Alex Honnold Interview | The Tim Ferriss Show (Podcast)

optimal room at this altitude I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking so now I also posted [Music] phonetic organism living fish over medical facility [Music] so this episode is brought to you by 99designs when your business needs a logo website business current thumbnail or any other design I recommend checking out 99 designs I use them myself I’ve used them for many years I use them to create book cover prototypes for the 4-hour body which went on to becoming number one York Times bestseller I’ve also used them for banner ads illustrations and much more with 99 designs you get a variety of original designs from designers around the world give your feedback and then pick your favorite your happiness is guaranteed so check out some of my competitions and designs and some of your competitions and designs from fellow Tim Ferriss show listeners at 99 designs com forward slash Tim and right now you can get a free 9 million dollar upgrade on your first design so check it out 99 designs com forward slash Tim this episode is brought to you by headspace more than 80% of the people I have interviewed world-class performers across the military entertainment sports and beyond all have some type of meditative practice I tried for years and years and failed miserably the key is making it simple and you can dramatically improve your life in just 10 minutes a day and technology can help you this change comes through guided meditation and headspace is by far the most popular app for this purpose more than 4 million users it’s meditation made simple so what I recommend is that you take this practice meditation which is rooted in thousands of years of tradition supported by thousands of scientific studies and try it for 10 minutes a day for 10 days that’s all you need to do you can also check out the founder and II put it combs TED talk which has more than 5.5 million views is last name is PUD di c om de if you want to look that up but otherwise download free headspace app I have it on my phone and begin there take ten program for ten days of guided meditation completely free ten minutes a day that’s all it takes you should give it a shot headspace calm forward / Tim just go to headspace calm forward / Tim hello boys and girls this is Tim Ferriss and welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss show or each episode it is my job to deconstruct a world-class performer to tease out the habits routines tips favorite books etc that you can use whether that is someone like Jamie Foxx or a chess prodigy or a Special Operations commander and everybody in between this episode we have Alex Honnold I’ve wanted to interview a very very long time you can find him on forward slash Alex Honnold h o NN o LD he is a professional adventurer rock climber whose free solo that means no ropes no partner a sense of America’s biggest cliffs have made him one of the most recognized and followed climbers in the world if you want to sweat profusely from your palms you can watch videos of Alex and I’ll put them in the show notes at 4-hour workweek comm forward slash podcast hum is distinguished for his uncanny ability to control fear while scaling cliffs of dizzying heights without a rope to protect him and we really dig into that how he looks at risk fear addresses both in training and with these first ascent attempts and so on his most celebrated achievements include the first and only free solos of the moonlight buttress that’s a 512 D which means super hard that’s 1,200 feet in Zion National Park in Utah and the Northwest face that’s a 512 a of Half Dome 2200 feet and that is in Yosemite in California right my backyard beautiful spot in 2012 he achieved Yosemite s first triple solo climbing that means in succession the national parks three largest faces mount Watkins Half Dome and El Capitan alone and all in under 24 hours he is the founder of the hähnel Foundation an environmental nonprofit and to this day and perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of Alex he maintains a very very minimalist dirt bag climber existence and that’s meant as a slight that is meant as a compliment living out of his van and I think he’s done that for the last ten years or so despite the fact that he has big sponsors and traveling the world in search of the next great vertical adventure so we dig into all sorts of things and with that further ado I would let you hear the wide-ranging conversation that I had with Alex Honnold Alex welcome to the show yeah thanks thanks Evan I have wanted to interview you ever since I first saw footage of you climbing because I trained long ago at Mission Cliffs here in San Francisco and did top roping never have climbed outside except for Castle Rock I don’t know if you know about Santa Cruz exactly that’s where I started the kid kind of really yeah that’s where my local area so you grew up in Sacramento or not making that up yeah I grew up in Sacramento and what was your bringing like I mean if you had to describe your childhood how would you take a stab at it I had just just normal suburban life you know so I could run out of good times good times active I almost spent a lot of time Dean Mark Bell who’s a buddy has a gym called super training gym up there he’s one of the top ten in his weight class of all time that is the extent of my exposure to Sacramento’s just hanging out with him then feeling really weak which probably would have been the experience if I’d gone climbing with you even in the early days what did your parents do my parents both teachers or professors what did they teach on the taught language like English is a second language in French where were your parents born in the US or they elsewhere yeah they were both born in the US though mom was born to Polish immigrants so I mean she’s born in the US and she’s American and her parents were actually born here too but they were like a hundred percent polish like fresh off the boat so uh how did you start climbing and it’s probably a story that you’ve told a million times but how did that begin my parents just read about a gym opening in Sacramento and I thought I’d like it and so they took me to a climbing gym I mean just like you were saying a mission cliffs like