Solo climber is 1st up mighty California rock without ropes

Sean Gallup  Getty Images
Yosemite’s El Capitan

On Instagram, Honnold was flooded with messages of support from other climbers.

The climb is higher than the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, the world's tallest building. They were not climbing without protection, as Honnold did, but the route is much more hard, rated 5.14d as compared to 5.12d for Freerider, the route Honnold climbed Saturday.

Caldwell gave Honnold's achievement perspective. The first one he aborted in November after about an hour when conditions didn't feel right to him. Anyone who climbs anything high is nuts, as far as I'm concerned. "He is a true explorer in every sense of the word, one who fully embodies the pioneering spirit", said Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production at National Geographic channels.

"With free-soloing, obviously I know that I'm in danger, but feeling fearful while I'm up there is not helping me in any way", Honnold told the magazine.

"Each year I would show up and it would seem just much too daunting", he said.

Honnold, 31, has become famous for eye-popping ascents that rely on his unique blend of athleticism and mental focus, ascending Yosemite's Half Dome and Zion National Park's Moonlight Buttress.

Honnold's climb, called the "Freerider", took 3 hours and 56 minutes.

The climb up 3,000-foot (914-meter) El Capitan used to take days to complete with the aid of ropes, safety gear and a partner.

Free Rider was first "discovered' in 1995 by Alexander Huber, then climbed free in 1998 by the German and his brother Thomas Huber". Huber wore a harness and was attached to ropes that would have caught him had he fallen. "I'm moved by all the messages from friends and the greater climbing community".

His previous exploits have been widely documented.

While saying he found the idea of free-soloing the monolith "out of the question", Honnold also told Pullan that he'd been studying it for years, and "El Cap is definitely doable".

The historic ascent will be featured in a National Geographic documentary.

As his stature in the climbing world and beyond has grown over the last decade, Honnold has maintained an itinerant lifestyle, living in a converted van and traveling the world. He has been training in the U.S., China, Europe, and Morocco for more than a year.

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