Many of us will never find ourselves a thousand feet high on top of a rock. Even fewer of us will ever find ourselves climbing up such a rock. Only a few people in the entire world, with the perfect combination of insanity and skill, would climb that high without ropes or protection. Alex Honnold is one of these people.
At the age of 31, Alex Honnold has established himself as one of the best climbers in the world. Born in Sacramento, California, he began scaling rock gym walls at the young age of 11. After earning spectacular grades in high school, he went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley to study engineering, but he soon dropped out to pursue his passion of climbing. Since moving on from college, he has specialized in free soloing big walls, where he frequently climbs routes over 1,500 feet high with no protection. Many see this as absurd or suicidal in a way, but Alex sees it as a measured risk that he has mastered.
One of his most recent climbs, El Sendero Liminoso in Mexico, stands about 2,500 feet high and took over three hours for him to complete. The climb was rated a 5.12d, which is challenging even for the best rock climbers. The forearm strength needed to keep one’s body weight supported on such a climb, by gripping tiny holds and cracks, is incredible. This easily qualifies Alex Honnold as CRUSH worthy solely based on the amount of Skill required to do what he does on a daily basis.
When Alex is climbing hundreds of feet in the air with no protection, he has zero margin for error. To add, these climbs are not super easy to say the least. Only a small fraction of people can complete these climbs even WITH a rope. Every hand and foot movement must be perfectly placed on every rock with the correct grip and pressure. Along with flawless technique, one must have outstanding stamina.
Although Honnold is hailed as one of the best climbers ever, his fame does not mean he chooses to live in a superstar fashion. Alex humbly lives in a van allowing him to travel easily and rock climb as much as possible. With the rest of the money he makes from endorsements, interviews, and events, he invests in global humanitarian initiatives. He runs a nonprofit organization called the Honnold Foundation, which focuses on simplistic, sustainable, and environmentally friendly ways to better the lives of people around the world, especially children. The goal of the foundation is to, “improve lives worldwide by offering grants to organizations and engaging projects that make a positive difference.”
Through their projects, they have created LED bulbs to help children read schoolbooks, built Solar electric panels and biosand filters to generate clean electricity and water, and developed local tool shops to lower costs of building and repairing houses. Honnold seeks to keep the world he loves to climb in beautiful and clean while helping others achieve their goals as well. Through acting on his beliefs and making a difference, Alex is a Role Model and sets a strong example for how others should respect our planet and give back to the community.
Hard to believe it's been over a year since we were bouncing around Angola searching for rock climbs, avoiding land mines, and introducing local folks to the power of solar. Getting revved up for another trip to that part of the world soon with some of the usual suspects! #tbt #honnoldfoundation #climbangola #givemoretakeless 📷 @tedhesser
So the next time you find yourself standing over a cliff and feeling a bit of fear, just imagine the flawless climbing Alex Honnold must do to make it up that steep face. And at the same time, just appreciate the majestic features on our planet that we have to climb, explore, and enjoy in the first place. Alex Honnold does, and he shows us all why. Stay safe and keep crushing climbs, Alex!
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 7 December 2016