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Home » How I Climbed a 3,000-Foot Vertical Cliff – Without Ropes: Alex Honnold (Transcript)

How I Climbed a 3,000-Foot Vertical Cliff – Without Ropes: Alex Honnold (Transcript)

Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold – TED Talk TRANSCRIPT

Hello. I’d like to show you guys 30 seconds of the best day of my life.

So that was El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park, and in case you couldn’t tell, I was climbing by myself without a rope, a style of a climbing known as free soloing.

That was the culmination of a nearly decade-long dream, and in the video I’m over 2,500 feet off the ground. Seems scary? Yeah, it is, which is why I spent so many years dreaming about soloing El Cap and not actually doing it.

But on the day that that video was taken, it didn’t feel scary at all. It felt as comfortable and natural as a walk in the park, which is what most folks were doing in Yosemite that day.

Today I’d like to talk about how I was able to feel so comfortable and how I overcame my fear. I’ll start with a very brief version of how I became a climber, and then tell the story of my two most significant free solos. They were both successful, which is why I’m here.

But the first felt largely unsatisfying, whereas the second, El Cap, was by far the most fulfilling day of my life. Through these two climbs, you’ll see my process for managing fear.

So I started climbing in a gym when I was around 10 years old, which means that my life has been centered on climbing for more than 20 years. After nearly a decade of climbing mostly indoors, I made the transition to the outdoors and gradually started free soloing.

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