Alex Honnold Climbs Yosemite’s El Capitan Without a Rope

On Freerider, one of the most daunting physical and mental challenges Honnold faced was two pitches of steep, undulating expanse of rock about 600 feet up. Polished smooth by glaciers over the millennia, the granite here offers no holds, forcing a climber to basically walk up it with his feet only. Honnold used a delicate technique called “smearing,” which involves pressing his rubber shoes against the rock to create just enough grip to support his weight on the incline. He had to keep his weight perfectly balanced and maintain enough forward momentum to avoid sliding off. “It’s like walking up glass,” Honnold said.

This is impressive madness. It’s interesting to see someone doing something for the first time. The interview with him afterwards was interesting too. He was so nonchalant about and chill about it. First Interview With Alex Honnold, Climber Who Scaled El Capitan Without a Rope