Honnold and Wright in Sufferfest 2: Three Weeks, 45 Desert Towers, 700 Miles By Bike

Dirty face, happy face. @cedarwright

Dirty face, happy face. @cedarwright

4/28/14 - Last summer, Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright endured the Sufferfest: the human-powered endurance challenge of bagging all 15 of California's 14,000-foot peaks by bike, foot, and climbing shoes. Now they have completed Sufferfest 2, a 700-mile ride through Canyonlands in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, bagging desert towers along the way.

Over three weeks, the two climbed 45 towers—a total that normally takes years even for hard-core desert aficionados. And though there were some gimmes along the way (if any desert route is a gimme), they also completed some notorious routes, including Dolofright (5.11 R) on Dolomite Tower, the chimney testpiece Liquid Sky (5.11++) on North Six Shooter, and the Northeast Arête (5.12 R/X) on the Sharks Fin in Monument Basin. Honnold free-climbed three of the most difficult tower routes in America; the Finger of Fate (5.12+) on the Titan, Ivory Tower (5.13b) on Castleton Tower, and Excommunication (5.13a) on the Priest. "I nearly cracked a rib in Liquid Sky, and nearly killed Honnold when a block flew out of Sacred Space," Wright enthused.

Installing solar panels for Navajo elders.

Installing solar panels for Navajo elders. @cedarwright

The duo ended their journey on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, where they put themselves to work helping to install solar energy systems for remote homes. "Alex has launched a non-profit called Honnold Foundation, which he is using to funnel cash into some alternative-energy solar projects that he feels strongly about," Wright said. "This year one of his big goals was to get more directly involved with one of these projects, instead of just throwing money at it. Ending on the Navajo Nation seemed like a good opportunity to raise awareness through a film and actually help hands-on with a Navajo solar project that one of his sponsors, Goal Zero, had helped fund in the past." As a bonus, the two got to climb half a dozen towers on the Navajo Nation that are normally off-limits, including a first ascent and two first free ascents.

The impressive full list of Sufferfest 2 towers is reprinted below.

Colorado National Monument
1.  Otto's Route, 5.7, Independence Monument
2. Medicine Man, 5.11+, Sentinel Spire
Fisher Towers
3. Lizard Rock, 5.9
4. King Fisher, 5.10 C1
5. The Cobra, 5.11 R
6. Ancient Art, 5.10+
7. Finger of Fate 5.12+
Castleton Valley
8. Ivory Tower, 5.13b, Castleton
9. Coyote Calling 5.12a, The Rectory
10. Honeymoon Chimney, 5.11a, The Priest
11. Holier Than Thou, 5.11c, The Nun

Six days in, about to summit Lighthouse Tower, River Road, near Moab, Utah.

Six days in, about to summit Lighthouse Tower, River Road, near Moab, Utah. @cedarwright

Big Bend
12.  Iron Maiden, 5.12a, Lighthouse Tower
13.  Dolofright, 5.11d, Dolomight Tower
14.  Infrared, 5.11+, Big Bend Butte
Arches National Park
15.  West Face, 5.11, North Gossip
16.  Be There, 5.11, South Gossip
17.  West Face, 5.11, Argon Tower
18.  The Owl, 5.8
19.  Bullwinkle Tower, 5.6
20.  The 3 Penguins, 5.10+
White Rim Trail
21.  Chimney Rock, FFA, 5.12+ fingercrack
22.  Chip, 5.11 C1
23.  Dale,  5.10
24.  North Ridge, Monster Tower, 5.11
25.  Washer Woman,  5.10+
26.  Standing Rock  5.11c
27.  N.E. Arete 5.12 R/X, Sharks Fin
28.  Sisyphus, 5.11 R, Zeus
29.  Primrose Dihedral, 5.11+, Moses
Indian Creek
30.  Liquid Sky, 5.11+, North Six Shooter
31.  South Six Shooter, 5.6
32.  Learning to Crawl, 5.11
33.  Sparkling Touch,  5.11
34.  Easter Island, 5.10
35.  Sun Flower Tower 5.10+
36.  Hoop Dancer, 5.11, Humming Bird Tower
37.  Sacred Space, 5.11,  King of Pain
38.  Powders of Persuasion,  5.11

Near Ship Rock, New Mexico.

Near Ship Rock, New Mexico. @cedarwright

New Mexico
39.   Ship Rock, 5.9
Navajo Nation
40.  Chinle Spire,  5.10 C1
41.  King Louie Spire, FFA, 5.11d R
42.  The Pope, 5.11, C1
43.  The Fluke, The Whales Tail, FA, 5.11
44.  The Whale, FFA,  5.11 R/X
45.  Eagle Mesa,  5.7X

Dates of ascents: April 2014

Source: Cedar Wright (all Instagram photos used with permission).