there was a comparable jamming in Sacramento and so I went in there when I was maybe 11 and then just kept going all the time what was what was the first day like you described like I honestly have no recollection I was like an 11 year old and then I probably went to the gym you know three to five times a week from 11 to 18 so it’s like it all kind of blurs under like one epic Jim sessions did you know in the early days of going to that gym that you had a predisposition to it no not particularly I mean I loved climbing and I loved going in there and just playing all the time and climbing as much as I could but I was never like gifted in the way that a lot of people are gifted rock climbers and you know I wasn’t like winning the competition’s or anything I did some comps on and off throughout my teenage years and I never won you know I was never I was never super strong but I just like loved climbing all the time why do you think you didn’t win I mean what what people did wrong I love a strong meaning in what capacity I got the like the details with the so for example I mean this is kind of getting the nitty gritty but like that’s what good is about okay here we go so Chris Sharma is like basically that then the best climber in the world for the last 20 years and he was like my hero and I was a kid or you know you was one of the people I watched videos of nodes like that guy’s a man so he’s from Santa Cruz he started climbing the news 14 and when he was 15 he put up a route called necessary evil and outside of Las Vegas and it was like the first 14c in the country so it was the hardest route in America and he did after one year of climbing as a 15 year old I mean that’s like a prodigy I mean he was like freakishly strong from the get-go he could just always pull on really small she had freakishly strong fingers he’d do want our pull-ups off like anything and you’re like that guy’s gifted I was not that guy you know actually the season I tried to do that rudeness or evil this winter and I totally felt about it she’s like I still couldn’t do it and I was like Cottingham hasn’t come for 20 years and I like try pretty hard you know and I still just can’t climb as well as he did after one year well I still can’t climb as hard like I’m just not as strong as you was after one year I mean there were plenty of things that I’m probably better at than he is you know it’s all relative technique and everything what would what would some of those things be that you’re better at well it’s not necessarily but I mean not to necessarily compare you to it was that you’re here you do that he’s never done any Alpine climbing he’s never really done any big wallowing he’s probably not super efficient logistical E and you know but he’s very very strong and I’m just not strong like that but you know but I do other types of climbing for those people who are not familiar with the world of climbing could you describe some of the different types so the Alpine big wall yeah so climbing is it’s pretty complicated because it ranges to endure bouldering which is probably the simplest thing you can possibly do to alpine climbing you know climbing in the Himalaya or climbing huge walls around the world and so that involves like ice and mixed climbing where you’re using ice tools and crampons and that kind of gear and then you know there’s big wall climbing which is basically climbing huge vertical rock walls where you’re on the wall for multiple days then there’s I mean they’re just a ton of categories in the bouldering so for people who don’t know that is that’s typically its no ropes unroped it’s I mean an easy way to think of it as practice climbing right you know basically practicing movement so you’re climbing maybe three or four meters maybe five max you know but you’re climbing small small Heights that you’re comfortable falling off and landing on a pad and you’re basically just doing really hard physical moves it’s actually an easy way to comparative them to the running world between sprinting and ultra running or something like the spectrum of climbing ranges from short and super intense to super super long but obviously low intensity and I’ve avoided in more of the low intensity long-distance type of guy you know where some people are just really strong and you were attracted to that because of the relative lack of strength or was there something else that appealed to you about that um I don’t know I mean I think it might just be one of the things that I sort of naturally gravitated towards the thing that suits me but I don’t know I mean I think part of it is just that I’ve always loved climbing I like doing a lot of rock climbing and so I’ve been attracted to high volume I mean I like to like take the roots in my guidebook you know be like I want to climb this and I thought that and so I like to climb a lot of routes yeah so it’s just yeah I mean I just like climbing along it’s certainly clear I I wonder what what do you think you were going to be or would you fantasize about becoming when you grew up when you’re a kid I mean as a kid I thought I was going to become an engineer or something you know I just thought I would have some normal job and I mean when I was growing up there really wasn’t a professional climbing scene like you couldn’t really be a professional climber because the whole climbing industry hadn’t really taken off and there weren’t so many gyms and it was like a different world so I never thought that I was going to be a climber I just thought that I’d have some random job you know I’m going off the internet here so that’s a that’s a risky business yeah but you ended up at one point at UC Berkeley yep planning to be an engineer yep what type of engineering I might applied for civil engineering I was going yeah why civil I mean basically one of my uncle’s was a civil engineer how much like that’s cool and I love I liked building things and the idea of like building bridges or like big big projects like that I mean it’s appealing you know the idea of like constructing something cool do you did you collect anything as a kid or do that was way into Legos Legos okay so no there’s like over here right so the kind of large structures large walls I how long did you collect the Legos for I mean give any idea I’m not