honnold again

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murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 25, 2013 - 08:53pm PT
I pitched off a small bulge after breaking some inopportune holds and managed to self-arrest on a small tree smashing my knee and impaling one arm.

http://www.sportiva.com/live/live-archive/climbing-archive/alex-honnold-what-a-day
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 25, 2013 - 09:16pm PT
Wow, so much to say to Alex, so much. But not here. Well, just a bit:

Great send. Talk to you on the bridge, buddy, or see you on the wall. I'll be the guy in the portaledge with the pigs you pass.

I still have your flash drive, gotta remember to load it with the photos of your mom in the Meadows during your Nose speed record, and give it back to you - sheesh.

You can write me through this website or catch me via Facebook.

Cheers, mate.
I'm in Yosemite towards the end of May.
khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Apr 25, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
I could write several different essays about the day; itís given me a ton to think about. One would be how funny it is that climbing media didnít even touch the story and that no one seems to care about it. oloing Astroman and the Rostrum in 2007 generated all kinds of news and video bits. This Zion link up, which is infinitely harder and more cutting edge, doesnít get mentioned. Thatís what I get for soloing too much.


Is that a tiny violin I'm hearing?
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Apr 25, 2013 - 09:52pm PT
He is such a great climber. Unfortunately he is not appreciated enough and it apparently affects him. I hope he is not trying to out do himself. Just thinking about somebody free soloing .12 face scares me. Holds do break, even if you are Honnold.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Apr 25, 2013 - 10:12pm PT
Sick send Alex! Don't worry about the mags. Remember why you started climbing.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 25, 2013 - 10:15pm PT
Khanom, Alex is not playing his tiny violin here, please. He is merely pointing out that a much more radical achievement ended up being much more obscure; it's a sardonic view on mass media, is all. Imagine what his life is like now. It must at times approach ďThe Gong ShowĒ of his loathing and here again, he sees more of the absurdity that surely surrounds us all.

He is a good writer and I bet a great one soon. And he is so prolific too and easy with it.

We are awfully lucky to have this man bringing back the bacon for us, as we say in the USA, and he is writing about it frequently as well. How effing often has that happened? Usually our best climbing talents are locked away in their personal quandries and endless OCD loops. Take a look at most of the blogs, last posts are years old and a big silence anyway. Here suddenly in the last bunch of years we have someone so brilliant and clear that he can even write today about what he has been doing today and in a really sharing manner and Johnny on the spot!!. Hallelujah!
jghedge

climber
Apr 25, 2013 - 10:28pm PT

"Nothing highlights the differences in climbing styles like having a free soloist climb past haul bags and a portaledge."
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 25, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
Great climbs, inconceivable really to this aging 5.9 tradster but....

not to be the naysayer, but in my experience, one's guardian angel (oops) abandons people in their mid 20s. Then you're on your own. Be careful and go slow. No need to rush.

And my daughter has a crush on you. She'll be real bummed if anything happens / like falling going up, instead of coming down. ha
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 25, 2013 - 10:34pm PT
True enough Rocker. Meanwhile: Guardian Angel
Norwegian

Trad climber
the tip of god's middle finger
Apr 26, 2013 - 01:49am PT
wow. good read.
jstan

climber
Apr 26, 2013 - 02:44am PT
Climbing is not something that has to be done.

nah000

climber
canuckistan
Apr 26, 2013 - 03:34am PT
heavy.

what's left unwritten is heavy.

the objective numbers are mind bogglingly heavy.

and in its own small way, whether there might be an insatiable collective siren, that i and we make individual granular contributions to, is also heavy.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Apr 26, 2013 - 07:16am PT
chasing the dragon.
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 26, 2013 - 07:24am PT
Stellar read, incredible accomplishment!

jstan: would you have thought that in your 20's?
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
Apr 26, 2013 - 07:25am PT
what strikes me is how close he comes to the line, but maybe all free soloing is closer than we recognize or admit
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Apr 26, 2013 - 09:17am PT
Me too. I alway thought that he wouldn't even have to think about getting the sequence right ...
lamadera

Trad climber
New Mexico
Apr 26, 2013 - 09:22am PT
badass ... hanging out on the monkeyfinger black corner pitch figuring out the moves, in the hot sun, with no rope, has got to be exciting, even for Honnold.
Fletcher

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Apr 26, 2013 - 10:58am PT
I like his spirit and forthrightness. That is one pretty amazing day and he's got some writing ability that has potential for sure.

Heck, just the 20 miles of running in that terrain (much downhill) is a feat unto itself.

The guy is just 27 or so. It's interesting to watch him grow and evolve.

Eric
Baggins

Boulder climber
Apr 26, 2013 - 11:10am PT
I could write several different essays about the day; itís given me a ton to think about. One would be how funny it is that climbing media didnít even touch the story and that no one seems to care about it. oloing Astroman and the Rostrum in 2007 generated all kinds of news and video bits. This Zion link up, which is infinitely harder and more cutting edge, doesnít get mentioned.

