What Was Ropeless Climber Alex Honnold’s Closest Call?

Excerpted from National Geographic’s Adventure Blog, “Beyond the Edge

By Mark Synnott

When I called Alex Honnold for this interview, the first thing he asked was whether I had read his new book, Alone on the Wall, which he co-wrote with David Roberts.  I think he was fishing a bit because I’ve heard from a few people that he throws me (aka as “Mr. Safety”) under the bus. I took Alex on his first international expedition to Low’s Gully in Borneo back in 2009, and on that trip and three subsequent expeditions, I’ve always played the foil to Alex, openly questioning the risks he takes, and calling bull when he tries to tell me that free soloing big walls isn’t dangerous.

He told me that he’s very proud of the book, and while it’s exactly what he wanted it to be, “it’s not heavy hitting, deeply insightful, meaning of life type of stuff. I think I can do that when I’m older,” he said. “Publishing really profound memories at the age of 30 seems sort of silly.”

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