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It’s not very often that a late night talk show host has a climber as a guest, but five weeks after Alex Honnold claimed the “Super Bowl of free soloing”, Jimmy Kimmel felt compelled to invite the other type of rock star on his show.


For several years, renowned rock-climber Honnold made no secret of his ambition to free solo the world’s most famous big-wall, but the actualization of his dream on June 3 nevertheless boggles the mind.

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Honnold’s rope-free ascent of Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan, is already being touted by National Geographic as the “greatest feat of pure rock climbing in the history of the sport.” Climbing under a bright blue sky, Honnold made his way up the 3000-foot granite wall in just under four hours before pulling his body over the rocky lip of the summit at 9:28 AM PDT. A team of filmmakers, led by Jimmy Chin, one of Honnold’s longtime climbing partners, and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, captured the ascent for an upcoming National Geographic Documentary Films feature.

@alexhonnold composed and casual free soloing (sans cord) 2000ft above the deck on the Enduro Pitch of Freerider yesterday. Alex's process to prepare for his dream of free soloing El Cap has been an incredible, and sometimes stressful, journey to witness and be a part of over the last two years while filming him for a feature documentary (co-directed by @mochinyc). In some ways I expected (and prayed for) nothing less on his big day but it was still mind bending to see how relaxed he was in the final days leading up to the climb and of course during the climb – as seen here locked off reaching full extension with mere finger tips in contact to granite, feet smeared on nothing. What I've learned over the last 10 years about Alex is he isn't the kid that shows up to do well on the exam. If it counts, he's there to ace it, knock out the extra credit questions and finish early. I'd say he aced his final exam yesterday with extra credit for style and composure. When he got to the top, he looked at me and said "I'm pretty sure I could go back to the bottom and do it again right now." Congrats bud. You crushed. It was historic, it was brilliant, it was moving beyond words. Thanks to all of Alex's climbing partners who supported along the way and especially to one helluva film crew for staying committed through thick and thin doing some of the best work I've ever seen. So so proud of everyone. See the @natgeo link in my bio for more.

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While the skills necessary for Honnold’s climb were a lifetime in the making, he has been training specifically for his conquest of El Capitan with a globe-spanning climbing tour over the past couple years.


In the spring of 2016, Honnold and fellow climber Cedar Wright, traveled to Kenya’s Mt. Poi, where the pair overcame choss (rock unsuitable for climbing), wild animals and general debauchery to claim “character-building” ascents of Africa’s biggest big wall.


Later in the year, EpicTV’s Climbing Daily was in Fair Head, Northern Ireland for a climbing festival, when Honnold started soloing an intimidating E8 6b-rated cliff — fittingly known as The Complete Scream — directly below where they were setting up to film. What followed was the most gripping 16 minutes of climbing they had ever documented.


Honnold and Brazilian climber Felipe Camargo travelled to Getu, China to attempt one of the longest, steepest roof climbs in the world: Corazón de Ensueño. Dani Andrada first climbed the 8-pitch, 14b sport route in 2011; Camargo and Honnold — climbing with a broken back — became the second and third to tackle the incredibly challenging rock.


In more recent preparation, Honnold was joined by fellow North Face athlete Emily Harrington for a walk up the Incredible Hulk to take on “Solar Flare” (5.12d) in the same Sierra Nevada mountain range that is home to El Capitan.