looking for timelines here but well I don’t know when I first started getting layers but probably when I was really small and then up until being a teenager basically I had a ton of Legos did you have any any like a I’m not coup de Gras is not the right expression here I’m looking for your landmark pieces or anything that you remembered I like I had friends who built like the death star out of Legos and that was like the pinnacle of their Lego career no I mean I think I had a few just epic forts and like really cool pirate ships and things and no but I never constructed anything that was like the culmination of my Lego Lego career but the thing is I think I took almost as much pleasure in destroying the things after we’re just you know because you create like the elaborate city and then my sister and I would take like a golf ball or something and just like destroy it and be like I’ll start over it’s more the process of building it that was so fun and you have one sibling idea yeah I have an older sister an old visitor how much older two years older do you talk to her much yeah we’re yeah we’re good friends Rashad’s fair amount yeah what is what does she do professionally um I don’t know it’s complicated it’s complicated just like makes the world a better place she’s she she’s lived in Portland since she went to college there and she’s like be and has never owned a car he’s like old four thirsty and she basically does outdoor participation stuff with kids and uh it’s kind of like I mean she’s basically getting like at risk it’s like a work program for at-risk youth or so I don’t know it’s like a whole thing yeah but over the years she’s also been like a middle school teacher and she’s done like you know bike programs with kids and all kinds of you know wholesome things that make make the community better if you had to pick a fixed location we’re definitely going to get to the van and everything surrounding that story but if you had to pick a place to park up in the US for say five years yeah let’s just make it a five-year timeline where would we would you pick at this point I don’t know that’s a tough that’s tough but I mean the obvious choices as a climber would be somewhere like Boulder Colorado or say Salt Lake or Flagstaff or any of the cities that are sort of know or Las Vegas actually places that are known as climbing hubs where you have great outdoor climbing all around them and I could see living any of those places if I had to like say you know I got married to somebody to live there or something crazy even like well I could see I could see being happy in any of those cities though on set love Portland too though there’s no real climbing there and it’s not a great place to to live the climate and the climate stare will look too much rain but as far as progressive cities that go it’s like probably my favorite city in the country voodoo doughnuts – unless you’re bombing yeah I’m not no I’ve been there and I was like I you know I didn’t think was that great I’m not the best yeah like yeah I was a little underwhelmed yeah could have been my blood alcohol content at the time but do you think so I want to talk about climbing and the ability to climb full-time because you touch nothing a really important point which is when you began climbing the prospect of becoming a professional climber just didn’t really exist right as an ocean I mean there were a handful of professional climbers when I started but it was like such a small there wasn’t like a climbing industry it’s really small exactly yeah and I you have a reputation for or you’re well known for living as and this is a term I hadn’t heard until I watched a documentary that Vaughn canard was in dirt bag and living as a dirt bag climber can you describe that what does that mean first of all and what is your version of that well so I mean I guess that just means somebody who is like a lifestyle climate like somebody who just lives to climb so it’s like the full-time on the road you know doing whatever it takes to be a climber I guess I mean being a dirt bag isn’t is negative thing in the climbing community right just like all that guys committed to the cause and I’m sure there’s the same kind of term for like the surf community or whatever else you know people who just like live to go mountain biking or surfing or whatever you know taking odd jobs and just like doing a thing just to to be able to do their sport as much they can and it seems I remember years ago I chatted with Stef Davis when I was wearing on the for our body seems like a very semi monastic lifestyle I mean you’re really dedicated makes me think of like the marathon monks in Japan but instead of you know running every day you’re climbing sort of the site internet lifestyle now you live do you currently used to live in a van oh yeah I mostly live in my car but then I’m overseas long way now and then when I’m traveling for work stuff so I get put up in hotels or whatever but I’m buddy I mean I’m so focused in the band what kind of been well I just sold my old man so I lived in the van for nine years and that just sold at one of my cousins because I was just kind of over I felt like I sort out good now and so now I have a dodge Promaster which I can stand in which is a big big upgrade how tellingly life I’m like 511 what have you have you kidded out this van to be suited to your new so I actually just left it with a friend of mine who built it out while I was on an expedition in Patagonia this winter and so he just made it nice I mean you know super nice bed and like a kitchen and good cabinetry and you know a refrigerator and yeah I mean it’s basically a really small apartment it’s super nice and the coming back to the industry so are there people who criticize the industry of climbing sponsor influx and the reason I bring that up is not because I’m critical it’s because I’ve seen for instance in the UFC and MMA when in the very early days it was it was really unfeasible for people to be professional MMA athlete and as soon as sponsors came in and you had that sustainability the level of athleticism and training and competency just went completely through the roof is it is there something similar in climbing I mean do you feel how do you feel about the so called climbing industry I mean I