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"From time to time we come across someone so remarkable, that it defies belief..." So begins this video. This blew my mind. Alex Honnold, 26 years old, is the world's best rock climber. He "free solos" (no ropes, no protection) mountain walls like Half-Dome in Yosemite that are 2000 feet tall. (That's close to a 1/2 a mile in height.) If you fall, you are dead -- no two ways about it. Alex travels around in a van so he can climb when he feels like it. His lifestyle costs him about $1,000 a month. (He's got a North Face sponsorship to help pay the bills.) This guy is amazing.

I just got back from Yosemite and took photos of "Half Dome," a mountain I've now seen up close. It does defy belief that someone could climb this without a partner or any form of protection. For more about Alex, watch the movie "Alone on the Wall". Here's a promo vid for the movie:

+Robert Scoble +Thomas Hawk +Trey Ratcliff +Karen Hutton +Scott Kublin +shirley lo +Charles Lu +Kimberly Shoemaker +Tina Ratcliff +Scott Jarvie +Peter Adams +Julia Peterson : Thought you all would get a kick out of this!
C Wilkerson's profile photoCharles Lu's profile photoCarla Dazzi's profile photoKurtis Radovanovic's profile photo
I trained in the NorCal Mountains with the Marine Corps but nothing to this extreme. Amazing.
This kid is absolutely amazing! Free climbing those walls takes some serious skills & self-confidence. Good on you Alex!

I would also highly recommend watching 180° South. "he film follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia."
no no and no. My old job wanted me to do tower climbing and that was with a harness. Not happening.
I tried many times as a kid to rock climb and again I've tried as an adult. It's so tricky - I really am in awe!
been following his exploits for 18 months now, this guy is awesome and leaves spiderman for dead, some of the pitches this guy does simply defy belief !!!!!
I saw him on tv, I think it was 60 minutes or a similar type of show. It made me feel nervous just watching him climb!
Incredible? Yes... Crazy? Maybe...
But one of the most brave things I've seen! :)
I too have been an Alex follower for a while now. Amazing stuff.
However, for some reason this video of a worker climbing a 1768ft transmission tower makes me queasier! Krikey!!
Thats Called Free Climbing on Tower
I wish he would just use a fucking rope.
I've watched this several times. He is insane --- enjoy him while you can...
+John Humbert Crazy huh... It's amazing he's still alive. He seems like an interesting individual too
Defining someone to be the *best* rock climber by routes he climbs free solo is one way too look at it, but I don't agree.

If you look at the hardest routes, I think Chris Sharma is a better climber.
Unbelievable - got a bit nauseous just watching this video....
It's strange he doesn't get pulled down by the sheer volume of his balls.
i love rock climbing but not this extreme he is impressive
While super impressive, I think it's sick. Doesn't matter how good he is, a bit stronger wind and he is done...
That's terrifying. I want to find that movie Alone on the Wall, now.
Saw the profile on 60 Minutes. Truly incredible.
simply amazing. Seems to be a well grounded young man too.
He is a phenomenal climber. It must be hugely freeing and mentally focusing to climb without ropes. When I was younger I happily lost hours bouldering, focusing only on the next move, which gives a tiny insight into what it may feel like. Despite doing many silly things at height in my time though, climbing shear rock walls, solo and without protection, never realistically occurred to me. I was never talented enough to pull it off though.
I used to climb in Bellevue. I miss the wall.
Spiderman of 2012... Isn't it friends???
Incredible. If he can climb that mountain, surely we can find the bravery deep down to climb ours.
That is nuts! He is like the Spiderman guy who climbs building around the globe. Odd he gets away with jail time trying to kill his life without safety ropes!
Respect to anyone who's got the guts to even think about that, and he's obviously an incredibly strong climber, BUT...

...try free soloing the north face of the Eiger or the SW face of the Torre; foul weather kills more people on mountains than falls (I think).

Please understand I'm not dissing him in ANY way; simply remarking that "the best rock climber in the world" is too wide a statement: climbing in a t-shirt and shorts is in a lot of way a speed race: not only no ropes nor bolts, but also no water or food or clothing to carry.

