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Alex Honnold Free Solos Moonlight Buttress
Submitted By: John McNamee on Apr 4, 2008

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This popped up on the Utah Regional forum on April first but I discounted it as an April fools' joke... Now I'm thinking it might be true... Amazing send!

Please note this is unconfirmed and the joke might still me on me!

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 1, 2008
From: broomdigiddy
Apr 4, 2008
I have yet to receive the confirmation from AH himself at work but the rumor is for sure spreading. Hopefully have a 100% answer by Monday. That would truly be amazing.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Apr 4, 2008
I wish rumors like that would start about me.
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Apr 4, 2008
Maybe not post it as a news item until the rumor is reliably confirmed?

Name is spelled Honnold.
From: broomdigiddy
Apr 4, 2008
The rumors are true. Alex did in fact solo Moonlight.
Pretty sweet.
By Chris Weidner
Apr 4, 2008
One ramification of Alex's free-solo is that he shattered the free climbing speed record: the new record stands at 1 hour 23 minutes, base to summit.
By Greg DeMatteo
From: W. Lebanon, NH
Apr 5, 2008
I literally had a hard time sleeping at first last night thinking of being up there on those thin cracks with no rope. I was thinking last week of what it would take to pull this off and little did I know it was already in the works. If I'd have to have guessed I'd have said it wouldn't have happened for another decade. Mind blown.
By Josh Gross
Apr 5, 2008
Crazy, hope he lives through his wild years! His true potential will be unreal.
By Joseph Crotty
From: Broomfield, CO
Apr 6, 2008
Moonlight Buttress Topo

Are the free grades in the topo currently accurate?
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Apr 7, 2008
I would argue pitch 5 (the Slot) should be 12b, not 12a. Also, there's a boulder problem at the start of "pitch 4" that's harder than 11d. Otherwise that topo is accurate.

Truly amazing.
By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Apr 7, 2008
I heard that Alex dropped a 800 foot static line down the climb and then worked it for 4 days using a minitrax prior to his send.
By AccessFund HQ
Apr 7, 2008
Sac-town, baby. 916.
Way to go Al.

Kid's a stud.
By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 7, 2008

If you put a ladder up the route, I don't think I would free solo it.

Alex's ascent is mind blowing...
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Apr 8, 2008
83 minutes?!!! That's like almost 15 ft a min without stopping, I don't think I can climb 5.8 that fast. I think this guy must have crawled out from under the tarps at Area 51!
By scott e. tarrant
From: Fort Collins
Apr 8, 2008
How little reaction this is generating freaks me out as much as his solo! Am I alone in feeling that this is HUGE? The 12 of you who have posted seem to understand the magnitude...this is N.I.A.D., Croft on Astroman, yes, Reardon on R.M...this is the 4 min. mile, this is the freaking moon shot... understand that I do care that another 8' piece of rubble was sent at V16 in the middle of "I could give a crap, America", but it seems that priorities need adjustment when that gets more press than this (type of thing). Maybe not directed at those who have posted but truly, how many people knew of Reardon BEFORE he stomped R.M.? How many people knew of Honnold before this? I heard of some uber kid stomping major objectives in the valley one month (and then nothing...) as an aside in one of my rags, I heard more about another piece of construction debris (read: boulder) that finally fell to a sit start variation of the original V__... I know that A.H. would attribute much of his success to this exact thing and that is really not my point or concern. I like to boulder, I like clipping my up slag heap "x". That is what we do. That is, in my opinoin, not terribly exciting. This is! This will not happen again. We will see (very few) more solo ascents of Moonlight, but we will never see another first solo ascent. I am terribly impressed and enthused. I hope this rant is understood to not diminish anything but simply to highlight a thing that has shaken me to my core! I have been planning a free attempt of Moonlight for a few years. I will NOT ever climb this bottom to top without falls. I plan to fully seige it. Portaledges, food and wine, the whole vertical camping arsenal. Several days of working out some pitches. that, for me and I dare say 99% of the rest of the world, would be a mind blowing and extra ordinary experience. As said below, I would not solo this if there was a ladder!

Blah, blah, blah.

Thanks to AH for having the onions to aspire / inspire at such a high level.
By Peter Franzen
General Admin
From: Phoenix, AZ
Apr 8, 2008
I think that part of the reason that more people aren't outrageously excited by this news is because it's a free-solo. Free-soloing something like the Moonlight Buttress is on an entirely different plane of danger than a cutting-edge sport climb, boulder problem, free route on El Cap, or even a Himalayan ascent.

Very few people can relate to what Alex did, and even fewer have the desire to repeat it. Anybody can try to pull off the ground on The Mandala, anybody can rope up and work the moves on Just Do It, and hundreds of people claw their way up El Cap every year. Pretty much nobody in their right mind would consider attempting a solo like this.

Sure it's amazing, but for most climbers I'd say that it's more of a novelty than anything else. Feats like this are impressive to say the least, but high-end free-soloing is not going to be the next "big thing" in climbing and (in my opinion) doesn't really advance the sport all that much.

