Alexander ‘Alex‘ Honnold is an American rock climber best recognized for his free solo climbs of big walls, in particular, in 2017, his free soloing of El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park.
He is the first person to free solo climb El Capitan and carries the fastest climb of the Yosemite triple crown, an eighteen-hour, fifty-minute link-up of Mount Watkins, The Nose, and the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. Honnold says he loves tall, long routes and that he attempts to do them quickly. He is the author of the biography Alone on the Wall 2017 along with David Robert and the topic of the 2018 biographical documentary Free Solo, which achieved a BAFTA and an Academy Award.
Alex Honnold- Early Life
Honnold was born on 17 August 1985 in Sacramento, California, as the son of community college professors Dierdre Wolownick and Charles Honnold. His paternal origins are German and his maternal origins are Polish. He began climbing in the climbing gym at 5 and showed his dedication to the sport at the age of ten when visited the gym many times a week. Honnold also took part in several national and international youth climbing championships as a teenager.
He attended Mira Loma High School as part of the International Baccalaureate Programme in 2003 and after he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, to study civil engineering.
His 1st year in college was challenging for him. Instead of residence in the dorms, he chose to rent an apartment from a family friend, which led him not to have many friends. In addition to being singled out during his freshman year, his grandmother expired, the same year his parents were going through a divorce. He often missed classes. After taking a semester off to train himself for the National Climbing Championships in Scotland, he did not return to college. After he left school, he invested his time wandering around California in his mother’s minivan and climbing. When the minivan was crushed down, he used a bicycle for transport and camped in a tent. He has asserted that he resided off on less than $1,000 per month from the year 2004- 2009.
Honnold’s Height is 5 ft 10 in. He is a vegetarian. He does not consume alcohol or use any other drugs. He likes to read with an interest in classic literature, economics, and environmentalism, and he defines himself as an anti-religion atheist and a feminist.
Also Read: Alex Honnold’s Net Worth
Honnold’s Climbing Career
Though he had been in climbing competitions for most of his life, he stayed quite unfamiliar even with the climbing world until back in 2007. In 2007, he soloed Yosemite Valley’s Astroman and Rostrum in a single day, which was an achievement only parallelled by climber Peter Croft in 1987. It was only after this success that he earned additional broad recognition in the climbing world. The later year he free soloed a 1,200-foot-tall finger crack that divides Zion’s Moonlight Buttress. Several people felt this accomplishment was a joke due to the terrific challenge of the climb. In 2008, he free soloed the 2,000-foot-tall Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome in Yosemite, and in 2012, he moved on to create a new record for the fastest ascent at 1 hour and 22 minutes. By 2009, Honnold had obtained a degree of fame and success in the climbing world and a 3-year contract. But he was quite unknown to the population at large. In 2010, he won a Golden Piton Award for vigorous rock climbing.
In 2011, he became one of the most competent free solo rock climbers in the world. He began to achieve more praise outside of the climbing world. In May 2011, Honnold was featured on the cover of National Geographic, and later, in the winter of that year, he strived to hit the record for the fastest climb of El Capitan but lost the mark by only 45 seconds. In 2012, he achieved mainstream recognition after coming up on “60 minutes” to discuss his free solo climb of the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. He starred in the documentary climbing film “Alone on the Wall.” In June 2012, he with colleague climber Hans Florine again tried to break the record for the fastest ascent of El Capitan. They were successful in this effort, creating a new record of two hours, twenty-three minutes, and forty-five seconds.
In 2014, Honnold and many other climbers starred in a documentary about the evolution of rock climbing in Yosemite Park named “Valley Uprising,” and Cliff Bar stood as one of the film’s monetary sponsors and also had sponsorship contracts with five of those in the movie, including Honnold. However, a few months after the film was published, Cliff Bar canceled sponsorship deals with the professional climbers that had been promoted. They expressed that they preferred to do so because the company was not pleased with how far the climbers were pushing the borders in the sport and doubts that they were taking useless risks. Honnold is widely known as one who takes unbelievable risks with a somewhat indifferent attitude for his own life and safety.
On 3 June 2017, Honnold brought about the first free solo climb of El Capitan and took the 2,900-foot Freerider route. He finished the climb in three- hours and fifty six-minutes, and his victory has been illustrated as one of the most remarkable athletic accomplishments ever. It was filmed by climber and photographer Jimmy Chin and his wife documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. They published the documentary film “Free Solo” in 2018. The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature that year.
Honnold’s Personal Life
In 2015, Honnold confronted Sandi McCandless at a book signing. The two began dating in late 2019. They tied the knot in September 2020. The couple’s relationship was one of the central themes of the documentary film “Free Solo.”In 2012, he started lending a third of his earnings to finance solar projects to improve energy availability worldwide. He developed this into the nonprofit the Honnold Foundation, which facilitates and promotes the use of solar energy in developing countries.
On 17 February 2022, McCandless gave birth to their daughter. Honnold’s mother, Dierdre Wolownick, ascended El Capitan at 66, setting a record as the oldest woman to have accomplished the climb.
Alex Honnold Awards and Achievements
In 2010 he won the Golden Piton award from Climbing magazine, for vigorous climbing. In 2015, Honnold jointly with Tommy Caldwell was honored with the Piolets d’Or, for the first full traverse of the Fitz Roy Range in Patagonia, Argentina.
In 2018, he received Robert and Miriam Underhill Award from American Alpine Club, for distinction in diverse fields of climbing. In 2018, he won a Special mention of Piolets d’Or for his excellent contribution to climbing during the year 2017.
Alex Honnold- Net Worth
Honnold is a professional rock climber who possesses a net worth of $2 million. He is best perceived for being the only person to successfully free solo climb El Capitan and is frequently quoted as one of the best rock climbers in the world.
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