Solo climber is first up El Capitan without ropes

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SAN FRANCISCO >> Alex Honnold had dreamed about climbing the mighty El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without any safety gear for eight years. But every time he looked up the massive granite wall, he found it too daunting.

That was the case until this weekend, when the elite rock climber reached the summit in about four hours using only his hands and feet. The 31-year-old on Saturday became the first to climb the 3,000-foot (914-meter) granite wall alone without a safety harness or ropes to catch him if he fell.

“I was pretty much elated,” Honnold said of reaching the top in a telephone interview Sunday with The Associated Press. “I was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s something that I thought about for so long and dreamed about and worked so hard for. I mean, it’s pretty satisfying.”

Honnold, who grew up in Northern California, began preparing for his historic climb two years ago. He scaled the route countless times, rehearsing it while climbing with protective gear and memorizing each hole he had to grab and the way he had to position his body until he felt comfortable enough to attempt the “free solo” climb.

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Christianna Fjelstad


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