Alex Honnold: super solo on the Yosemite Triple
Alex Honnold has doubled his takings: after the fast ascent of the trio Mount Watkins, El Capitan and Half Dome with Tommy Caldwell, between 5 and 6 June the 26-year-old US climber carried out an incredible and fast solo ascent of the Yosemite Triple once again.
The news couldn't have made bigger waves: in Yosemite Alex Honnold has soloed the Triple Crown. This in its own right would be massive news, but there is more, since the 27-year-old climber from Sacramento linked Mount Watkins, El Capitan and Half Dome in a single, lightening fast push. More than 2000 meters of (difficult) granite face climbing. A performance which is quite simply... out of this world.
The ascent has stunned the mountaineering world and the amazement is palpable. Also because few might have expected such a feat, seeing that just a few weeks ago Honnold had climbed the same triple together with Tommy Caldwell in less than 20 hours.... But Alex upped the ante with his new solo version which is only partially comprehensible when broken down into its single units: Mount Watkins in 2 hours 20 minutes, 6 hours for The Nose up El Cap during the night (and not via Freerider as with Caldwell), plus the final sprint up the famous Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome to finish early the next morning.
There's more... another detail needs adding: Honnold managed to climb almost 95% of this triplet free. "I just use gear on the hardest parts" explained Honnold in an interview published on The North Face website "So I free soloed probably 6,500 5.10 and 5.11 and I did other things for the other 500 feet or so."
After the three routes Honnold admitted "OK, that was a big deal" and this is certainly the first time we have ever heard him state that he has done something special. Truly special we might add. Knowing these routes and the rock faces, his ascents are hard to believe and comprehed, let alone imagine.
More information will be needed, but what is certain is that this will be talked about in the future, long term. In the meantime, while it is impossible to compare, these ascents certainly hold a place among the most incredible free solos of all times. What perhaps counts most though is that this latest feat seems a perfect interpretation of that "Honnold-style" which we have learned about over the last few years. This extremely dangerous game of soloing needs to be interiorised, experienced and suffered. It's not something for everyone. On the contrary, perhaps it isn't suited for anyone at all. What is clear is that soloing is never recommended. It's for all these reasons that when someone interprets and lives this style with the grandeur of Honnold, like Auer on the Fish route or Alex Huber on the Hasse Brandler to name but another two, then all you can do is think: "these guys are crazy!" And then take your hat off!
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