You always hear free-soloists talk about how personal and introspective their solo ascents are, and I think that is where the greatest gain is to be had with this achievement. This is huge for Alex, big for other soloists, and a "hey that's impressive in a death-wish-sort-of-way" for 99% of climbers.
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Apr 8, 2008
I guess I'd have to respectfully disagree Peter, unless you think that all of Henry Barber's free solos were a "novelty" and "didn't advance the sport that much". He raised the level of climbing in almost every area he visited, putting up harder routes than previously existed, free-soloing many of them.

I feel that it allows the next breed of climber to visualize what is possible. Using your line of logic, we would never have landed on the moon. IMHO
By scott e. tarrant
From: Fort Collins
Apr 8, 2008
With fear of distracting this thread from what was accomplished, I humbly agree. I will also argue however that this accomplishment is a very antiseptic and accurate storypole of excatly where our sport is. It was so when Derek soloed The Diamond (x3 in a day), when Croft soloed Astroman, and not dissimiliarly, when Skinner/Piana freed The Salathe. I contend that this, more than most anything going down today, represents for this current generation and for all who follow an absolute line in the sand. You are absolutely correct in that this will not be the next "big thing" (thank goodness) but it is, no matter, a big thing.
By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 8, 2008
Respectfully, I don't agree at all with what Peter wrote.

My first thought is that most people don't know that much about Moonlight, thus they don't realize what is involved.
My second thought is that while it is a gigantic step in rock climbing, especially in the U.S. It is not in the "unheard of" arena. I am trying to remember how hard that Dolomite solo was by Huber a few years ago.

Plus, the solos of the Eiger, and other climbs in Europe and the big mountains are pretty damn incredible. In the area of difficulty and length, Alex's climb is way up there, but there are a lot of crazy things being done solo in the world.

But for rock climbing in the U.S., I agree, it is HUGE. A big step for someone to follow... and someone will follow it.

I was thinking of Potter free soloing big things with his BASE rig on his back, to me that is a great progression for the sport, but this I wouldn't have been able to imagine.
By clymbon
Apr 8, 2008
For me Moonlight Buttress was an aid route. I can (barely) imagine it being done free. Doing it free solo - that's damn amazing! I have a question: How the $^%@# do you get past the bolt ladder without aiding? Don't tell me that goes free! There's another line, I guess???
From: broomdigiddy
Apr 8, 2008
There is a two pitch variation to the bolt ladder. 5.11 traverse and a 5.10 short pitch up to the rocker blocker.

I think this is a huge deal for the fact that it is bold, hard and pure. The grade of the climb alone leaves me mouth open in astonishment. AH spent the amount of days working the route that it almost took me to aid the damn thing. Its rather impressive. I would add though maybe the lack of excitement in this is in fact that
1. maybe most people don't know the route aid/or free. Maybe the piece of rock, but not the route. Could just be another hard sandstone climb in Zion. To most that have stared up at it or climbed it. This is an amazing route. One of the best IMO. Especially in Zion. Maybe it's very soon in the report as well. A lot of folks thoughtt this was an April Fool's joke.
2. it's tough to support free soloing as of course the consequences are fatal. It would be a shame to lose another kid of the future, but that is his choice to make. I do know he was asked to go do it again for photos and crap and said he was going home instead. RIGHT ON! I think that is rad. I somewhat agree with peter on this. It's hard to support what most of us consider an invitation to the mortuary.
It gets me siked to work it free. On a rope of course.
I am inspired and siked about the news and hope that AH has many bold and ground breaking ascents in his future.
By Grant Bryans
From: buena vista colorado
Apr 9, 2008
While a great accomplishment, to me the future of hard crack climbing is going to go to the person who gets the second of the Magic Line....Ron Kauk is still the man when it comes to climbing hard crack.
By tradcragrat
Apr 9, 2008
Great send. By all accounts, great kid. This reminds me of Hansjorg Auer's solo of the Fish Route (3000ft 12c). Why did that get almost no press?
Apr 9, 2008
This is absolutely fucking sick! Also, absolutely too big for me to be able to wrap my mind around. Alex, your pursuit and accomplishment of your dreams inspires me to do the same with my own.
By Vince MacMillan
From: Dolores, CO
Apr 9, 2008
I am with Scott T. on this one. I heard about this maybe 10 days after being on the route myself and couldn't hardly get to sleep that night. While free-solos may not necessarily "advance" the sport, Mr. Honnold has significantly Expanded the Realm of the Possible. I hope that the whole buttress falls down before anyone else has a chance to repeat his singular performance (with no one near it, of course). And Dude? No need to die trying to top that one. Put a harness on fer f!ck's sake!
By Bruce Diffenbaugh
From: Cheyenne,Wyoming
Apr 13, 2008
HUGE, up there or beyond what the rest of us call Ball-Z. Nice Work.
By Drew Peterson
Apr 18, 2008
Listen to this interview with Hannold... pretty interesting. Seems very humble, simple, and interesting.

Click on "Coffee Talk # 34", or click here:
By James Garrett
Jun 1, 2008
I just remember aid climbing Moonlight and the starry night bivy and thinking it was huge that people even then were working on "freeing it". It was sooooooooo out of my league. Humble Honnold comes along and yes, I is a major landmark in climbing history. Still, despite the claims by some that he is merely foolhardy and sensationalistic, he IS an inspiration to a gumby like me. It is a VERY BIG deal. How together these guys must be in their heads to be up there without a rope? I share the sentiment that I hope he leads a long and healthy life. Right On, Alex!

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