SACRAMENTO — Sacramento native Alex Honnold has made history as the first person to free solo climb Yosemite’s El Capitan.
National Geographic first reported that Honnold finished the climb Saturday morning. He used no ropes or safety gear of any kind to climb the 3,000 foot, sheer granite face of El Capitan. He only used his hands, and his feet.
It’s an incredible feat of athletic ability. But Honnold’s cousin, Caron Treon, says she’s not surprised he accomplished it. Treon says he’s been climbing since he was a child, and he’s always been very careful.
“He’s very smart,” Treon told FOX40. “He goes about his climbing very meticulously.”
Others have made their way up El Capitan before. In 2015, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson were the first to “free climb” El Capitan, using ropes only to catch them if they fell. Honnold is the first in history to make the climb without ropes at all. And while it took Caldwell and Jorgeson 19 days to reach the top of El Cap, Honnold made it in 3 hours, 56 minutes.
Ryan Rougeux works at Pipeworks Climbing Gym in Sacramento, where Honnold did some of his first-ever climbing. He says, it takes incredible mental fortitude and physical strength to free solo a route like El Capitan. He believes in his lifetime, he may never see another person do it again.
“To stay that mentally focused and calm, 3,000 feet off the deck… You know, some climbers won’t ever climb El Cap in any capacity, let alone without a safety rope,” Rougeux said.
Treon says, she’s proud of her cousin. Not just for his athletic skills, but for his determination and positive attitude, at high altitude.
“I think he’s a very special person, who took what he loves and decided to turn it into what he does,” said Treon.
Honnold’s ascent of El Capitan was captured by National Geographic film crews, who are filming a documentary starring Alex Honnold. The documentary is tentatively titled “Solo.”