If water's such a problem, how do you deal with ice, sleet or snow without appropriate protection ? There are many mountains where a speed race is just not possible and where therefore his awesome climbing style would just not be possible.

So he's likely to be the "best free soloist in the world". Which is an awesome, incredible feat.

Watch Werner Herzog' "Scream of Stone" for a movie around the same debate filmed around the Torre - awesome scenes and photography.
oi amigo um bm dia meu msn
I don't really read Spanish. Does ' el más fuerte escalador' mean 'the craziest climber?
I've heard of him, and seen news snippets... but this is the most I've ingested at one time.

Simply incredible. I've done free solo climbing on a much, much smaller scale. I even quit that when my son was born. He's four now.

Hats off to Alex. Infinite respect.

Thanks for sharing, Tom. I must reshare.
It's scary just watching him on laptop screen. It is a rush.
I do hiking but never climbing !!
I saw that when it aired a while back. Made me just as sick then as it does now!
best climber, best teacher. Say our dream was to build the best bottle opener... how many of us would gulp at the idea of marching right on up to the offices at OXO for a chance at being shot down.
He's a damn good climber and a hell of a lot better than me but "the best"? He is one of the best at his style of climbing but there are many different facets to climbing and he doesn't push the limits in all of them. Respect and kudos to the guy but tellingly he would never describe himself as the best so none of us should either. To write in this hyperbolic way just unnecessarily discredits his real achievements in the eyes of other climbers.
I watch it on 60min boy can climber
I watched this the other day. I didn't even feel it comfortable watching on TV and I was sitting in my computer chair.
Alex H
I just kept imagining him falling, too scary. He has great skill
Wow he is amazing. I couldn't even imagine climbing half dome. Let alone without a rope.
This dude is amazing! My stomach turned the first time I saw this! Talk about living on the edge huh...!
This is amazing, my coworker was just telling me about this guy yesterday. I can't even imagine ever doing something like this..
+Philip Rowney I know the disclaimers sound cheesy, but I want to be real clear that I have a ton of respect for Honnold. However, Rheinhlod Messner is currently reputed to be the best living climber having summited ALL 8,000 without oxygen AND having soloed without oxygen mt. Everest. That's like several days above 5,000 meters (15,000 feet) in weather than can move from sunny to -15 °C or below in minutes, carrying all survival equipment and supplies. He misses, he may not fall, but death is just as certain.

For a list of those who are currently reputed to be the best 24 rock climbers in the world check this out:

Comparing those exceptional climbers to another exceptional climber like Honnold is useless (except for fanbois), but there is no question that very few of these ascents could enjoy the same mediatic coverage as Honnold, again mostly due to the unique atmospheric conditions of places like the Yosemite Valley peaks.
Never stupid to do what you love in my opinion.
terrific guy......amazing
no doubt that he is amazing, but, its like playing with fire. sooner or later, he will get burned. that is what is stupid. stupid as in super dangerous.
amazing stuff. however i hope he finds something to naturally sustain his high without climbing.
I saw this when it first aired...I just can't wrap my head around how this guy (and others like him) can do this. It's unfathomable...I don't know if I should be impressed or horrified.
I don't like it when someone is glorified for ignoring safety practices.
he is amazing,,very calm minded man,,and of course very tough
That's not remarkable, it's stupid. There's no reason not to use fall protection, other than to meet your maker sooner than scheduled. I'm impressed by the climbing ability, but would be more impressed if he was responsible about his life and the example he sets.

I once was talking to an old, crusty and very experienced electrician. I had a question about something I was wiring in my house. Trying to impress him with my novice skills, I proudly told him how I changed a light switch without shutting off the power, because, I'm safe. I understand what I'm dealing with. I know how to be careful and not get shocked. His eyes turned to slits as he looked me straight on and called me a "F'n idiot". He wasn't impressed with my cavalier attitude. He went on to tell me that more people die every year from an unintended experience with 120 volts than with higher voltages. I'll never forget his disgust. I now always kill the power at the breaker. I'll never know, but his words may someday save my life. Thanks Tony.
very humbling, I agree with Robert, he's a master climber, but life's not cheap, and I would really hate to be watching news how he has fallen to his death.
+Tom Anderson Saw this on 60 Minutes Sunday as well. Guy is incredible. Climbing Kilimanjaro later this year with friends at CTC Kenya. Welcome to join us.
+Robert Le Blah Or, to get the international exposure to improve your market presence. Or, to work as a highly paid stuntman for directors that want an increased realism in their movies. Or to gain the increased adrenaline rush from such a risky endeavor.

