Alex Honnold: A look at the rock climbers’ life with girlfriend Sanni, journey through El Capitan and net worth

Alex Honnold: A look at the rock climbers’ life with girlfriend Sanni, journey through El Capitan and net worth

ALEX Honnold is the most famous rock climber in the world.

He released an Oscar-winning documentary about climbing a 3,000-foot vertical rock face with no ropes in 2018 — here we take a look at the fearless daredevil’s life and work.

Alex Honnold is the first person to free solo climb El CapitanBarcroft Media

Who is Alex Honnold?

Alex is a 38-year-old rock climber who rose to fame in 2018 after climbing the world’s most famous rock face, El Capitan, without any ropes — a style of climbing known as free soloing.

Alex free solo climbed the 3,000-foot vertical wall, the first person in the world to do so.

Born in Sacramento, California, Alex began climbing at the age of five and dedicated the rest of his life to the activity.

For most of his adult life he has lived in a van or tent, claiming it’s the most efficient way to live as a climber.

El Capitan is one of the most famous rock climbing spots in the worldNational Geographic

His climbing career began to take off in 2012, when he solo climbed the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome, a 2,000-foot wall in California.

The climb was featured in the film Alone on the Wall.

In 2014, his sponsor Cliff Bar cut him along with four other free solo climbers, saying they are “taking the element of risk to a place where we as a company are no long willing to go”.

Then the peak of his career came in June 2017 when he free soloed El Capitan, in a feat described as “one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, ever”.

Alex’s jaw-dropping climb was the subject of his film released in September 2018 titled Free Solo.

Alex Honnold’s documentary Free Solo has already won six awardsNational Geographic

Who is Alex Honnold’s longtime girlfriend Sanni McCandless?

Sanni McCandless, Alex Honnold’s girlfriend, has a tough time in Free Solo coming to terms with the probability of his death when he climbs El Capitan.

She is a transition coach for adventure focused individuals who want to create more intentional lifestyles.

Living in Las Vegas in the winter and with Alex in his van through the summer, the couple have been through a lot together.

Alex revealed the news that the couple had tied the knot via Instagram on September 13, 2020.

Do Alex Honnold and Sanni McCandless have any children?

Yes, the couple have a daughter, June, who was born on February 17, 2022.

Announcing the news on Facebook, Alex posted:“June J Honnold, was born at 10:30pm on Thursday, February 17th.

“Things started well but after a long labor she was getting distressed so I went into an unplanned c section.

“June was not breathing when she came out and she barely had a heartbeat.

“She went straight to intensive care before we could see or hold her and we weren’t sure if she would make it.

“The doctors got her stabilized but they were worried about side effects from lack of oxygen.

“Since then, June has been making a tremendous recovery.

“She was quickly weaned off her ventilator and the doctors think she’s going to be just fine.

We got to hold her and start breastfeeding for the first time on Monday.

“We came home from the hospital on Tuesday night and we’re hoping to bring her home very soon.

It’s been an intense week, but we’re incredibly grateful for every moment with her plus all the amazing staff who took care of her.

“And also thank you to our family and friends for all the support this week.

We’re still in a bit of a fog and not answering a lot of messages and calls but we appreciate all the love coming in.”

What is Alex Honnold’s film Free Solo about?

The film follows Alex in his journey preparing to free solo climb El Capitan, the most famous rock climbing wall in the world.

It stands at 3,000 feet and is a vertical climb that appears almost completely flat in some places.

Alex was determined to complete the climb without ropes for over a decade and is the only person in the world do have done so.

In the documentary, directed by Elizabeth Chair Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, we see Alex’s strained relationship with his girlfriend due to his obsession with climbing.

There is also a view into how the structure of Alex’s brain might have affected his ability to experience fear — a possible explanation for why he was able to overcome the seemingly impossible feat of staying calm whilst always one tiny slip from death.

The film grossed over $10million, making $5million in box office profits over five weekends.

The film won a host of awards, including the 2019 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

Alex is now one of the most famous rock climbers in the worldNational Geographic

What is El Capitan?

El Capitan, Spanish for captain or chief, is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, California.

It’s around 3,000 feet (900m) high and formed from granite.

A popular spot for rock climbers, Alex Honnold is the first person to climb the mammoth rock face without using any ropes.

El Capitan was first climbed by Warren Harding in 1958, a challenge which took 47 days and included using fixed ropes along the length of the route.

It took Alex a matter of hours to make the climb using no ropes.

Despite now being a millionaire, he still lives out of a vanNational Geographic

What is Alex Honnold’s net worth?

The rock climber has a net worth of around $2million (£1.6million).

Despite his fortune, Alex still lives in a van.

This is due to its mobility and the obvious efficiency in relation to his climbing career.

Is Alex Honnold in Valley Uprising on Netflix?

Alex is one of the climbers featured in the 2014 documentary, Valley Uprising.

Available on Netflix, it goes into the 50-year history of rock climbing in Yosemite Valley — charting the birth and rise of this rebellious counterculture of bin diving and wild parties that clashed with the conservative values of the National Park Service.

Capturing both the struggle against both the laws of gravity and the laws of the land.

Does Alex Honnold feel fear?

After a doctor approached him at a book signing, concerned with the functioning of his amygdala (the part of the brain that triggers fear), Alex agreed to an fMRI scan of his brain in 2016.

The result of the scan was that he does indeed have an amygdala in his brain, but it wasn’t “firing” when he was faced with gruesome images that most wouldn’t even be able to look at.

Doctor Jane Joseph who took his scan says: “It could be the case that he has such a well-honed regulatory system that he can say, ‘OK, I’m feeling all this stuff, my amygdala is going off,’ but his frontal cortex is just so powerful that it can calm him down.”

Honnold is not the only well-known free climber.

Daredevil Remi Lucidi died after plunging 721ft from the top of a 68-storey skyscraper in Hong Kong after climbing the tower for an Instagram stunt in July 2023.

Six incredible freesolos by Alex Honnold

HURT — In 2022 Alex traversed over 7,000 metres of a vertical face up the serrated, broken ridgelines in and around Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas. He called the feat Honnold’s Ultimate Red Rock Traverse or HURT. He said: “All in all it was a pretty remarkable day in the canyons.”
Freerider — Alex was the first climber to free solo El Captain in Yosemite, Californai on May 3, 2017. Freerider sits off to the left side of The Nose of El Captain’s buttress, topping out at 3,300 feet abouve the valley floor. His solo took just three hours and 56 minutes.
University Wall — Honnold completed the first free solo of University Wall in 2014 to reach the top of The Chief in Squamish, near Vancouver. Speaking of the feat he said: “It’s always represented that burly crack climbing style to me. It’s like the hard-man version of Astroman.”
El Sendero Luminoso — Alex made the first free solo of El Sendero Luminoso, El Potrero Chico, Nuevo León, Mexico in 2014. He completed the climb within three hours.
half Dome — In 2008 Honnold was the first person to free solo the Regular Northwest Face on Hlaf Dome, Yosemite, California. After completing the climb numerous times, four years later he did it in one hour and 22 minutes. Speaking of the stunt, he said: “Hey, we’ve all gotta die sometime. You might as well go big.”
Moonlight Buttress — Alex free soloed Moonlight Butress in Moab, Utah in 2008.“The grade doesn’t reflect the difficulty because it’s pure endurance 5.12c. It’s a matter of having the fitness for a general, sustained pump,” explained Honnold.

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