Base Camp Blog

Interview with Alex Honnold About Climbing a Skyscraper

The iconic image of Honnold on his free solo of Yosemite's Half Dome in 2010, featured in "Alone on the Wall."

7/25/13 - This fall, Alex Honnold will ditch real rock to climb one of the world's tallest skyscrapers. Here's the kicker: National Geographic will feature the stunt live in a two-hour special.

The particular skyscraper won't be announced until a later date, but Honnold told Climbing that he "chose a building the same way I'd choose a normal rock route. It had to be climbable, aesthetic, inspiring, etc. Basically, it just had to look rad."

Sender Films' Pete Mortimer and Alex Honnold had been tossing around ideas since they finished filming Honnold 3.0 (a film featured in REEL ROCK 7). "The whole idea and TV project was a long evolution," says Honnold. "The thing that TV stations were the most psyched on was a building,"

Though he can't disclose the date, Honnold says he'd "be psyched to go do it next week, but it's on the TV network and building's schedule, not mine."

Honnold is a household name in the climbing community, but he rose to mainstream fame when CBS' 60 Minutes featured him in October 2011 (watch the video below). The segment focused on his free solo ascents, like the Chouinard-Herbert (5.11+) in Yosemite. As far as free soloing a skyscraper, he says, "I'd like to, but we'll do what we need to make the building owners comfortable with everything... It's all a lot more complicated than just climbing a huge cliff outside."


Previous Comments

I have to say, Alex seems like a pretty nice guy. My son, 13, has just gotten into rock climbing and loves it. He did a week-long summer camp at Rockreation in CM, which then turned into THREE weeks of camp because he loved it so much. Today I walked in to pick him up and he's freaking out, "Mom! The guy who climbed Half Dome (super Yosemite fans) WITHOUT A ROPE is HERE!!!!" He was doing a clinic and was nice enough to talk with him for a few minutes and take a pic. Seriously made my son's day...even though he'd just heard of him, now he's a HUGE fan! Excited to see him climb this building. Mountains, boulders, indoor climbing, buildings...what's the difference?! And if it were me, hell yah I'd want to get paid for my skills, who wouldn't?!

Julie - 08/29/2013 5:01:01

Alex alex alex, dump the stunt man. Oh WTH, go for it. Grab the cash while it's there. But for god sakes dude, watch your axe. It always seemed to me that third classing for fame and fortune was just asking for bad karma. I know the dude is into it but he's got a huge ego also even though it's often hidden. you don't do this shiz without one. And you don't shamelessly self promote without one. Shame on climbing's fox for the article misnomer. But given her other articles, I'm not surprised. more pablistic stuff is hard to imagine. I

Pub drought - 07/29/2013 2:25:26

Article title misleading, hardly more than an advertisement. No meat on this bone. As far as doing it for the money? Please, if you had any clue you'd know Alex chooses to live in the back of a minivan, going around climbing as he wishes. Quite apparent he doesn't care for fame or money, truly a humble dude.

Dan - 07/29/2013 8:06:05

My real issue is with the title of this article. It is hardly an "interview" it should really be titled "advertisement for Alex's new TV project". No offense meant to Honnold, but can't the editors do a bit better?

Grumpy - 07/26/2013 3:52:55

Even IF this was just for the money, I feel it would be justified (seeing as most of the world does lame jobs "just for the money"). However, this does seem really rad to me. Whats wrong with climbing buildings? Did you guys ever enjoy climbing on a jungle gym when you were a kid. Rock climbing is basically an outgrowth of that and it is fun to be out climbing even if the setting is in the middle of a populated city. To "D" and "Bob"... What moral codes have been ingrained into your head that says adventure only exists in the wild and the only things you should climb are rocks? Alex inspires all of us with amazing adventures! Why not support him as he inspires/awes the entire world? I'm tired of people giving other adventurists shit for not doing something %100 inspiring. And on that note I'm done ranting and am off to climb a desert tower in Moab.

James - 07/26/2013 2:28:17

Anything for a buck I guess... still pretty lame though

D - 07/26/2013 2:13:19

This sounds like a lame idea to me. Thank you for the publicity stunt Honnold I hope you make some money and get people interested in climbing buildings.

Bob - 07/26/2013 11:55:00

Come on now Amanda, you mean to tell me you get an exclusive Q&A with Honnold about climbing a building and you didn't ask him if it would be an onsite solo and whether the style would be hands, fingers or off-width?

Eric - 07/25/2013 6:13:07