He's not endangering anyone other than himself. While I would never do such a thing, I think he's perfectly justified living his life exactly as he sees fit.
I saw this on 60 minutes +Tom Anderson and was thinking about you guys being in Yosemite. It was amazing.
Tom, I've been looking at your extraordinary pictures of Yosemite; congratulations. Now I've watched the Alex Honnold movie - sweating palms!

I've made a pilgrimage twice to Yosemite having been inspired by Ansel Adams - I have one of his prints of Half Dome.

Again congratulations on Yosemite, your portfolio and thank you for sharing.
Why would anyone risk the precious gift of life? I think it's insane. Far from brave.
He's without a doubt the best free soloist out there, but calling him the best rock climber in the world? I think there are a few climbers that would take issue with that blanket statement.
+Michael Edwards +Sebastian Baboo I didn't say he should be prevented from doing it. I'm calling him, in the words of the electrician, a F'n idiot. It could be said that he IS hurting other thrill seekers by setting an unsafe example. I'd rather see someone with his talent convey that it's "cool" to be safe and value your life. Not cool to exploit your life for attention.
+Ferdowsy Qureshi - You can't even compare the two styles of climbing, so no, the Indian Monkey King is not "better." And you're blanket characterization of Honnold as a depressed nihilistic adrenaline junkie is completely off target. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that he is basically the opposite of what you described.
Amazing, but absolutely stupid.
I'd love to know which life insurance company is stupid enough to write him a policy...
Of what use is this skill in the 21st century........guy has to much time on his hand.....this what I do in my spare time....write poems

A door, open wide and inviting
Like a mother’s heart
To a prodigal son-
Beckons stranger and kin alike
To the comfort of a home.

A door, closed – bolted and foreboding
Like the gates of Alcatraz
Leaves us in the cold
Where vultures seal our fate.

Doors, doors every where
Simple passages through a wall
Often determine where we are
Or where we ought to be.

Though with us lie the keys
To the doors that shun our faces
I wonder why we sometimes
Choose to be prisoners
Of our own devices.


Hope Kalé Ewusi ©
"...with nothing to stop him if he falls."

I disagree. The ground will surely stop him.
Saw this too... amazing! We honor "motivational, inspirational and patriotic Americans" and may be doing a show along these lines. Would love your help with stories like this one and others.
You read about guys doing stuff like this in fantasy novels and think no actual human could do it.
Love to see how many people here are passionate climbers. I wouldn't have suspected :-)
Amazing & courageous. Hats off to Alex.
not to burst any bubbles, but, once you hit a certain height (between 50-100 feet iirc), it doesnt matter how much higher you go as far as the consequences of falling are concerned :P
Oh, my, no, if I see that kid fall off there, I will kill myself!
Just watching this raises my anxiety level to unbelievable levels! WOW!
Annoying to see how many people seem to believe they are a suitable arbiter of what's risky or selfish for specific people they don't actually know.
There's a fine line between brave and stupid and I think Alex crossed over. Alex theorized that he might be so involved in what he is doing that he can't objectively see its inherent danger. I believe that is exactly the case.
If he were my son or husband I would ask if this is REALLY WORTH the risk? Does this guy think he'll never make a mistake? He may be brave, but I think he's an idiot.
There is almost climbing or mountaineering that's not inherently dangerous, including climbing with a rope. This debate will never end, most likely. For a sober take from someone with some actual authority, I would suggest reading John Long's intro book and read his take on soloing & safety. Read his re-telling stories of Derek Hersey and Tobin Sorenson.

To put it succinctly, most people should not free solo, and no one is saying otherwise, but there is no one standard of risk that applies to all situations. There are some people who shouldn't drive or even leave the house. But you are most likely not in a position to judge them.
Amazing and without peer to be sure.

Also, I fear, foolhardy. It's not possible to keep doing that without making a mistake sometime.
This young man's days are numbered.

