You probably remember last year when a courageous solo climber scaled El Capitan in Yosemite National Park… without ropes.
That climber was the internationally renowned Alex Honnold, who defied gravity to conquer the famous 3,000-foot granite wall in 3 hours and 56 minutes.
Honnold now lives in Las Vegas, and this weekend he’s presenting at Red Rock Rendezvous, one of the biggest climbing festivals in the country.
Honnold said Las Vegas is known around the world as one of the best places to climb and is unique in the United States.
“There is nowhere in the country that you can climb outside year-round,” he said.
He said Southern Nevada has excellent winter climbing at Red Rock National Conservation Area, and summer climbing at Mount Charleston.
The excellent climbing is one of the reasons he is opposed to a proposed housing development in Red Rock.
“Red Rock Canyon is a national wonder,” he said. “Vegas can expand in every direction. It doesn’t need to expand towards the one prize jewel of conservation.”
At this weekend's Red Rock Rendezvous, which is open to the public and open for beginner climbers, Honnold will talk about his famous climb of El Capitan.
“It was something I had been dreaming about for years and years,” he said.
It took months of mental and physical preparation. For the physical climb, Honnold said he prepared for a year and a half to climb by himself without ropes.
“Certainly, free soloing puts you in touch with your own mortality,” he said.
But talking about death or the risks of climbing is not his favorite subject.
“We’re all going to die. It’s more about how we’re going to live our lives,” he said.
(Editor's note: This interview originally aired March 2018)
From Desert Companion: Rock Talk: A Q&A with climbing legend Alex Honnold
Alex Honnold, professional rock climber