Alex Honnold On The Responsibility of Adventure, Olympic Climbing & Reversing Climate Change

With great adventure comes great responsibility. It’s not enough to simply appreciate our natural world—we must also protect it. Preserve it. Regenerate it. All of us. And with our full attention.

No one embodies this ethos quite like Alex Honnold.

Renowned adventurer and global icon of athletic mastery, Alex is widely recognized for his death-defying ropeless ascent of El Capitan—a 3,600-foot sheer vertical rock face he climbed without a harness or any protective gear whatsoever. It was a feat that stunned the world. Landed it’s cinematic document Free Solo an Oscar. And cemented this unique and compelling individual as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

While our conversation back in 2018 covered this incredible accomplishment, much has transpired in Alex’s life since the whole Free Solo affair. So this conversation takes a different tack, exploring a different side of Alex. We steer clear of the more well-trod terrain and topics he has exhaustively fielded at this point and instead venture into new life experiences and other interests post-Free Solo: Alex as storyteller, podcast host, climbing historian, environmentalist, activist, husband, and more.

The crux of today’s exchange is Alex’s environmental work with The Honnold Foundation.The impact he’s made thus far. He’s intentions for the future. And the steps he intends to pursue to help reverse environmental degradation: the greatest existential threat to life on Earth.

We talk about the challenges of combating the climate crisis and why his current passion is solar and renewable energy.

We also discuss his new turn as a podcaster, co-hosting the newly released Climbing Gold, a special miniseries of climbing-centric stories that explore the past, present, and future of the sport. In addition, Alex shares some insight into climbing’s debut at the Tokyo Olympics.

But overall, the most important lesson Alex imparts is the responsibility of the adventurer. To be a climber, skier, cyclist, runner, or outdoor enthusiast, you must also be an environmental steward—and take personal action to preserve and sustain nature’s finite offerings.

The visually inclined can watch our exchange on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Alex is wise, remarkable, and someone I deeply admire. My hope is that this conversation will inspire you to think more deeply about how you can positively impact the world we all share.

Peace + Plants,

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Thanks to this week’s sponsors

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Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering and show notes; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics; portraits by Ali Rogers & Davy Greenberg; copywriting by Georgia Whaley; and theme music by Tyler Piatt. Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis.

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