I get a queasy stomach looking at my stomach from my easy chair.
I can watch such things only for a few minutes, and only when I know for a fact
that I am not about to witness the almost certain falling of someone to his death.
So, one day when he slips, is it also on us for encouraging him?
Brave and stupid... we can only hope the stupid doesn't catch up to the brave.
One verse comes to mind when I see this: Jude 1:24. This is how we all should live our lives, with unshakeable faith that we will not fall.
I couldn't even watch further because it's so dangerous...
+Bill West - I'll agree with you to the extent that I can't fully comprehend another person's experience. It must feel amazing, to compel someone to take such risks. But I can't help having an opinion - I'd keep it to myself, but I choose to express it is because I dislike the glorification of free soloing, i.e. dubbing him "the world's best rock climber." As if he is doing something we should aspire to, the purest expression of climbing or some such nonsense. It may not be Alex's intent to promote this view, but it happens.
This is how i feel about life in general... commit to your goals and there is only the option to go up and forward... for me to do anything other than that would be to fall
That was amazing...seriously, I realized MY hands were sweating at the end of the video...even though I knew he made it, it made me feel so nervous...crazy!
I was wondering if anyone else had noticed or mentioned the Viagra sponsors +Paul Jewkes, rather fitting for an endurance climber.
Truly amazing. Thanks for sharing.
it's interesting how he says in the video that he doesn't get an adrenaline rush. not surprising, since the slightest bit of fear would most certainly cause anyone to crumble. thanks for sharing such a fascinating video, +Tom Anderson . maybe +Scott Jarvie will do some free-soloing next time :)
My palms are sweaty just watching that. The real possibility of death at every single foothold and fingerhold - I just couldn't handle that sustained intensity of fear.
Now that is some as we say in certain circles, " some highspeed shit".
Seems interesting but foolish. I would say he should leave a deposit to clean him up if he falls.
You can say that this type of climbing isn't sustainable, but nothing is--even life. Incredibly talented kid with a laser-focused passion. He's probably more alive in an hour and a half than most people will ever be given 70+ years.
I don't understand how climbing rocks without safety gear makes someone an amazing person. At the end of the day, he climbed a rock, I am not saying that it isn't hard or dangerous (obviously it is), but it doesn't make you an amazing person.
Kyle B
Honnold is one of my favorite climbers and ONE of the best but definitely not THE best climber
Death doesn't matter to a person with no fear
This freaked me the F out. So scary. Watch this video at 11:11 minutes in. Absolutely terrifying.
My god that's scary. Especially when you know that you can't climb down if you get stuck. +Nyla Adams check this out.
i seen this this guy has a death wish its so crazy what he doe's . i cant understand who any one could put there family through this its only a matter of time and they will get a call sorry but but he didnt live through the fall may god be with
+Robert Le Blah That's a weak argument. 'Setting a bad example' isn't a justification for someone else doing something stupid. If he said something like, "This is not risky or dangerous", then perhaps. But anyone that uses another person's actions as an excuse to take similar action still has the mentality of child. "But, Mom, Bobby gets to ride his dirt bike without a helmet!"

We are each responsible for our own actions. He is not harming anyone in any way.
+Hope Ewusi You criticize this person for having too much time on his hands, and then share your 'poetry', which is one of the most classic example of having too much free time? Thanks, I needed my daily dose of irony today.
Not to be morbid.....but this guy is 100% going to die in the next few years. He can't control if rocks decide to crumble.
thanks for sharing this is unbelievable !!
Very thought-provoking (for me, anyway). Finally found something talking about his mother's perspective:

