Rock Climber Alex Honnold’s 9 Most Impressive, Death-defying Climbs

Rock climber Alex Honnold might have the most dangerous job in America. He’s pulled off some of the best climbing performances in the world, including a death-defying ascent of El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley—without ropes.

It was the first-ever free solo ascent of the peak, and he did it in just under four hours. News of Honnold’s climb made headlines around the world, and the entire journey was captured in the documentary Free Solo by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, which earned rave reviews from critics and was a box office hit in theaters.

“There’s just so much climbing history in Yosemite, and El Capitan is the most iconic wall here,” Honnold told Men’s Journal when asked why he wanted to attempt the feat. “When Lynn Hill became the first person to free climb The Nose on El Cap, it established a new level of difficulty in the sport. Then Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson did The Dawn Wall a few years ago, and that leveled it up again. I think this free solo continues that tradition. Plus, it’s the best piece of rock in the world, so that’s always nice.”

Alex Honnold
Courtesy of National Geographic

Honnold’s ascent of El Capitan has received the bulk of the attention recently, but Honnold has made plenty of other climbs that are also mind-blowing. Before tackling El Cap, Honnold made free solo ascents in Zion and Yosemite National Park.

Here’s a look at some of the most impressive climbing performances of Honnold’s career.

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