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Alex Honnold Free Solos Jersey City Skyscraper, Bails Halfway

Alex Honnold free solos Urby skyscraper in Jersey City
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The mayor of Jersey City, N.J., said he was drunk when he first suggested Alex Honnold climb a 69-floor apartment building.

Last week, while on tour for his film “Free Solo,” Honnold spent his downtime doing what he does best: climbing without a rope.

On September 6, just after midnight, Honnold free solo climbed the Urby, a luxury apartment building in Jersey City, The New Yorker reported. He made it halfway before calling it quits, uncomfortable with his route, which was wet and enabled him to peer directly into people’s living rooms.

The Urby’s exterior is mostly glass and its architecture appears as a stack of giant blocks. Honnold said the route was full of nice holds, including a perforated metal enclosure and ledges the width of a fork.

After making it to the 24th floor, Honnold stopped his climb after he encountered wet conditions — and surprised residents. He waited a few hours on a balcony until one of the building’s maintenance workers opened a window and let him in.


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Honnold Climbs New Jersey Apartment Building

David Barry, the Urby’s building developer, agreed to let Honnold climb the apartment prior to his attempt. But the idea first spawned when Honnold met with the mayor of Jersey City, Steven Fulop, at Montana’s Yellowstone Club.

Fulop suggested Honnold climb one of Barry’s buildings. The mayor confessed his intoxication during their initial meeting but was on board the entire time, according to The New Yorker.

Honnold felt confident with the route when he scouted the Urby weeks prior to his ascent.

“Sure, falling from this building is high consequence, but for me, it’s low risk,” Honnold told The New Yorker.

But Honnold wasn’t expecting the route to be as wet as it was and described the climb as “dumb.”

Questions on Privacy

One encumbrance Honnold also didn’t foresee was how active the tenants would be at 1:30 a.m. There were a lot of people awake, including one who may have been undressed, some who were watching television, and one man who took a selfie with him.

And though Urby officials were aware of the potential invasions of privacy, they claimed they would handle any resident complaints after the fact.

“We’ll tell them, ‘Everything is fine. We’re aware of it. We’ll follow up with more information later,'” Urby creative director Alexander Waxman told The New Yorker.

Still, the reactions caused Honnold to climb laterally in order to avoid people. And eventually, he bailed. But because it was the middle of the night, Honnold had to wait until 5 a.m. for someone to let him in. He couldn’t rappel down at that point.

On the balcony, Honnold huddled by an exhaust pipe to keep warm, caught up on the news, and called his girlfriend.

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