Alex Honnold & Cody Townsend Join Forces, Link Crater to Mt. Whitney on ‘Uncomfortable’ Route

From the crater of Badwater Basin to the top of Mt. Whitney, Townsend and Honnold will gain nearly 14,800 feet of elevation by human power alone — or will they?

What does it take to link the basest patch of dry land to the highest mountain in the lower 48 states? That’s what endurance athlete Cody Townsend and climber Alex Honnold find out in episode 30 of The FIFTY series.

The FIFTY series chronicles Townsend’s attempts to climb and ski every passage found in “The 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America.” Joined this time by Honnold, Townsend’s latest schlep-fest follows the mountains as they bike 135 miles from Badwater Basin’s -282-foot elevation to the 14,505-foot-tall Mt. Whitney. Then they climb and ski down Whitney’s fabled “Mountaineer’s Route.”

Mountaineers Route ascent on Mt Whitney The FIFTY (photo Cody Townsend)
Alex Honnold and Cody Townsend scramble up “Mountaineer’s Route” on Mt. Whitney; (photo/Cody Townsend)

“I feel uncomfortable and unhappy,” remarks Honnold, roughly halfway through the episode.

Take in some of California’s most exceptional views, and see if the elite pair can complete what, in the words of Townsend, is “the dumbest idea ever” in “Badwater Basin to Mt. Whitney Summit.”

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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