think it I think it’s great it I mean there is obviously criticism and you can find stuff online from you can always find traditionalists and stuff we were like this isn’t the way it was when I grew up so I don’t think it should be this way we’re like oh I feel like it’s corrupting the art of climbing or whatever else you know the having corporate money coming into the climbing world is tainting the the artistic experience I mean whatever I mean you know you can find criticism for it I think it’s great I mean obviously since I’m making a living from it and I’m able to go climbing all the time you know I’m very content with the whole situation but mostly I just feel like it’s sort of a natural outgrowth I mean climbing gyms are becoming much more popular because people enjoy climbing you know and so if people are into it and the industry is making money then power to it well it also strikes me is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy but a virtuous cycle in so much as the more people see your exploits Sharma people of that caliber the more they’re inspired to try climbing the better the gyms do the more classy I do not think that just was that that might be true a little bit but um I honestly think that part of is just having the facilities like the more good gyms there are in urban centers the more people just wind up trying it with their friends or whatever you know when you have like a nice bouldering gym next to a college campus like everybody tries it because it’s fun it’s sociable everybody has a good time and I feel like that sort of like grows the sport yeah so the supplies helps create the demand yeah I went to some extent but I really doubt that any particular climbing film can be responsible for like growing the whole industry you know it has more to do a ton of people like go into gyms and trying it and enjoying it and going more often yeah I guess it it depends a lot on a multitude of factors I mean with not to belabor the point or the comparison to the MMA world but like the Ultimate Fighter was kind of the breakthrough for them and then led to a lot of gyms opening yeah the climbing has never had anything quite that so totally like I don’t follow fighting it all by have even heard of Ultimate Fighter and I kind of stuff and so I don’t think climbing’s really had that you know they’re you know like big hit reality TV climbing show you know know though actually there’s they’re having a Pitchess that I gotta stop though which are pretty comical what it looks to be actual fish it’s aliens meets bouldering I like yeah oh there was an ultimate solo thing they got like pitched me once and I was like dude you can’t just take random people off the street it might train them how to solo for six weeks and then just like set them off of a big wall it’s Aikido yeah also you may as well just have gladiators fighting volumes in the pit you know it’s like like people would literally die on your television show like you don’t want people dying on TV like no no that’s exactly what we want well it’s like like are you guys kidding you know because you have to insure the show and everything like no one’s going to make this because like half your contestants are going to die like a straight-up that’s tell myself yeah we’ll have love some beer sometimes talking about exploits in television but when you are getting ready to climb something that is going to be challenging I’m not saying like a first ascent or something like that but really anything that you’re expecting to be reasonably challenging what is your self-talk sound like what is your do you have any sort of prep anything you ritual ritualistically say to yourself before you know I don’t really I don’t self talk like that but um normally if I’m planning on doing something challenging I spend the time sort of visualizing what the experience will feel like and what the individual sections so I mean with climbing there’s a there’s a component to of just memorizing natural moves so I’ll think through the sequences and make sure that I remember like which foot to move in which order and like how to do everything and then particularly if it’s the free solo or something if I’m climbing rope lists then I’ll think through what it’ll feel like to be in certain positions because some kinds of movements are insecure and so they’re just like kind of scarier than other types of moves and so it’s important to me to sort of think through how about all feel when I’m up there so that when I’m doing it I don’t suddenly be like oh my god this is really scary you know like I know that it’s supposed to be scary I know that’s going to be the move I know it’s going to feel like and I just do it so you rehearse if I hear in a sense or we have a sensation one of which I do fear yeah and I think through you know how Airy certain positions will feel because sometimes you can be all spread out with like the void below you and you’re like wow this is like quite the quite the air around me and so it’s good to have like thought about that basically to think through all potential things beforehand so that when you’re up there there’s no like unexpected thing that happens you know we were talking earlier about this this this odd-looking fellow the white bust over on my counter who is for those of you who don’t have a visual is Seneca the younger which was a gift and of course those of you who listen to that I’m somewhat obsessed compelled to read a lot of stoic philosophy and Marcus Aurelius and so on but how would you describe your if you had to take a stab at and though this is a hard question but you’re just like general how does your philosophy or philosophies of life and living differ from most people I don’t know I mean I’ve never really thought of any comprehensive life life philosophy or anything you know I don’t feel like I have a particular set of principles that it was life though I’m you know I suppose I’m pretty minimalistic and and you know meeting a fairly simple life and I mean I guess that’s basically um how I live far know what are the benefits of living simply to you aside from the ease of travel but I would imagine at this point you could probably travel reasonably easily well no I mean that’s kind of it is that um yeah just the ease of living you know