Once your minds blown, its blown!
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Apr 26, 2013 - 11:56am PT
My take on the article:
Alex is playing Russian Roulette, which is his right. Consumers of climbing porn (including myself) are egging him on.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Apr 26, 2013 - 11:58am PT
Dude is the new KING.

He's better at this shite than all of us.

He makes the sidelines a real spectators view.
mt10910

climber
Apr 26, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
the ultimate solo
is the one you
don't tell anybody about
orle

climber
Apr 26, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
That bit about stalling on the Black Corner crux of Monkeyfinger, f*#k that's grim.

the ultimate solo
is the one you
don't tell anybody about

Until you tell someone about it and then the solo itself becomes less ultimate how?

rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 27, 2013 - 09:18am PT
Everybody complains about no climbing content on ST. Then this thread, (or the one I posted of pretty girls climbing the Hulk) drops to the third page like a stone. ha

did you hear about the UFO sitings over Mt. Shasta....?
sullly

Trad climber
Apr 27, 2013 - 09:32am PT
Good article. Nice touches like the frat boys recognizing A.H. from 60 min. then giving him a lift.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Apr 28, 2013 - 09:23am PT
ddriver said:
what strikes me is how close he comes to the line, but maybe all free soloing is closer than we recognize or admit

John Mac said:
Me too. I alway thought that he wouldn't even have to think about getting the sequence right ...

Chill said:
Alex is playing Russian Roulette, which is his right. Consumers of climbing porn (including myself) are egging him on.


These are all very important observations. Not at all to criticize them; more so to explore them as questions. I'm no Alex Honnold but I am a climber who has played the game for keeps and I've also done tons of free soloing and a good deal of it on-sight.

I knew John Bachar personally and although he most often climbed in total and absolute control beyond what most people could imagine, he was human as well and mistakes were made here and there. Moratorium is an example. Crescent Arch is an example. On both routes he had to pause significantly and consider just what it was he was faced with.

It's important to remember that people who do this are not robots. Many of us are so distanced from this type of blood sport commitment that by extension from our own fragile positions we hope that they are robots such that this justifies their effort against the risks.

I use the analogy to auto racing because it is fitting. People burn to death in pursuit of that passion. Spectators abound and egg them on! Regardless they would do it without any crowd adulation I guarantee you.

Free solo climbing does sometimes involve self-doubt, human fragility, on spot decision-making, minimal small mistakes, and all kinds of things that might make the uninitiated cringe. Back to motorsports for an example: the best Moto GP racers (top-tier motorcycle racing on road circuits) report that one of their better coping mechanisms is the ability to recover from mistakes and keep their psych and focus running clean.

In one of Alex's interviews he states much the same: namely that he can make little goofs, but it is his ability to slough these off and keep his groove on which gives him the ability to persist without being freaked out. This is the hallmark of a true champion.

True champions of blood sport sometimes die in pursuit of their passion. Don't think for a minute this invalidates their calling. The seeker must heed the call. (Quoted or paraphrased from Peter Haan, Alpinist 42) ... And if you are young and dumb and full of cum, please don't tell your mother I said this!
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Apr 28, 2013 - 10:06am PT
What if the tree Alex impaled himself on on the descent hadn't been there?What kind of conversation would we now be having? Used to do a bit of soloing in my youth, sometimes in excess of 4000' feet a day-all much much easier of course. Anyway, one day i was on new ground 500 feet off the deck, had three points of contact-two hands and a foot,when simultaneously the left handhold and foothold snapped, i pulled up on the right and reached through to another handhold and safety. Didn,t bother me at the time, but i never forgot it and often wondered what if i had only had two points of contact.There has been a number of soloists found broken and mangled at the base of crags, some quite prominent, which proves their are sometimes things, a tiny miscalculation or objective hazard beyond human control, that go wrong. Nobody can defy the odds forever, that is the rational thing to keep in mind.Apart from this observation, the level of solos he has done is a feat matched by few, if any, others before him. He's also a damn good writer.
WBraun

climber
Apr 28, 2013 - 10:24am PT
The ultimate solo.

There's no such thing.

It never ever exists nor even existed ever.

We are not alone nor completely independent ever.
Fletcher

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Apr 28, 2013 - 10:39am PT
Re: Alex Honnold I've sometimes wonder if part of his ability to remain calm and collected when soloing is related to his age and prefrontal cortex development:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefrontal_cortex

In a nutshell, the prefrontal cortex doesn't develop fully until mid-twenties or so. It's the part of the brain that moderates decisions and a lack of it seems to lead to a lot of unprotected teen sex, high speed driving under the influence, jumping off high sh#t, etc. :-) But reading the full description of what the prefrontal cortex does (or doesn't do when not developed) doesn't seem to entirely explain "how Alex does it." Complex stuff. At the end of the day, we're just speculating here. No simple answers.

Now that Alex is around 27, maybe his "head" for this is changing. I appreciated his honesty in that piece.

Eric
jstan

climber
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:12am PT
At the start I said what Honnold does is his business. Not ours.

