Nat Geo Interviews Alex Honnold

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As the release date for his documentary film Free Solo approaches, Alex Honnold has sat down with National Geographic for an insightful interview. The man who climbed El Capitan without using ropes now finds himself to be quite the celebrity, even before the movie about that climb is released. That’s an unusual spot for Alex to find himself, as this somewhat shy and reserved climber takes center stage for the entire world to see.

In the interview, Honnold discusses a wide array of topics, not the least of which is climbing in Yosemite. He calls it his “favorite place in the world” and lauds it for its “big, clean, sheer, perfect faces.” But he also says you don’t have to be a world-class climber to love the park, as he also has hiked most of the trails there and finds them to be exceptional too. Particularly the ones that have been decommissioned by the Park Service, as they are all-but abandoned and often more wild and rugged.

Other topics of conversation include comparisons of climbing in Yosemite to Morocco, as well as Europe and Asia too. Honnold discusses how the rock differs in other parts of the world, He says that he has now put up new routes on each of the seven continents, which is something that not many people can say. Over the past decade he has gone from a dirtbag climber in Yosemite, to a well-known celebrity in the climbing community and that has opened doors he hadn’t expected. Because of this, he’s been able to climb in places like Jordan, Patagonia, and Antarctica, amongst numerous others.

As a guy who has climbed some of the biggest walls in the world –– sometimes without ropes –– you would think Honnold would have no fear. But in the interview he reveals one thing that still gets his knees knocking –– public speaking. Alex says it has gotten better than what it was like in the beginning, but it is still a bit scary for the man who feels more at home on a granite face.

To read the entire interview, click here. And check out the trailer for Free Solo below.

Kraig Becker