(Jimmy Chin/ National Geographic
Sunday, June 4, 2017|4:01 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO– Alex Honnold had dreamed about climbing the magnificent El Capitan in Yosemite National forest with no security gear for eight years. But whenever he searched for the huge granite wall, he discovered it too challenging.
That held true till this weekend, when the elite rock climber reached the top in about four hours utilizing just his hands and feet. The 31-year-old on Saturday became the very first to climb up the 3,000-foot (914-meter) granite wall alone without a safety harness or ropes to catch him if he fell.
“I was practically elated,” Honnold stated of reaching the top in a telephone interview Sunday with The Associated Press. “I was most likely the happiest I have actually ever been. It’s something that I thought of for so long and dreamed about and worked so tough for. I suggest, it’s quite pleasing.”
Honnold, who matured in Northern California, started getting ready for his historical climb 2 years back. He scaled the route countless times, practicing it while climbing with protective gear and remembering each hole he had to grab and the way he needed to place his body until he felt comfy adequate to try the “free solo” climb.
The most challenging part of the path has to do with 2,300 feet off the ground, where there are very small holds where just a thumb can fit.
But even more challenging was conquering the psychological difficulty, he said.
“Each year I would show up and it would seem just much too challenging,” said Honnold, who has actually been climbing for Twenty Years. “To approach the base of the climb without rope and solidity, it simply feels a little outrageous. Overcoming that side of it, was the hardest part.”
Observers said his climb has actually pushed the limits in a sport that requires a high level of athleticism, risk-taking and mental focus.
“This has actually never been done before … and it’s hard to think of any person ever coming close to what he’s done,” stated Daniel Duane, author of “El Capitan: Historical Tasks and Radical Routes.”
“He is completely alone at the top of his video game,” he included.
Honnold matured in the residential areas of Sacramento where he began practicing indoor rock climbing at age 11. He left of the University of California Berkeley to conquer Yosemite and other significant summits all over the world and now lives in Las Vegas.
He was among numerous elite rock climbers whose recommendations were come by energy food company Clif Bar in 2014 following the release of a documentary about climbers who were risking their lives by forgoing safety equipment.
Honnold, who spoke calmly as he recounted his accomplishment, rejected criticism by those who say he’s being reckless by not wearing protective gear.
“I might see how for a non-climber it might seem totally ridiculous. But I’ve dedicated 20 years to climbing and probably six or 7 to this specific job so, it’s not like I’m just some insane kid who in the spur of the moment chose to do this insane thing. It took years of effort,” he said.
The climb up 3,000-foot (914-meter) El Capitan used to take days to finish with the aid of ropes, security gear and a partner. In the past couple of years, speed climbers operating in tandem and utilizing ropes have actually set records in reaching the top of the high cliff.
In January 2015, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson ended up being the very first to “free climb” the Dawn Wall– a particularly steep path to the top of El Capitan– by grabbing simply the rock and using ropes only to catch them if they fell. They did it in 19 days.
Honnold is first to climb up the iconic rock alone without security in simple hours.
“To climb up without ropes where the tiniest slip is actually deadly in that arena needs enormous self-discipline and focus,” Duane said. “It requires this extreme cognitive effort to keep fear at bay and concentrate on the job in front of you.”
He stated Honnold has an unusual capability to manage worry and his body for an extended period of time.
“He’s revealed awesome grace under pressure,” stated Hans Florine, a fellow climber who with Honnold holds the speed record for climbing up the Nose path of El Capitan in about 2 hours and 23 minutes.
The historical ascent will be included in a National Geographic documentary.
Associated Press writer Daisy Nguyen in San Francisco added to this story.