Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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 bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A rare bird not seen for 170 years has turned up in Borneo's South Kalimantan province in Indonesia. robas / Getty Images

In October 2020, two men living in Indonesia's South Kalimantan province on Borneo managed to catch a bird that they had never seen before. They photographed and released it, then sent the pictures to birdwatching organizations in the area for identification.

Read More Show Less
A resident of Austin, Texas scrapes snow into a bucket to melt it into water on Feb. 19, 2021. Winter storm Uri brought historic cold weather, leaving people in the area without water as pipes broke. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

President Joe Biden is being called on to back newly reintroduced legislation that seeks to remedy the nation's drinking water injustices with boosts to infrastructure and the creation of a water trust fund.

Read More Show Less
Infants and young children may experience high phthalate levels because they often put plastic products in their mouths. Image Source / Getty Images

By Stephanie Eick

You may not realize it, but you likely encounter phthalates every day. These chemicals are found in many plastics, including food packaging, and they can migrate into food products during processing. They're in personal care products like shampoos, soaps and laundry detergents, and in the vinyl flooring in many homes.

Read More Show Less