Free-Solo Climber Alex Honnold visits Austin

Alex Honnold Event

I love the outdoors!

So when I learned that Alex Honnold, a young and accomplished mountaineer, was visiting Austin for a speaking engagement, I knew I had to be there!

For those that don’t know Alex, he’s a free-solo climber, meaning he scales mountains without any ropes. Watch this 60 Minutes special on him by clicking on this link. He’s climbed notable rock faces like El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite with just his feet and hands, scrambling up incredible heights in mere hours. He’s also an ambassador for Goal Zero, the line of portable solar products we now carry on our website.

I first came across Alex during an outdoor film event, Banff Mountain Movie Festival, years ago. He was featured in a series of extreme sport short films, and given his young age, talent and unanimously likeable personality, he was very memorable. He’s now 29 and more memorable than ever!

Along with a few other Green Mountain folks, we gathered in the historic State Theatre in downtown Austin Aug. 23 to hear about his adventures and catch clips of an upcoming documentary about his climbs. I asked my colleagues that attended the talk for a few of their big takeaways:

“I’m inspired by Alex’s ‘No Big Deal‘ philosophy! It’s his way of keeping anxiety at bay during climbs.”

– Dee Thomas

“Given all that Alex Honnold has accomplished, I was amazed at his humility. His character and genuine nature are truly refreshing … It’s great to see him succeed.”

– Holly Bohart

For me, the best part of the talk came in Alex’s response to a question about whether he considers himself an Olympic-level athlete or not. He noted that he’s read about Michael Phelps, who is in the pool for hours with constant dedication. Alex felt like it’s hard to consider himself at that competitive of a level when he stays in his van for the day watching movies and eating Oreos when he’s “just not feeling it.”