basically it just cuts away everything except for what I want to be I mean because my goal is basically to climb as much as I can and that’s what I enjoy most in life is climbing into everything else to some extent is a distraction from that and so you know I basically just cut away at what I don’t need so I heard a story and this was like a friend of a friend of a friend relaying something they had heard we’ll see where this is yes like telephone yeah exactly so who knows yeah but they told this story about you free climbing and this is a very strong program I’m sorry yeah that’s right recently a big wall where at some point there were some people resting I don’t know if they’re in a how do you say bivouac portal edge movie port aliza camp thing that you’re right yeah and and you can adduct your head around the corner like hey can I borrow some chalk and they’re like ah sure and give you some chalk and then you’re like thanks great and just kind of like continued on your merry way that has anything like that happened or is that just ya know so the is a real story sort of with some details okay can you can you tell Don yeah so I was I was soloing the triple link up in Yosemite so I wasn’t free soloing but I was climbing by myself so I had a little bit of had a small rope and I got it okay this is an important distinction so yeah okay got it so solar climbing is just climbing by yourself yeah and resoling means that you’re free climbing and the free climbing means using your hands in your feet and not using gear and so if you’re free soloing it means that you’re climbing with just your hands and your feet by yourself like no gear and no anything not it but so in this case I was soloing so I had gear and I was soloing the three largest faces in Yosemite in the day so Mountain Watkins which is like way up but one end of the valley and I’d done that first and then I came down and I was climbing the notice of El Capitan through the night and in the logistical shuffle and the darkness whatever I forgot my chalk bag so I basically climbed the first thousand feet of the nose without a chalk bag and was like which is kind of a bummer I mean that’s definitely not ideal so the other statement and it actually it is actually rained a bunch today before so like the bottom pitches which is lower angle we’re like fairly wet and I was like constant trying to dry my hands on my shirt and it was just all kind of scary and so I got up to this ledge called Bowl tower which is you know about a quarter of the way up the wall and there were two groups divvied on the ledge and two of the people words like passed out in the other two guys like cooking dinner and so I pop over the one side of the legend I’m like uh hey so can I borrow a chalk bag and they were like yeah because yes like no problem you know so what do the guys gave you this chalk bag it was like completely full of like fresh chalk I was so stoked and then I took a chalk bag and then I climbed to the top of the route and then I left it like tied to the tree on top I think I got it back I met him again later and then yeah so they got their chalk bag back like four days later what do you have a particular type of chalk do you like no but I mean any chalk feels amazing when you just climbed a thousand feet a wall while you’re wet wet what is uh what’s a story and I realize a lot of these questions are kinda out there but what is a story that your your family or parents like to tell about you oh I don’t know I’ll buy us some time away think about it so the one that my parents like tell about me is I was completely infatuated with the Incredible Hulk when Lou Ferrigno’s during the TV show so to run into the into the living room when my parents had company and ripped the cushions off of the couch and throw them on the floor and yell like the Hulk and run out so my mom feels like that in some way represents like me and my tooth Valerie heuristic of yours yeah which I don’t know how to take but that’s the stories she likes so uh uh anything come to mind I don’t know I mean mom likes to talk about I always clowning on everything as a kid and how it was such a wild child but though I honestly feel like she’s kind of like she she talks about that more now that I am an actual professional climber you know I feel like had I become an engineer she would instead focus on stories of like how I always loved to play with blocks or do whatever but and my whole family would always tell stories about how I was such a picky eater and how I’d only you know Cheerios and bread and like whatever just think I don’t know but what do you we were talking just during the soundcheck about eating and I like to talk about that for a second what is your typical breakfast look like generally well so I’ve kind of gone through two main phases I guess I used to always do like an egg scramble for breakfast and now I pretty much always do some kind of mutant concoction with like fruit and some kind of alternative milk stuff and like flax seed hemp parts like random things sort of like a wholesome usually mix and then I asked you about lunch and would you have to say about lunch yeah so I I rarely eat a lunch per se I pretty much always just snack for the several hours in the middle of the day normally like a couple pieces of fruit maybe some nut butter you know it’s a bar or two or something and then I eat like a big dinner I don’t really do a pretty big breakfast in a pretty big dinner and then just snack throughout the rest why why no lunch will the no lunch thing make sense when you’re up on wall for the day or if you’re like out at the cliff or it’s just like a bunch of work to you take a real meal so I wasn’t going to get to this immediately this this early this is early for me and I’m more like that so but suppose that said I’m always premature it’s like my friend when he drives we call him a premature accelerator but that’s that’s almost every story I so this is from a friend of mine who’s an elite athlete very high level female athlete I’ll ask her main question first actually no I’ll ask the related question first so the food real hassle so the question was what happens if you have to take a on the side of a mountain meaning like so many good pooping stories okay we could do a whole podcast I see