There is something we might consider, however. If he goes, then what? He is a little like an ice berg. The climbing, that we see, may be only ten percent of his talents. He can write and he knows what can be said and done, and what cannot. These are great and unusual talents.

Much more valuable to us than the climbing.
coz

Gym climber
Belmont
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:18am PT
I think when I was in my twenties I soloed the most out there stuff, for me, seems my body was fit and mind focused, and I never really had too many close calls soloing.

People will do anything to knock champions down, height, weight, finger size, etc. etc.

It must make them feel better about themselves to some extend.

Wolfgang Gullich told be you can only compare a climber to what was world class in his/her time, and you can not compare the present to the past.

Alex is the best soloist now, not in all history, and certainly (although hard to imagine) someone will even be more skilled than Alex.

Just free climbing Moonlight Buttress in my day was note worthy, now it's a solo.

I admire Alex and hope all his solos turn out well for him, I'm sure he is not doing it for us, but for the same reason, I did it. It was fun and a feeling of freedom unmatched with a rope or gear. For some reason I survived all my close calls, and there have been many, mostly guiding. So, God has left me here to ponder my youth, but many of my friends have not been so lucky.

But our sport is dangerous no matter your skill or chosen discipline. I suppose Alex is more solid pasting his feet high to feel more secure on Moonlight, than a noob on their first lead, way above questionable gear.
Fletcher

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Apr 28, 2013 - 11:23am PT
Agree with John. He's in the public eye so people are going to speculate. I too sense that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg with respect to what he will do in this life.

Definitely his business choosing what he does and he seems comfortable with that. And also seems to have the mind and presence to intelligently question himself and his motives.

I'm just appreciating his spirit. That is part of, but also much more than just the climbing and his feats.

Eric
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Apr 28, 2013 - 02:22pm PT
At the start I said what Honnold does is his business. Not ours.

Until he films it, photos it, blogs it, shares it, profits from it. It sort of is our business, from a distance.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Apr 28, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
Yep, it's complicated.
coz

Gym climber
Belmont
Apr 28, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
Why shouldn't he profit from it, he loves doing it.

So what's wrong with making money doing what u love?:)

I for one love the footage, the guys are doing a pretty good job filming.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Apr 28, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
It's no different than guys like Corliss jumping off stuff. It's meant to entertain,,, AND fill a need for the Kid. People just want the Kid to live a while longer is all.

Coz, do we know he loves doing it? Reading the story, I did not get that feeling. He is probably as confused as we are about it, about his motivations et al. We are all one in this.

Personally, I am not fascinated by free-soloing. I can appreciate it and the people that do it, but that is all. I have, however, done enough of it to know what the subject here is all about. Encouraging anyone to free-solo is about the last thing I would do.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Apr 28, 2013 - 03:03pm PT
Why shouldn't he profit from it, he loves doing it.

I didn't say he shouldn't. I merely suggested that the way this stuff is presented tips the scales away from "none of our business."

I like the films too.
coz

Gym climber
Belmont
Apr 28, 2013 - 03:10pm PT
I don't know Alex, but my spies say he's a great guy and completely humble.

I have soloed a few 12's and the edge was too close for me, now Alex, is a better climber and more solid, but he is cutting it close, real close.

I'm obviously making assumptions about his motivations.

I love soloing and I hope he does, because it's a merciless game.

One I don't do anymore...
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Apr 28, 2013 - 03:16pm PT
Wanna know what really scares me. In all seriousness.

The guy is probably safer soloing than I am roped.

Tough way to make a living though. Marketing is a strange world.
crankster

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Apr 28, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
Alex is playing Russian Roulette, which is his right. Consumers of climbing porn (including myself) are egging him on.

Chill has it right; It's all good till it's not.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Apr 28, 2013 - 03:22pm PT
I think the guy is mind blowing. I can make no assumptions about his motivations.

I only soloed 5.10, usually pretty solid ones. So I've done ones that felt pretty basic to me and also ones where I felt I was well beyond basic...heh...But I still know how radical it "felt" in between my ears when I was on a sketchy one.

I hope Alex lives a long time.
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Apr 28, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
I hope Alex lives a long time.

Yes. Please!!!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Apr 28, 2013 - 06:51pm PT
ascribe meaning to it as you see fit

This is a mature way to look at his life's accomlishments.

To me there are indications that Alex's writing style is zoned in on RR's best, but he's had that role model since he started climbing, and who knows really who he's going to eclipse as a writer?

He's funny, too, really funny, if you've seen him deliver on the stage. He understands timing. I hope he finds time to write more.

Dan L.

Trad climber
Massachusetts
May 2, 2013 - 06:23pm PT
So impressed -- who could not be -- but so, so worried about the headline I fear one of these days, Alex. Please put a rope on and live a long time. It's not just for your sake, or for your mom's. The more we laud and celebrate achievements like this, however impressive, the more we normalize taking risks like this and by doing so encourage others to follow. I miss my dead friends. I really do.
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