Here is my second crack at writing about someone that inspired me, and maybe some others. They are moments so utterly manly I call them “Hold my Beer”.
Alex Honnold climbed the route known as Freerider on El Capitan free solo. That’s no ropes, no partner. It involves a complex system of cracks and a notoriously hard section about two-thirds of the way up with holds the width of a pencil. Guides say to allow four days to do the climb. Mr. Honnold did it under four hours. (See photographs of his ascent.)
One more time: Guides say to allow four days to do the climb. Mr. Honnold did it under four hours. You talk about a state of FLOW, this guy had it.
If one could possibly set aside the fear, the fatigue, and nauseating vertigo to attempt this, and if one could muster the courage, the endurance, and the patience required to do this… how would one arrive at the conclusion that one was ready? When asked of doubts, Honnold answered “Not so much. A couple years ago when I looked at the wall it was more fear than anything. I’d look at it and be like, “Oh my God that seems daunting.” But because of all the preparation and all the time I’ve spent visualizing and imagining, by yesterday I was like, “This is going to be awesome.” Ask yourself; how much prep would you have to do in order to finish something 20x faster than what most guides recommend? How much visualizing would you need to feel “awesome” about making one mistake and plunging to certain death.
While the physical side of it is quite a bit of work — going up on the wall day in and day out to memorize moves, to check different sequences and figure out the best way to use the holds that feels the most secure. But the mental side is the bigger unknown. That’s the part where you just imagine the whole experience and process it for a long time and then wait until you’re ready.
What is your Free Solo El Cap? How long are you willing to work to get it right? How will you summon the courage to say “Hold my Beer”, and move forward when the time is right.
~~Wow, you made it all the way down here! ~~~
Like this story?… Inspired, even just a little?… here’s how you might pay it forward;
Please tell me about a great entrepreneur who may need help solving a big puzzle. or…
Please tell me about an A Player who would be a great addition to a founding team.
For more, check out Lydia who wrote a Complete Guide to Free Climbing & Free Solo that covers everything from the key differences between them to the historical milestones of both types of climbing.