His mother worries too, but she trusts her son’s judgment. “He’s the only one who can decide to do it or not,” she says. “I would never tell him not to. It would be like telling a concert pianist, ‘You know, that’s bad for your fingers. You’ll end up with arthritis.’”
This guy is amazing, but he makes me nervous. ;+)
One of my sons, who does rock climbing, showed me this video and many others. My logical brain tells me to awe what Alex does, but my emotional side screams "NOOOOO".
Wow, this guy is amazing. I read the NG article, but seeing him in action is VERY different.
That was simply amazing !
I'm a little nauseous just watching this.
This is one of the most remarkable videos I have ever witness. Wow!
OMFG. +Tom Anderson... now I have sweaty palms, feel short of breath and I'm dizzy. So I've either got the flu or I should NEVER, EVER climb anything besides my stairs. I'm leaning toward the latter.
Oooohhh SH** thud.
PS... I notice the clip was sponsored by Viagra. APPROPRIATE after that video!!! sheeeeeeeesh.
Obviously you need to climb something that has an alternate path down. Can't imagine he has to climb back down after that amazing effort. I was in awe but couldn't help think about the risk and what drives him to do it - there's no adrenaline rush right? So what is it?
Forget about the guy what is the deal with the presenters accent, what is that all about, she sounds like an american trying to speak like a brit.
Truly amazing! I admire his ability to do this. However, he looks to be the same age as my son and as a Mother all I can say is I hope he loses the love for climbing soon. I get why he does it, but it's like holding your breath watching every climb he makes wondering if it could be his last.
he is absolutely incredible...nothing but respect for him.
I saw this on 60 Minutes the other night. You may disagree with me, but I think he's an idiot. If he were to die from falling off of a cliff, it would be considered suicide. I thought it was the saddest thing when they showed him training a bunch of kids to do what he does... He's teaching kids how to make suicide justifiable.
+Tim Jutras no, if he fell off of a cliff it would be considered an accident...he clearly does not want to die. yes, what he is doing is extremely risky...but he is not suicidal. if anything, he has the opposite "problem" life fuller than any of us dare to.
....and I'm literally scared of standing on top of a ladder. My admiration and respect to this man. Insane!
I think he's just practising for Judgement Day. That way if he doesn't make it into heaven, he can just climb there!
This is that kind of man that didn't make a mistake its entire life. Amaizint.
*mind blown that is insane!!!!!!!!!!
That is the most intense video I have seen in a long time. Wow, just wow.
Amazing! Just watching how steep that is makes me dizzy. Can't believe he's so relaxed he even whistles while climbing. Truly insane =) Thanks for sharing. Good call on the Viagra catch +Karen Hutton, those are the small details that make it all come together :)
That was amazing. I honestly could never find the balls to do that. Even with ropes.
Yeah my brother +Luke Conger showed me this a week ago and I was sooooo impressed!
+Tom Anderson I added you to the ecoviso circle on Google+ because I'm on an iPad, and because you didn't put your contact info in your profile, I'm sending this to you through our stream. Hope you get it.

i like how at the end it says, Sponsored by Viagra! haha KEEP IT UP ALEX!!
He's got the thousand mile stare. That's true focus!
My hands are sweaty just watching!
+Robert Le Blah I am both a climber, and an electrician. Ropes and circuit breakers both have saved my miserable life. Did I say I am? Make that I have been, I'm a professional hasBeen.

After 35' and 35v your life is at risk.
+Robt.D. McKenzie I'm a construction management project manager (don't hate!). I'd say at 35' you have a pretty good chance of dying! In the work place, as I'm sure you know, OSHA requires fall protection at 10' I believe. The company I worked for mandated it if your feet were 6' above the ground. I thought that was a bit much when it was implemented, but there were enough statistics showing that many people are permanently debilitated from such short falls. Human aspect aside, the lawsuits and claims that follow hurt the bottom line enough to matter.

So who does this hurt, other than the show off doing it? How about his family (whether they accept his thrill seeking or not), and friends and even the spectators. And then there are all the people from children to adults that don't take safety seriously, thinking they are being cool like this bone head. And life long medical bills that society will pay if someone cripples themselves (when it could have been prevented).

He is inadvertently in a position to save others lives by setting a good example. I'll be the first to say that no one is obligated to set good examples, but that would earn my respect - being blatantly cavalier with your life doesn't. His climbing prowess would be no less impressive if he had fall protection.
People like this exist as a gift from god to show us fear nothing, no excuses and don't wait while meant to arise and propel to the top you just have to work for it.
Watched the whole video while on the edge of my seat. Fortunately my seat is not thousands of feet in the air. thanks for sharing +Tom Anderson
photos, On the Scary
Side, by Carla
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