stories alright let’s give him preview like if it’s around – but yeah let’s I mean I was wondering she brought up I was like holy yeah should I go straight to my most epic dump story yes please okay so I had two years ago I guess I was free soloing this route called romantic warrior and the needles which is actually a romantic warrior yeah like it’s actually one of the most striking granite walls like in the world this was totally beautiful rude on this crazy spire it’s an amazing amazing route it’s something I thought about for a long time and it’s actually quite difficult and so I was going up there to free soul is like kind of a big thing for me and I was way stoked and typically when you get to the base of free so low that if you have to poop at all like you have to go like that you know when you’re at the base but I just like it I don’t know it just didn’t quite happen and uh and so I started climbing in that route the first 400 feet or so or like pretty moderate train and then it goes into like some pretty extreme terrain for the second 400 feet and uh so basically right before I got into the real stuff I was like oh now I really need to I was like oh man you know basically I was like oh it’s about to get real up here and like I know I need to poop and so I basically hand traversed on this little feature so the Traverse off the rigs is really poor form – like on a route because I see people have to climb now so that hand Traverse meaning you’re just traveling horizontally yeah so I sort of just like meander to the left 20 feet and this flake that I was hanging off it was like fairly big and I had a backpack on me with like my shoes and some water and some food random things that you kind of need for you know going up a long route like that and it had some teepee in it so I like shoved my backpack into this lake and I just like hung there off of it and basically just took a poop like straight off the wall just like while hanging and then you know like wipe tidied up is all good and then I put my pack bag on traverse baguette and I pitched the route it’s like so no I just want to really dig into this resilience so so I’m just like envisioning I had bats I grew up on Long Island we’d have these bats that would like crap off of the shingles and we’d be like where the hell is that from then we’d see the bat kind of perched there so okay what’s the technique here so you you’re hanging off this flake if your backpack shoved into it like legs straight and straddle bugging like a like I just sort of like I’m a semi seated crouched you know pushing away from the wall a bit and are you going like out of the bottom of your shorts you pull and down pull my shorts down just like normal like okay yeah okay yeah I mean it’s actually totally easy I mean I’d call it a space dump Space Jam yeah a climber would call it like a perfect space dump it’s just like taking a dump in a free space and it just disappears okay so what are other challenges of climbing on big walls outside something yeah don’t let that give the wrong idea because normally you try to like food better places you know preferably a toilet like or at least like bare get properly at the base or you know like being being responsible about it but like from time to time that happens you know things have a yeah what are other what are other issues that crop up that people might not think of when you’re doing these clubs well people frequently ask what do you do if you have to pee or whatever these they think I mean I think that people have the wrong impression that free soloing a big wall is just like holding on for dear life the whole time but they’re actually all kinds of little ledges like even allege the size of say a pizza tray is big enough for you to stand there comfortably no hands right and so I mean that’s an easy place so you could take a leak you could you know take a sip of water you can eat a little bar and anytime I’m on a ledge say the size is sofa cushion or something I’ll basically pop my shoes off and relax my toes for a minute because climbing shoes are quite tight so like your feet start to cramp after a while I mean there’s a lot more self-care going on up there than people might think do you carry for that self-care do you carry any other tools and you’re like I don’t know nail clippers any particular type of like well I’m just making supplication or anything nothing you don’t end on your hands but no no I mean I normally just take food water and then a pair of their produce I can walk down afterward what type of food you bring with you typically I just bring you know sports bar type will know like what’s bar I’m all and let stuff you get nailed gritty I don’t know I mean I mean I used to be sponsored by Clif Bar so I do like you know shop logs and see bars I love the Z bars the little kids Clif bars mostly because they’re kind of half size they’re like a hard calories and they basically taste like your cookie so I can’t like I always eat them because they’re just kind of delicious but now I can kind of get more into like nut butters and things though the typical free solos are short enough that you don’t really need like a full hearty meal you can kind of get by with like a pack of shop locks or like one little one sugary thing to just kind of keep you going it’s on like bigger climbs like alpinism or something where you have to take like a lot of you know fatty you like higher calorie food so this this is actually I will be the first person to admit that I actually do not know what alpinism is and but one of the questions that came up this from Kelly O’Shea one of my listeners is ask Alex about his recent achievements in alpinism what was it like as someone who’s so accomplished in one discipline to be a beginner again another type of climbing can you explain what albinism is and then how you would answer that so I open ISM I guess is basically just climbing bigger mountains or big snowy or icy faces or you know granted walls that are also covered with ice I don’t know I mean I open ism is just climbing the things that you see in posters where you’re like whoa that looks like a big scary mountain you know because I’ve always been more of a rock climber which is climbing like vertical dry granite walls alpinism it’s like when you do