Podcast Ep 27: Alex Honnold, Free Solo Climber & Founder of the Honnold Foundation

Today’s guest is our friend, professional climber, and environmental advocate, Alex Honnold. Many of you will recognize Alex as the subject of the Academy Award winning documentary Free Solo – a film about Alex’s unprecedented, and likely unrepeatable, free solo climb of Yosemite’s El Capitan. He’s also the founder of the Honnold Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting solar energy for a more equitable world. 

In today’s episode, we discussed things like Alex’s life after the film’s release, and how COVID-19 has effected his day-to-day life as well as his climbing career. We also discussed current issues going on in the world, spanning from social to agricultural. It’s always a privilege to talk to Alex and I hope you find his insights as useful as I did.

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Show Notes:

3:00 – Shelter in Place for Alex. “For the last three months, I’ve just been working with no real objective. I still love the day to day but at a certain point you really wish you had a big project to work towards.”

15:00 – Foods & Diet. “Sometimes I wish I had a bunch of bad habits, like drinking and smoking or something like that, because then I would have so much more room for improvement.”

21:00 – Life After Free Solo. “Probably where the film has had its smallest impact is on my actual climbing, because my climbing goals and climbing aspirations are pretty independent of everything else. Before the film came out and certainly after the film came out, the goal has always been to be a good climber.”

33:00 – Navigating Communication. “I feel like there’s a certain individual, moral responsibility to do what you can to make a better place.”

41:00 – Feeding Humanity. “I think that, in the not too distant future, companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger and all the different types of meat alternatives will become cheaper and taste better and become better for you, and then consumers will move away from factory-raised meat.”

54:00 – Speaking Up. “Agriculture in the US is so different from what we think of. When we think of farming, we think of the caricature of a farmer living out on fields and tilling their land. And the reality is, the field is so big that tractors are self-driving with GPS from satellites and giant combines are cruising across limitless fields of corn. That’s not what anyone imagines when they think about a farm.”

1:03:30 – Internal Balance & Humanitarians. “One thing I’ve really liked about quarantine life is that I’m disallowed to travel. I’m still climbing full-time, I’m still doing what I love to do and I don’t have to have that cognitive dissonance of where I know that flying air travel is bad for the environment yet I do it anyway because it’s critical to this thing that I love to do.”  

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