Alex Honnold Solos El Capitan | The ‘Most Dangerous Rope-Free Climb Ever’

“Free-soloing is easy to understand. He went up this giant face without a rope. If he falls, he dies.”

840 metres of imposingly vertical rock – El Capitan seen from the valley floor. Photo: Mike Murphy / Wikimedia Commons

Alex Honnold has completed a feat that many in the rock climbing world thought impossible by scaling Yosemite’s famous El Capitan cliff without safety ropes or a harness.

Honnold took just under four hours to complete the “Freerider” route up the 840m-high rock, which takes most roped climbers days. National Geographic magazine, who were filming the climb for an upcoming documentary, said that it “may be the greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport”.

“It may be the greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport”

The iconic expanse of rock known to climbers around the world as “El Cap” been a bucket list item for serious climbers ever since the first ascent by Warren Harding in 1958, but the sheer length and difficulty of the multi-pitch climb meant that many believed it would be impossible to “free solo”, or scale without safety equipment.

Rated a 5.12d in the US climbing grades system (equivalent to a 6b in the UK) the climb was described as “the moon landing of free-soloing” by National Geographic. Even for a climber of Alex Honnold’s ability (he is widely regarded as the best free solo climber in the world) the feat is a staggering achievement.

“So stoked to realise a life dream today,” Honnold tweeted after the climb.