Previous Comments

2 of the songs from Sufferfest 2, by John Knoernschild of The Sigmaticle Tour Green, can be found here https://thesigmaticletourgreen.bandcamp.com/album/reactor-ep-2014-remastered

John - 12/18/2014 12:17:34

Just my two cents... The Navajo Nation still has it's ban or restriction on climbing on the Navajo Nation in place. Cedar just happened to speak to the right people and should you pursue this avenue (in which I do recommend) please ask and not poach climbing on our reservation. During our tenure with Cedar and Alex, we still ran into some troubles and even though I'm the 'Navajo Guide' who did take them out there, there are some that still will take advantage of you since those outside of the tribe are 'outsiders'. Please ask for permission when attempting to climb on the Navajo Nation as there are Navajo climbers that can get you access and that's the way we prefer it. Also, we had a blast witnessing these two climbers tear it up on our reservation. We hope we can be of some assistance again down the road. Please visit our Dine (Navajo) Rock Climbers Coalition page found on Facebook to get more info on how you can climb on our reservation.

Quentin Tutt - 05/06/2014 10:18:36

Yo Cedar, interested in how you got permission from the Navajo Nation. From what I understand their official policy is that climbing on their nation is not allowed. Thanks a lot. JD

JD - 05/05/2014 11:51:10

MAJOR PROPS for striking a sweet deal with the Navajo Nation! Glad to see that a mutually beneficial arrangement can be made! They aren't always open to letting people climb there, but I'm glad to see that a reasonable arrangement can be made that doesn't involve monetary exchange.

Dan Skellie - 05/02/2014 10:54:13

If you point out real behind a "reality" show your a hater. Then again am sure there is a lot of footage of the support vehicles in the film?

jabbers - 05/02/2014 7:46:27

Major props. That tick list is a half-lifetime worth of good climbing!

Nick - 05/01/2014 10:23:40

Ok, here it happened again..negative vibes to Cedar. Here is the bottom line, I think. Cedar decided a long time ago that he loved to climb and then he started climbing all the time. Now, many years later, he is still doing what he loves to do (climbing a lot and sharing these experiences with his friends and rest of the world via his movies, music, writings and pictures (his art). Among these contributions he has and is giving back to charitable causes. Negative comments are not going to change him, so just give it up out there in climber negative land! And here is a little tip to the neggies out there...you , too, can choose to climb all the time. Those neggies nagging at you will turn upside to positron emissions. Nobody starts at the top. Just do what you like to do and share the love and be happy for others!

Tim - 05/01/2014 5:27:39

Just not seeing the hate here. I enjoy reading about the exploits of the pros and I think Honnold and Wright do a great service to the climbing community as far as motivation and stretching the limits of what is possible. To contrast them to two unsupported, and unknown climbers doing a similar thing without the social media buzz is an excellent comment on not only where climbing has been and is going, but also the cultural expectation that were have to post our every move and the arrogance that everyone should be interested. Criticizing people at the top in sports is nothing new. I saw little criticism by dirtbag in his post. The only problem I have is labeling any minor critique of the sports elite as a hate message speaks more to elitist privilege than any comment dirtbag made. Time to get a thicker skin. Except for the use of the word semi-haterish Wrights response was a good one.

Jim Smith - 05/01/2014 3:54:42

Dirtbag seems a little jealous and mad at the world. Poor guy. Keep trying maybe you can still get that sponsorship.

Mike Anderson - 04/30/2014 10:38:25

I love the idea of raising awareness to social justice and other sustainability issues with climbing! Nice work all!

Kevin Soleil - 04/30/2014 9:17:54

Dirtbag... Those guys were rad, and there style was awesome. We actually shared a bottle of wine with them at Big Bend campground, we were mutually stoked on each others trips. One of them had a nasty wreck when his bike trailer got the wobbles on the hill down from Castleton, and it was looking like the climbing part of the trip was over...major bummer. To address your semi-haterish comment. I'm a huge fan of the bad ass dark horse, but am extremely grateful to live life as a pro climber . As far as the support thing... yes we were luxuriously supported. There are trade offs to the supported verse unsupported bike tour thing... especially in the desert, where there are some places it's very difficult to bike to and climb due to the lack of water. We definitely would have climbed WAY LESS if we had carried all our gear, water and food. That being said we thought about it, but decided that since I was producing a short film that it would be too much like a bad episode of survivor if we were "self-supported" while our film crew and riggers were enjoying burritos and gatorade. In the end we decided it was too contrived and opted to let our crew double as support. Last summer we climbed all the 14ers in California by bike without support, but this was much more feasible because there is plenty of water, and grocery options along the way and we didn't have to carry climbing gear because we were soloing. Cheers!

Cedar Wright - 04/30/2014 8:04:22

One of the funny stories I heard from this adventure was when these two, their two support vehicles, their cook, and entourage, ran into a couple of guys bagging towers by bike, unsupported, unknown and un-instagramed. It's all good, but it's a cool reminder that there are mystery climbers out there getting after it all the time just like the sponsored guys.

dirtbag - 04/30/2014 9:09:20

Bill, Honnold climbed Excommunication after doing the Honeymoon Chimney. They did 45 towers, with occasional bonus routes!

Climbing Staff - 04/29/2014 10:51:32

Excommunication is not listed in the 45 tower routes. Does that mean they did 46 routes? Or is Excommunication a variation on the Honeymoon Chimney route?

Bill Wright - 04/29/2014 7:27:17

Ship Rock is in the Navajo Nation--You should make sure to get that right in your list.

Matt - 04/29/2014 7:26:11