Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Alex Honnold Completes 'Greatest Free Solo of All Time' After Scaling Yosemite's El Capitan

Popular
Alex Honnold Completes 'Greatest Free Solo of All Time' After Scaling Yosemite's El Capitan
Alex Honnold scaling Yosemite's El Capitan. @AlexHonnold / Facebook

Alex Honnold has added another gravity-defying accomplishment to his list of historic climbs. The legendary free solo climber from Sacramento, California has scaled Yosemite's 3,000-foot El Capitan in a little less than four hours with nothing more than a chalk bag.

"So stoked to realize a life dream today," the 31-year-old wrote on Facebook on June 3.


Alpinist Magazine described the unroped climb as "indisputably the greatest free solo of all time."

"This is the 'moon landing' of free soloing," Tommy Caldwell, who scaled the Dawn Wall, El Capitan's most difficult climb, with just ropes and other equipment for safety, told National Geographic.

"Free soloing" is exactly what it sounds like. No ropes, no harness—just hands, feet and mental fortitude. And yes, a loose rock, a misstep or a slip of the grip can mean death.

National Geographic, which is producing a documentary about Honnold's epic ascent, detailed his meticulous prep work as well as uncanny ability to, well, not experience fear like us regular folk:

Some of his poise can be attributed to his detailed preparation. He is obsessive about his training, which includes hour-long sessions every other day hanging by his fingertips and doing one- and two-armed pullups on a specially-made apparatus that he bolted into the doorway of his van. He also spends hours perfecting, rehearsing, and memorizing exact sequences of hand and foot placements for every key pitch. He is an inveterate note-taker, logging his workouts and evaluating his performance on every climb in a detailed journal.

There are other climbers in Honnold's league physically, but no one else has matched his mental ability to control fear. His tolerance for scary situations is so remarkable that neuroscientists have studied the parts of his brain related to fear to see how they might differ from the norm.

Honnold, however, was much more nonchalant.

"With free-soloing, obviously I know that I'm in danger, but feeling fearful while I'm up there is not helping me in any way," he told the magazine. "It's only hindering my performance, so I just set it aside and leave it be."

A Botswana elephant stands in a body of water. Geschenkpanda / Pixabay

Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Activists gather in John Marshall Park for the Global Climate Strike protests on September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Alexandra Villarreal

As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A portion of roadway is flooded in Corpus Christi, Texas on Sept. 20, 2020 due to storm surge from Tropical Storm Beta in the Gulf of Mexico. Matt Pierce / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for tropical storms this year and has now moved on to the Greek alphabet during an extremely active hurricane season. Late Monday night, Tropical Storm Beta became the ninth named storm to make landfall. That's the first time so many named storms have made landfall since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president, according to NBC News.

Read More Show Less
Colette Pichon Battle, attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy. Colette Pichon Battle

By Karen L. Smith-Janssen

Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.

Read More Show Less
A palm tree plantation in Malaysia. Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Getty Images Plus

Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch