Alex Honnold solos Zion's Moonlight Buttress

Some thought it was an April Fools joke.

Who would, or could, free solo Zion's Moonlight Buttress (V 5.12d; 1,200 feet)? No joke, it turns out, and the climber was Alex Honnold, 22, of Sacramento, California, who recently turned heads with a spate of free solos in Yosemite Valley, as well as a cutting-edge onsight of Noah Bigwood's trad testpiece Bushido (5.13c), in King Creek, Utah. He didn't make the solo on April 1 on purpose, Honnold said: “It's not like I plan my climbing around the date. It's not like I even know the date most of the time,” he jokes. Honnold currently lives out of his van and meters time by days on rock and days of rest.

Honnold is a self-proclaimed finger-crack addict, and Zion fit the bill perfectly. “For me, the entire [Moonlight] is pure fingers... awesome, glorious fingers,” he said. Honnold also repeatedly described the entire climb as “locker.” “In a lot of ways it was less heady than stuff in the Valley,” Honnold said, “'cause it's straight finger crack — it's more secure. There is some face climbing, but it feels crisp — it feels secure.” (The “stuff” he climbed in the Valley included free soloing the V 5.11c climbs Astroman and the Rostrum in a day.) Such a long, difficult solo, especially on soft desert sandstone, is for most out of the realm of possibility or reason, but Alex, say those who've climbed with him, is a rare breed of climber: modest but supremely confident.

Read the report by Justin Roth at Climbing.com.

Read Dave Birkett's thoughts on this ascent HERE


This post has been read 28,718 times

Return to News from April 2008


8 Apr, 2008
People on the SuperTopo forum were initially sceptical because the reported solo was dated April 1st ... A jaw-dropping achievement.
8 Apr, 2008
Armchair climbers <holds own hand up> will want to know that this is the token trad route featured on the Chris Sharma "King Lines" DVD.
8 Apr, 2008
Also repeated, not sure if flashed, by Dave Birkett last autumn. I'll find out.
8 Apr, 2008
Wow.
8 Apr, 2008
"...I turned on my iPod at the beginning, played my Top 25, rocked that to the top, and had a couple songs to spare" Jesus!
More Comments