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Alex Honnold – The man behind Free Solo

“I was making more money, more than I needed. So it kinda came from that disconnected where I felt, I had more than I needed and I realised that there were a billion people on earth that had less than they need and so I started my foundation as a way of trying to bridge that, as a way of trying to do something positive in the world”

Honnold Foundation. Can you tell more about this organisation? How was it born? What have been the threads that influenced you the most on this matter?

The Honnold Foundation basically came about because I was travelling more as a climber and seeing more of the need in the world but then at the same time I was becoming more professional and basically making more money, more than I needed. So it kinda came from that disconnected where I felt, I had more than I needed and I realised that there were a billion people on earth that had less than they need and so I started my foundation as a way of trying to bridge that, as a way of trying to do something positive in the world. Basically I’ve been supporting an environmental project that improves standards of living or to help people in poverty.

What are your parents’ jobs?

My mother is retired now, she was a professor, she’s a French teacher, and my father also taught language but he died eleven years ago, no, like thirteen years ago, it’s crazy. My whole family is basically teachers.

How did you approach climbing?

I started climbing when I was like maybe ten or eleven years old, my parents took me to a climbing gym and I just loved climbing and kept going ever since. So I started climbing indoors and then eventually I started going outdoors like as I did it more.

How do you live the social media world? Maybe it’s just our feeling but nowadays at least many are connected to it also economically.

I’ve never been that excited about social media, I don’t really love the self promotion type side of it I don’t love promoting things but I’ve sort of being given this big platform as a professional climber so I do sort of take advantage of it from time to time to push the things that I care about like pushing the work of my foundation or supporting environmental issues, speaking out about politics and things. I do feel like having fans on social media gives me this opportunity to try to make the world slightly a better place but in general I hate having to tag my sponsors. I pretty much don’t post things like that. Technically if you read my contract it said that I’m supposed to post some social media stuff but I just don’t really bother.

Did ever happened that the sponsor asked for a climb that you didn’t really feel to do?

In general sponsors don’t really ask for climbs, they ask you to appear at events, to give presentations or to come to their office and talk about products so I’ve never had a sponsor asked me to climb something but I’ve had lot of sponsors who asked me to flying to a city and give a presentation. My climbing is always directed by myself, I climb the things that I’m excited about.

Sistematic training or not? Do you practice a particular training chart or just go by instinct?

Over the years I have climbed more than trained but in the last year or two I’ve been trying to train a little bit more systematically, it’s still very far from a real regimented training program but I’m trying to incorporate more normal training. I don’t know if it’s working that well but, you know, none of us does.

Is there any picture that you feel to describe? Has it ever happened that a photographer caused you any trouble during a free solo climb?

Normally I’m only filming or taking photos on routes that I want to so I’ve chosen specific solos and going back after the fact and taking photos on them. I don’t really want a photographer or videographer to compromise the experience that I’m having on a solo so actually honestly I’m not sure if it ever happened that the photographer caused a problem for me. Generally I enjoy having a photographer around in some ways because they are always friends of mine and you are always sharing an experience with somebody hat you like.

Is there any song or soundtrack you would like to share with us?

I don’t have any special soundtrack but I listen to mostly modern rock, kinda like Green Day or Offspring type of, the same sort of stuff I listened to when I was in high school.

How does your girlfriend feel about your relationship with danger?

I think that it’s hard for my girlfriend to accept soloing and to accept the types of climbs that I’m doing but at the same time she trusts me and she understands process and she knows that I’m making the best decisions that I can. I mean, she knows that I care about living, that I want to survive and she understands that. But I think that it’s challenging for her and I know that that makes her afraid to think about the thing that I’m doing.

We believe that you have a strong awareness about what you do and this forged your personality and made what are you know. If your son would ever tell you that he wants to do free solo what would you say?

I wouldn’t have a problem with a child deciding to free solo but I would tell them to start slowly, be very careful, take their time. I don’t think there’s anyhing inherently wrong with soloing. I think that you just have to do it well and be very careful about.

Since when you had in your mind to try to free solo?

I guess I did my first free solo when I was seventeen or eighteen, that was maybe almost fifteen years ago. Growing up in California I’ve always knew about soloing, there’s a big culture of soloing there, I knew all the stories, I cared about it and I thought it was cool. I’ve kinda always thought about it.

I don’t really love the self promotion type side of it I don’t love promoting things but I’ve sort of being given this big platform as a professional climber so I do sort of take advantage of it from time to time to push the things that I care about like pushing the work of my foundation or supporting environmental issues, speaking out about politics and things

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