Not surprising that it was his next step, but very surprising that a human could accomplish that. I can't even fathom hiking to the top of those three formations in a day.
Jeff Gorris

Not from, Portlandia
Jan 20, 2014 - 01:57pm PT
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