Alex Honnold (born August 17, 1985) is an American big wall free solo climber. He has broken a number of speed records, including a free climb of Salathé Wall, and a 5h49m ascent of the 3,000 ft. Nose of El Capitan, a route normally demanding two to four days.
Honnold was born in Sacramento, California, graduating from Mira Loma High School, started climbing when he was 11 years old. At the age of 18 he dropped out of UC Berkeley, where he was an engineering student, and devoted all his time to climbing. Between climbs he runs or hikes to maintain fitness. He prefers big walls and sport climbing, but enjoys any climb calling for extreme commitment, Yosemite being his favorite area because of its impressive walls and unbeatable weather. He is a crack (climbing) addict and favors climbs with such problems. “For me, the entire Moonlight Buttress is pure fingers … awesome, glorious fingers.”
Honnold found inspiration from such noted climbers as Peter Croft, John Bachar and Tommy Caldwell, but, he says, not as much as the stark simplicity and beauty of El Capitan.
At a ceremony in Salt Lake City on January 24, 2010, Honnold was awarded the “Golden Piton” for his climbing achievements.