that in more remote places and like you hiked across a glacier you get to the bottom of some huge icy face and then you do all kinds of shenanigans to get to the top but so what what mistakes did you make if anyone first starting that type of climbing well so basically I mean I haven’t done a lot of alpinism and I still I can’t ice climb at all I’ve never led a pitcher of ice but I’ve actually done a handful of things that are considered like noteworthy Alpine a sense now but has more to do is choosing like the right partners because I go with somebody who’s like way more experienced in the air just someone who has much more of a plan and then it’s sort of about the division of labor you know like someone who’s good at one thing and I’m obviously good at the rock-climbing component of it so even though I’m a total beginner with the ice climbing with all the logistics and the camping and I dealing with living on a glacier all that kind of stuff is totally new to me but at least I know how to do the climbing pretty well so then you know you just find the teammate who complements that skillset well and then you can go on and climb all kinds of crazy things it’s an L I probably mentioned this in the intro but just in case I haven’t for people listening I’m sitting in my living room we are sitting in my living room and we have a whole likes a lynx of people surrounding us because we’re filming this now one of the one of the people here has actually been on the podcast before so Jimmy chin how does your climbing differ most from his which Jimmy Chan is predominantly a photographer so his climbing not really climbing is mostly just going up behind people take pictures I’m talking to you Joe vision no I mean but so Jimmy’s and Jimmy’s addendum classically more of a big wall climber I mean Jimmy has never been like the best freak on like you know I mean he’s not doing one-arm pull-ups on small edges and he’s not like climbing the hardest sport routes but he’s always been able to like get to the top of big walls and then been able to do that in the mountains you know with ice and snow and bad conditions and so he sort of the climbing that he’s been good at has been like farther along the spectrum of you know big and badass and the type of climbing you know because I grew up in a climbing gym and then sort of gradually extended to like big rock walls you know and he sort of started on big rock walls and then extended into the bigger mountains who when you were getting started just thinking back to say the first 10 years of climbing hell you know I’m 30 30 and old I thought I heard your joints creaking yeah ha ha I feel like yeah who were some of your early mentors in climbing I didn’t have a lot of mentors when I mean I kind of grew up in the gym just climbing a lot so I didn’t really have mentors I mean I definitely had people that I looked up to and people in the climbing community that’s just sort of the typical hero where should be style you know like Peter Croft was really prominent solos from the generation before me and I was like all Peter’s the man and uh you know Chris charm obviously was was like setting all kinds of world record type things when I was a kid and I was just like oh he’s so amazing and Tommy Caldwell was also a big hero which is Nakul beacon Agata climate song is an adult I’m just like pretty cool still always excited to comment on me but what if you were so I’m going to take like 20 different questions and hopefully wrap it into one question and we can we can take some time on this but if you were taking a let’s just say an athletic rope beginner so someone who’s never done any climbing and that has a decent athletic background right 20 25 years old and they want to get really good at say bouldering and you were going to kind of lay out give them advice or train them for like eight weeks what would you what would happen to do what what would the what would that look like I I don’t know I’d have to think about it a lot because I mean particularly with bowling it’s sort of it’s interesting so adults are more prone to injury than than kids to some a Centon especially with with something like bouldering where it’s really heavy on fingers like basically it’s really easy to injure your fingers in hands because all the connective tissue and like tendons and ligaments take a very very long time to strengthen so I mean there’s no real shortcut to to avoiding tendon injury whereas an adult like a 25 year old male would gain muscle mass super fast so really quickly they could exceed the capacity of the tendons and basically just rip their tendons out of their arms you know and so it’s like one of the things where I mean if I was trying to train somebody to be a good rock climber I would focus on on movement and technique and footwork and all those kinds of things but if somebody was like in eight weeks I have to be able to Boulder like a certain difficulty level I’d be like well I mean just start like training your fingers and hope that you don’t get injured but like obviously that’s not a sustainable like if you’re trying to be a good climber that’s not the way to do it it’s better to start with like the foundation so let’s talk about the the footwork and technique then because I believe I mean you’ve been to a ton of climbing gyms I’ve been to mission class I’m not a good climber I would not say but I can also recognize but not dissect when I see good climbing versus bad climbing right where people are just I’m just shaking like a leaf and using a haul arm strength ah what what types of advice would you give someone who want to do it the right way but they’re like alright I just I want to focus on the right things what should I really focus on and obviously the right things are movement and technique and so like how you move over the has nothing to do with how well you can hold on or like how hard you pull has to do with look you know knowing where your center of mass is and like being able to move your body around in the right ways that you can stay balanced over your feet and you can move yourself upward with your feet how do you conserve energy when you’re climbing it was I mean leaving out that the the pizza sized pizza box yes I know I mean the main ways to save energy or to keep keep your