Alex Honnold Free Solo Climbs El Capitan

Today, Alex Honnold became the first climber to free solo Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan. National Geographic first reported the achievement.

Honnold climbed the route “Freerider” on El Capitan with no rope. It’s a zigzagging 30-pitch climb that has sections as hard as 5.13. He did not use any equipment, and he climbed alone.

This is the first time a rock climber has ascended El Capitan without a rope. The free solo of El Cap has long been a holy grail in the climbing world.

National Geographic reports Honnold completed the ascent this morning, Saturday, June 3. The climb was “documented for an upcoming National Geographic feature film and magazine story,” the article states.

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Author Mark M. Synnott reports that Honnold climbed the route in 3 hours, 56 minutes. Synnott dubs it “what may be the greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport.”

Alex Honnold Free Solo of El Capitan

Honnold started the climb at about 5:30 a.m. today. National Geographic reports he spent the night sleeping in his van before rising “dressed in his favorite red t-shirt and cutoff nylon pants, and eaten his standard breakfast of oats, flax, chia seeds, and blueberries.”

El Capitan
El Capitan; photo by Mike Murphy, CC BY-SA 3.0

An approach led Honnold to the vertical face where he began the ascent. El Cap takes most climbing teams multiple days and hundreds of feet of rope to climb.

Honnold used only his bare hands and the sticky rubber on his climbing shoes to ascend the thousands of feet of vertical stone.

We are floored by Honnold’s bold climb. He has long been atop the climbing-world pantheon, and today’s feat puts Honnold in the realm of the climbing gods.

–See the full report on National Geographic.