Alex Honnold, 23, the extremely talented American climber over in the UK with a group of friends at the moment has made the third ascent of The Promise, James Pearson's short gritstone route at Burbage. The Promise received its second ascent last week from fellow American, Kevin Jorgeson, taking an hour to do so (UKC News).
Alex used the original sequence and thought the route English tech 7a, or sport 8b, with an E grade of E8. Kevin, using a different sequence thought E8, 8a+/b R, or V8/9 (Font 7B+). Both climbers placed a couple of bouldering pads at the base of the route.
Who is he?
Alex Honnold, from Sacramento, California, started climbing aged 10 at a local climbing wall. Alex is well travelled and excels at all types of climbing: bouldering, sport (up to 8b+), trad (including nasty overhanging off-width cracks like Bellyful of Bad Berries) but he has really got attention with his soloing of long multi-pitch routes, inspired by climbers like Peter Croft, John Bachar and the Yosemite Stone Masters.
In September 2007 Alex soloed Astroman (5.11c, 10 pitches) and the Rostrum (5.11c, 8 pitches) in Yosemite Valley in a single day.
Then this year he made two outstanding solos which have really raised the bar.
On April 1st Honnold soloed Moonlight Buttress (V 5.12d, 9 pitches, 1,200') in Zion National Park, Utah, in eighty-three minutes (UKC News). Many American climbers could not actually believe this when they first heard of it. English climber, Dave Birkett who has led Moonlight said at the time, "It's an unbelievable ascent. Honnold's solo is one of the most impressive I've ever heard of - pitches of E4, E5 and E6 all stacked on top of each other".
Then just over a month ago on 6th September Alex made the first free solo of the Regular Northwest Face (VI 5.12a, 23 pitches, 2,000') on Half Dome in Yosemite which he found more difficult, physically and psychologically, to free solo than Moonlight, telling Alpinist magazine that,
"All the hard stuff is at the very top... it's uncertain till the very end. [The Regular Northwest Face] is less secure and way harder than Moonlight. Moonlight is pumpy, and that's all—if you don't get pumped, it's no issue. Moonlight I had totally dialed, but this was more of an adventure." (Alpinist News)
Alex is also quite the alpinist with solos of the ten peak Grand Traverse in the Tetons, Wyoming and Peter Croft, Dayle Mazzerella and the late Galen Rowell's Evolution Traverse, 9 peaks and 8 miles in California's Sierra Nevada range.
Alex Honnold is sponsored by Maxim, The North Face, Black Diamond and La Sportiva.