Rock Climber Completes Mind-Boggling 3,000-Foot Rope-Free Ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan (Pic)
World renowned rock climber Alex Honnold made history on Saturday by becoming the first person to scale Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan without the use of ropes or other safety gear.
El Capitan, a huge granite monolith, is roughly 3,000 feet tall from base to summit. That’s about 300 feet taller than the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. While rock climbers ascend El Capitan all the time, nobody had ever completed a “free solo” climb until Saturday.
How big a deal is this in rock climbing?
“This is the ‘moon landing’ of free soloing,” rock climber Tommy Caldwell told National Geographic.
Caldwell knows what he’s talking about, too. He made history of his own in 2015 by completing a “free climb” of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall. A “free climb” is when you use ropes, but only for safety and not to help you move up the mountain.
Caldwell wasn’t the only one heaping praise on Honnold’s accomplishment. Alpinist Magazine proclaimed it “indisputably the greatest free solo of all time.” American Alpinest Journal simply responded to the news, “Speechless.”
Luckily, the folks from National Geographic were on hand to document Honnold’s historic climb for an upcoming documentary. Judging from the photos they’ve published so far, that should be absolutely spectacular.
Honnold, 31, burst onto the rock climbing scene in 2008 with high-risk, rope-free ascents of the northwest face of Half Dome in Yosemite and the Moonlight Buttress in Utah’s Zion National Park.
As for El Capitan, as you would expect, Honnold didn’t just wake up on Saturday and decide to climb the Holy Grail of free soloing. He’s been training over a year for the climb. In fact, he made his first attempt back in November but called it off less than an hour in because conditions didn’t feel right.
On Saturday, after finally completing his climb, Honnold kept it short and sweet:
So stoked to realize a life dream today 🙂
Congratulations to Alex Honnold on accomplishing one of the greatest athletic feats of the century.