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Alex Honnold, American Athlete ( August 17, 1985 - )

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So many people condemn me for risk taking, but I find it sort of hypocritical because everybody takes risks. Even the absence of activity could be viewed as a risk. If you sit on the sofa for your entire life, you're running a higher risk of getting heart disease and cancer.~Alex Honnold


Life Heart Risk

No matter the risks we take, we always consider the end to be too soon, even though in life, more than anything else, quality should be more important than quantity.~Alex Honnold


Life End Quality

I've gotten over my shyness from many years of doing public events.~Alex Honnold


Doing Events Over

Seven years ago, when I started free soloing long, hard routes in Yosemite - climbing without a rope, gear or a partner - I did it because it seemed like the purest, most elegant way to scale big walls. Climbing, especially soloing, felt like a grand adventure, but I never dreamed it could be a profession.~Alex Honnold


Adventure Free Partner

In climbing, sponsors typically support an athlete but provide very little direction, giving the climber free rein to follow his or her passion toward whatever is inspiring. It's a wonderful freedom, in many ways similar to that of an artist who simply lives his life and creates whatever moves him.~Alex Honnold


Life Freedom Passion

I know that when I'm standing alone below a thousand-foot wall, looking up and considering a climb, my sponsors are the furthest thing from my mind. If I'm going to take risks, they are going to be for myself - not for any company.~Alex Honnold


Myself Alone Mind

I'm not nostalgic for my glory days in college. It was lame for me. Probably because I had no friends.~Alex Honnold


Friends College Me

'Dirtbag' is just the term we use, like a 'gnarly dude' in surfing. Within the climbing culture, it means being a committed lifer: someone who has embraced a minimalist ethic in order to rock climb. It basically means you're a homeless person by choice.~Alex Honnold


Culture Homeless Choice

I've done routes where I've climbed 200 feet off the ground and just been, like, 'What am I doing?' I then just climbed back down and went home. Discretion is the better part of valor. Some days are just not your day. That's the big thing with free soloing: when to call it.~Alex Honnold


Home Day Free

My comfort zone is like a little bubble around me, and I've pushed it in different directions and made it bigger and bigger until these objectives that seemed totally crazy eventually fall within the realm of the possible.~Alex Honnold


Comfort Zone Crazy Me

There's a constant tension in climbing, and really all exploration, between pushing yourself into the unknown but trying not to push too far. The best any of us can do is to tread that line carefully.~Alex Honnold


Best Yourself Trying

My fantasy breakfast is just a really good egg scramble. Maybe I'll add a little feta, so, uh, obviously not totally dairy-free. Definitely some vegetables, maybe some really nice tortillas; something to make it like a Mexican-style breakfast. I just really love breakfast.~Alex Honnold


Love Good Breakfast

Anytime you finish a climb, there's always the next thing you can try.~Alex Honnold


Finish Climb You

Yosemite has the most impressive and accessible granite big walls in the world. The rock is amazing. And because of that, it's been the mecca for climbing in the U.S. - and the world to a large degree - for all of climbing history. It's the place to test yourself against the historic routes of the past.~Alex Honnold


History Past World

I'm not thinking about anything when I'm climbing, which is part of the appeal. I'm focused on executing what's in front of me.~Alex Honnold


Thinking Me Climbing

I live out of my van, which gives me a first-hand appreciation for power and lighting. A few years ago, I rebuilt the interior of my van to include solar panels and a battery that powers LEDs for lighting and allows me to charge my phone and laptop.~Alex Honnold


Power Appreciation Me

Free soloing is almost as old as climbing itself, with roots in the 19th century. Climbers are continuing to push the boundaries. There are certainly better technical climbers than me. But if I have a particular gift, it's a mental one - the ability to keep it together where others might freak out.~Alex Honnold


Together Roots Gift

We are apes - we should be climbing.~Alex Honnold


Should Climbing

I love my climbing shoes. Virtually all of my big solos have been in the TC Pros. They are the most important thing when I'm soloing.~Alex Honnold


Love Shoes Important

I like the simplicity of soloing. You've got no gear, no partner. You never climb better than when you free-solo.~Alex Honnold


Simplicity Climb Partner

There's only a handful of chicks in the world who can climb big walls on my level.~Alex Honnold


World Climb Walls

I was 19 when my father died from a heart attack. He was a 55-year-old college professor and had led what was by all appearances a risk-free life. But he was overweight, and heart disease runs in our family.~Alex Honnold


Life Family Father

Music can be useful during training to help get you psyched, and I still listen to music on easy climbs or in the gym. But during cutting-edge solos or really hard climbs, I unplug. There shouldn't be a need for extra motivation on big days, be it music or anything else. It should come from within.~Alex Honnold


Music Training Motivation

I've never really understood the criticism that climbing is inherently selfish, since it could equally be argued about virtually any other hobby or sport. Is gardening selfish?~Alex Honnold


Gardening Selfish Climbing

People think I just walk up to a sheer cliff and climb it with no knowledge of anything, when in reality, there's tons and tons of information out there, and I'm already well tapped into it.~Alex Honnold


Knowledge People Reality

Anything called the Teflon Corner is not sweet for free-soloing.~Alex Honnold


Sweet Corner Anything