Alex Honnold Half Dome FREE solo

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
     First, the winner of the 4 FREE permits to hike Half Dome on Saturday June 12 is . . .  is  . . . John Q. Nobody!  I got NO entries  – so that is a good sign. It means the hundreds of readers out in blogland ALL have their permits.  Or no one could figure out that my April 22 talk is in Santa Rosa. Whatever. I tried.  By the way, Reader Karend needs 4 for June 6 and Collette needs 4 for June 18. Holler if YOU have extra. Sorry, I don’t have any for then. So I will give away the June 12  permits at my next REI talk.

     Alex Honnold of Sacramento is a true human fly.

In pst blogs I’ve mentioned his September 2008 FREE solo up the face of Half Dome. The first free solo of the Regular Northwest Face. That means big wall climbing with no rope, pitons, parachute, nada but his chalk bag and guts. You slip then and you push up daisies. Honnold is 24 and literally lives in a van. He dropped out of UC Berkeley to focus on climbing. I don’t know why – there’s much money in climbing – just endorsements. It’s not yet an Olympic sport. A free soloist isn’t slowed by a belayer or burdened by the 15 pounds worth of equipment a roped climber carries.

The film of his fete is called First Ascent Alone on the Wall and was shown at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. The 24-minute film has not been released but it will be available for purchase in the US as a DVD box set late this summer. I found this version of a teaser <here>. It’s Spanish language, but the video is awesome. And <here> is an American short that lets you see Mr. Honnold at the office. What’s next? El Cap?  Only Honnold and Dean Potter seem capable of such a dangerous attempt. Wow. Scary stuff.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The good and tough mountain-climbing flesh is not my final home and I’ll creep out of it and fly free and grow!” – John Muir, 1872
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


5 Responses to “Alex Honnold Half Dome FREE solo”

  1. Luis Says:

    Wow, I can’t believe I spaced the time on this. I’d actually had the email setup to send exactly at 8:00.01, automatically, on my computer. Unfortunately, I’d put PM..

    Reading comprehension 101, I suppose. Rick, if you’re not going to use the permits, this appreciative reader would love to take them off your hands.

  2. mrhalfdome Says:


    The contest is still on… gee if you reply with the correct answer, you just might win the tickets!! :>)

  3. BellaBike Says:

    Hey Rick, that’s Italian, not Spanish. Interesting video, though.

  4. sab airie Says:

    There seems to be some confusion. Hans Florine is in the ascenders group too. Dean Potter and Hans Florine both soloed Half Dome during their (independent) link-ups of Half Dome and El Capitan (Nose) perhaps 10-12 years ago. What Alex Honnold did differently in 2008 was that he free soloed while they rope soloed. In English for all the rest of us ( 🙂 ), that means they had a rope that they could use for protection, for the most dangerous / difficult parts. He did not.
    (Information source: Alex Honnold, Tahoe Mountain Film Festival, December 2009.)
    There may be others who soloed Half Dome. I don’t know. And I assume we’re talking the Regular Route. There are perhaps 50-80 routes on that rock. Snake Dike is one of them and it gets free solos by the dozens each year.

    • mrhalfdome Says:


      Thanks for your comment. I am not a climber and will defer to your knowledge if you are.

      The film “Alone on the Wall” documented the Honnold FREE SOLO up the Regular Northwest face of Half Dome. The film was shown at the Banff Film Festival and made the USA circuit. I have the DVD and the bulk is of his Utah “training” free solo to up the 1100 ft Moonlight Buttress. He did Half Dome without support and ropes – alone. So “free solo” is the operative phrase. My hat’s off to Alex. …and Dean and Hans. Stay safe, dudes. The big question – who will try to go up El Cap free solo?


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