On this date in 1985, rock climber Alex Honnold was born in Sacramento, California. Honnold is one of the top free-solo climbers in the world. In free-solo climbing the rock climber does not use any ropes or protective gear while climbing, but relies only on their physical and mental strength and ability. He also does big wall climbing, which is defined as a route that takes more than a day to climb. A self-described "atheist rock climber," Honnold was taken to church as a child, but instead of finding meaning in bible readings, he daydreamed about climbing the church's rafters. Honnold began rock-climbing at age 11. He attended the University of California-Berkeley to study engineering, but dropped-out to pursue his passion of rock climbing, and lived out of his van traveling to different climbing spots. In a video made by filmmaker Chris Johnson, Honnold described why he is an atheist: " I love rock climbing, I love being outside and I love traveling. I find meaning in all those things. By not believing in an afterlife it forces you to make the most out of this life to get the most out of the time you have."
Honnold, along with climber Hans Florine, holds the world record for the fastest ascent of The Nose of El Capitan located in Yosemite Valley. The Nose is the most popular route taken to ascend El Capitan. Honnold and Florine climbed El Capitan free solo in the record time of 2:23:51. Honnold has been featured in a 60 Minutes video by journalist Lara Logan, called "The Ascent of Alex Honnold" and in a National Geographic video segment called "Alone on the Wall."
“I was taken to church for maybe five or six years as a kid and at no point did I ever thing there was ever anything going on with church. I always saw it as a bunch of old people eating stale wafers, and that’s totally weird to me.”
—--Alex Honnold in a youtube video uploaded by Chris Johnson entitled “A Better Life in Yosemite with Alex Honnold,” uploaded October 11, 2012.
Compiled by Sarah Eucalano
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