Climbing Coach Pete Whittaker on How Alex Honnold Soloed El Cap

Pete Whittaker of the famous Wide Boyz knows a thing or two about what it’s like to be 1,000 feet up a wall with no rope. If anybody can put Alex Honnold in context, it’s him.

That’s the challenge the well-traveled Wide Boyz take on in their recent video. Whittaker readily admits that he hasn’t free soloed anything like “Freerider,” but he has more than cut his teeth. In 2020, he survived a 3,000-foot E3 climb on Kjerag in Norway without a rope — and filmed the whole thing.

“You may think, ‘You never know until you’ve actually done it,’” Whittaker said in the recent vid, referring to Honnold’s groundbreaking solo. “And that is exactly right. But this is a methodical answer from someone who has free soloed big walls, and also sections of El Cap.”

If there’s anything like a tutorial for free soloing, this is probably it. Watch Whittaker dissect the most famous rock climber to ever live through a thorough self-inventory of his own.

It’s always fun to see it from someone else’s point of view — especially when it comes from clinging to holds, thousands of feet off the ground, with no way out but up.

Runtime: 8 minutes

Alex Honnold climbing near the top of "The Nose" in Yosemite
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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.

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