In 2018, Alex Honnold blasted onto the sports worlds radar with the Oscar winning documentary “Free Solo”, a film about his free solo climb of El Capitan, a 3,200-foot rock face located in Yosemite National Park in California.
As the first of our Caddyboo heroes, Honnold’s journey to becoming the most well-known climber in the world, showcases Caddyboo’s philosophy of taking the next step to achieve greatness. Below we’ll explore a bit about Honnold’s journey and how his ambition embodies the Caddyboo’s spirit and attitude.
First of all, what is free soloing?
Free soloing is a sector in the sport of rock climbing that involves climbing great heights without using any form of support cable. This experience takes years to master and consists of participants often perfecting their climb using ropes prior to the free solo climb. With an average of 2.5 deaths per every 1,000 climbs, it remains the most dangerous sport in the climbing community.
The beginning of the dream
Alex Honnold began climbing at the age of five and immediately took to the sport. With the support of his parents, by the age of ten Honnold was climbing multiple times a week and began competitively climbing in his teens. He admits that he was never the best climber in the group and that meant that he had to work harder and maintain a higher level of fitness than his competitors, to ensure that he could compete at high levels. His dedication to climbing had less to do with a natural gift, but a love for the sport and determination to be the best climber that he could be.
Decision to climb
Honnold began to free solo to face a new challenge and after dropping out of university, made climbing the center of his universe. His love for the sport eclipsed all other facets of his academic and personal relationships. His motivation to constantly succeed and push his limits meant that he knew that nothing could stand in his way, if he remained focused. Honnold didn’t even have a house, he instead chose to live out of a Ford Econoline van, to be as close as possible to climbing spots to hone his craft.
On June 3, 2017 Honnold attempted his greatest climbing feat, which was the ascent of El Capitan sans any form of climbing or safety equipment. As documented in the film there were numerous naysayers and friends and loved ones, who cautioned him against the feat using the deaths of other free solo climbers as evidence of danger. However, Honnold’s desire to achieve his dreams couldn’t be quashed with fear and he completed the ascent safely in just over three hours. The New York Times dubbed this climb one of the greatest athletic feats ever.
What Alex Honnold’s experience can teach us
Ultimately, whether you think free soloing is just another sport or completely insane, there is an incredibly amount that we can learn from Honnold’s journey to becoming a hero in the world of sports. Firstly, he worked hard to become the strong and confident climber that he is today – there was no luck here, simply someone who realized their dream and did everything they could to reach it. Secondly, he was unstoppable. In 2014, his sponsorship from Clif Energy Bars was revoked due to free soloing being deemed to risky and dangerous a sport. Despite his lack of financial backing, he continued his journey. Finally, even now, nearly two years after his brilliant feat, he has not stopped. Honnold continues to climb daily and reaching new heights and records and using his experience to motivate people are the world to get moving and push past their limits.
Honnold embodies the Caddyboo ideology in a nutshell, he took “Do What We Can’t” and proved that he can do that and so much more.