In my only live interaction with Honnold. I said “I’m totally impressed, but your nuts.” He looked at me with a benign look that said, “I’ve only heard that a thousand times.” End of exchange.
Alex Honnold does free solo climbing. That means without ropes or other safety tie-ins. He free solo climbed Half Dome – Yosemite’s iconic 2000 foot wall.
“Honnold 3.0” quickly recaps that unparalleled feat to introduce the tugs on him being catapulted into media limelight. He appeared on 60 Minutes. He did a credit card commercial. Lots of people want to know what next bigger thing he will do.
It’s nice how the film exposes you do what makes him such a genuine soul. The fame did make him check himself and his motivation. Other people’s expectation does not ultimately hold sway with him.
The film shows Honnold taking some time off. For him, this means doing some radical bouldering (short climbs, only a dozen or few dozen feet). He does the bouldering to improve his power, to be a better climber. He chooses a “line” that is not only longer than most bouldering. It’s characterized by finger holds and foot holds that are only millimeters wide. Even with bouldering mats piled below, a 60 foot fall seems so likely and could mean a world of bad news.
The main thing that goofy, ambitious Alex does in “Honnold 3.0” is the Yosemite triple. In the climbing world, people are always trying to accomplish more in a 24 hour period than other people. Alex blows the competition off the map by solo climbing Watkins (2000 feet), the nose of El Capitan (3000 feet, at night), and Half Dome (2000 feet).
One reason he can do this is the speed afforded by free soloing so much of it. For this conquest, the idea is to do it by any means, so he does bring equipment, and he does use permanently placed equipment on these extreme walls. Alex comments that he doesn’t move as fast as he can. He emphasizes efficiency, consistency, and essentially not stopping.
Be primed to see any film made about him. “Honnold 3.0” does not disappoint. He’s totally impressive, and actually, even if he dies doing some next thing, he isn’t nuts.