B1 Intermediate US 159 Folder Collection
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On June 3rd, 2017, I became the first person
to free solo El Cap by myself without a rope.
Alex Honnold, the young climber who made it to the top
of El Capitan, no harness, no ropes attached.
He scales walls higher than the Empire State Building,
and he does it without any ropes or protection.
I assume you love climbing, right?
- I mean, I assume you love it. - Yeah, yeah.
I do love climbing.
I think Yosemite's the most beautiful place on Earth.
It's home to so many of the most iconic walls in the world.
There's always a bigger challenge, there's always something
to be inspired by in Yosemite.
Before I started making the film about free soloing El Cap,
I'd been dreaming about free soloing El Cap for many years
and had never even really tried or put any effort into
it because there was no accountability.
I never told anybody that I wanted to,
I never put any effort into it,
basically it just kept never happening and I reached
a point where I was like, someday I'm gonna be
a middle aged man and look back and be like,
how come I never even tried, you know?
Like, why did I always want to do this thing but never
did it and never even put any effort into it?
And so, a piece of advice for anybody trying something
that's very hard for them or for something
that seems like sort of an impossible goal,
is to just steadily broaden your comfort zone over time.
Basically, consistently do things that are slightly harder
for you in the right direction,
not necessarily specifically towards that goal,
but sort of keep broadening yourself until eventually
it seems possible.
I think actually climbing affords a lot of opportunities
for self-reflection and measuring self growth because
the rock never changes, and so each season
you can come back and climb the same routes
and you see your own personal growth.
I mean, climbing on El Cap is a perfect example,
because I climbed it for the first time, I think,
in 2006 and it took us 22 hours, I think,
And then this last summer I climbed that same route
in less than two hours.
So it's nice to see that level of growth over a decade.
The thing about free soloing, which is climbing without
a rope, is that there's such a psychological component
to it. It's not just the physical difficulty,
It's also, Does it feel slippery?
Does it seem scary?
Like, is there an insecure move?
So, I'd like to differentiate risk and consequence.
I mean, the consequences are definitely death.
If you fall off the wall, you're definitely gonna die.
But the risk is sort of the likelihood
of actually falling off, and the idea is that
with enough preparation, with enough training,
you can mitigate the risk.
I mean, I think that the idea was that with two years
of preparation, the risk for me was approaching zero,
even though the consequences were still super high,
at least the risk was very low.
So, to free solo El Cap, I put maybe two years
of direct effort into it, but then beyond that,
I put another 10 years of sort
of indirect effort, free soloing routes
that are very similar, but not exactly the same.
And then, once it seemed like El Cap was maybe possible,
then I put two years of effort into it.
But then the final six months I knew that it was possible,
I knew that I could do it and I wanted to do it.
So then I was single-mindedly focused
on free soloing El Cap.
And so for those six months, I was training way too much,
like working out a lot, eating really well, really focused.
And then there's the whole preparation on the route itself,
because there's physically and mentally preparing for it,
but then there's also practicing the route itself,
which means just spending a lot of time on the wall.
And so for me, one of the challenges was sort of to hit
them both in the sweet spot, you know to do the solo
while I still felt strong, but also felt prepared enough.
I guess one of the takeaways from free soloing El Cap
is that if you want to do something very difficult,
you just have to put in the time and the effort,
you just have to put in the work.
I think for me, it was easier because I love climbing
so much and I love the process so much
and the goal was so inspiring.
Basically, it hit all the sweet spots.
Where El Cap is so impressive to me and so inspiring,
and I love the actual day-to-day effort involved,
So it was easy for me to put in that level
of effort because I was inspired for it.
So I mean, maybe the takeaway is that if you want
to do really difficult things, make sure they're things
that you actually want to do.
You know, like be inspired by the work that you're doing
and then put in the time.
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One Wrong Move Is The Difference Between Life and Death | Alex Honnold

159 Folder Collection
Annie Chien published on July 18, 2019    Rebecca translated    Evangeline reviewed
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