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Alex Honnold Summits Antarctica’s Vinson: ‘I Felt Shockingly Bad’

The world's most famous free soloist has just climbed one of the Seven Summits — and it hurt more than going ropeless on El Capitan.

alex honnold mount vinsonHonnold in happier days at Squamish, evaluating other health choices; (photo/screenshot)
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Editor’s note: This article was originally published on ExplorersWeb.


Alex Honnold announced a summit of Antarctica’s Mount Vinson on Friday with a Twitter post describing a tough experience for him, and a “casual stroll” for his partner Esteban “Topo” Mena.

Honnold became “horrendously sick and vomited on and off all day,” he said. That might have been the result of what he describes as a “slightly aggressive itinerary.”

If you’ve ever watched a documentary for Honnold, you’ll understand that translates to something unrecommended to the point of insanity.

For Topo, it was all a casual stroll, but he’s used to climbing 8,000m peaks without oxygen. Honnold noted, “I felt shockingly bad,” which was just a good reminder that anyone has to handle altitude in their own way.

In this case, it’s climbing a 4,900m mountain in 2 days: one to high camp and another day to the summit.

The pair thought it would be okay to try it, but “it definitely wasn’t the right call,” Honnold realized later.

“I felt shockingly bad,” he said. “On the other hand, we had the mountain all to ourselves, which certainly added to the ambiance.”

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