weight on your feet which is kind of the same thing to stay balanced over your feet so that all as much weight as possible is on your feet so you’re just standing and then to keep your arms straight or to keep all your limbs straight so that you’re hanging off your skeleton more than your muscles because if you have your arms bent at 90 degrees like a t-rex or something then you’re like totally engaging your bicep and your lats and you’re getting tired if you have your arms totally straight then you’re only engaging just as much muscles you need to keep your fingers holding on but everything else is relaxed because you’re hanging off your bones so I want to underscore something you said a little earlier because a lot of sort of aggressive dudes whistle in this podcast ah hit aggressive dude aggressively that mean email like eight we just felt like slap on a ton of muscle on my arms and like biceps and laps and go crush this bouldering wall but you made a really important point several one of which was that if you if you pack on a lot of muscular strength you can outstrip your sort of tendon action really quickly well Caligula is an adult I mean if you start climbing as a kid then then you gain muscle this is sort of the same you know that’s right yeah you’re in like hormonal nirvana the adolescent and this is something that also got named Chris summer coach summer underscored for me he is the former national gymnastics team coach for men’s and he was saying that unlike many other supports I get to contraindicated say use anabolics in gymnastics because all you’re going to do is end up rupturing a tendon or ligament for the same order wins yeah I totally fans chronic I what are you worried about when you go to sleep at night if anything like when you worry before you go to bed what kind of stuff do you worry about oh oh like that’s a quick 180 yeah this is good as well we’re that agree to keep with on my toes that’s what people scrub in to the podcast get confused yeah I don’t want any story line that they try to skip ahead yeah I exactly know I don’t really worry that much when I want to sleep I mean the stuff that I get stressed about is all like real life stuff with you know dealing with email and responding to calls and like you know hustlin and I don’t like doing my taxes you know like all the stuff that I’m just like not good at so let me ask this is like partially me turning this into a therapy session for my sake but I just wait now how am I gonna lie on this over here oh yeah that’s that’s usually my second place god gas the pressure could be just relaxed but the the the question I like to ask is why do this when is enough enough to fuel the climbing meaning what do you hope to do with the additional money you make above and beyond what you need to sustain climbing often because it’s not at a certain point you surpass that pretty easily but you know you’re certainly keeping busy I am you have a number of sponsors you’re tremendously good at what you do so what do you want to do I mean that is interesting because and I’ve you know thought about this a lot over the years because first day the first 5 or 7 years that I was living in the van my overheads probably 10 to 15 K a year and I now obviously make a lot more than that through sponsorship and just doing like one commercial or something you know I can make many times what I need to to live in the road for a long time and so you know part of that I mean I’m obviously saving for retirement things like that trying to be responsible of money but and then I’ve also started foundation where I’ve been giving probably a third of my income now to to environmental nonprofit things but yeah basically I mean I’m – the foundation was kind of my my response to that kind of stuff cuz I was like I just don’t need to make more of the thing as it is actually kind of fun to make more you know it’s like fun to do the random opportunities like to do a commercial project or to like give some talk to some interesting company or you know whatever I mean it’s kind of fun to be able to hustle out money like that but then it’s like equally fun to be able to you know use that money for something positive which is you know through the foundation this is what is the name of tonation conscious Donald foundation easy to remember yeah it’s like kind of douchey but like it kind of made sense I don’t think it’s big shipping as you remember it just visible the yeah so the reason I was asking about the what do you worry about before you go to bed is because they’re people I have never seen so many questions about brass balls in my life when I polled my readers four questions for you and we’ve never had an in-depth conversation but I know a lot of people say here in Silicon Valley or other folks who give the appearance of being invincible if they never worry about anything and it can be kind of demoralizing for people who feel like they need to be superhuman to achieve good things and so what I always like to ask people who are spectacular good at what they do or dig into is like what challenges they’ve had or what they struggle with so for those people who say like that guy’s got everything together doesn’t worry about anything I’m not like that what are some like what what are some of the challenges were dark periods that you’ve had if any come to mind and if the answer is none then that’s that’s it financially invincible no I mean what’s funny USB just in the last two months I’ve had two sort of random injuries that are like super annoying which I hadn’t really had any kind of injuries climbing in in years or like ever really but like last month and in April I got a I got dropped on a partner so I got lowered off the end of a rope and like compression fracture to burger in my back and I was ultra bruised and so my hips and butt and stuff you know my back’s been really tight I think kind of achy does that worked out kind of okay it was two days before I was supposed to fly to China for a climbing expedition and so I was like well all the travel time will sort of be like good rest I guess and then you know I got there and I was like creaky old man but I actually did manage to climb the thing that we were hoping to do and it all kind of worked out okay in the end but you know there’s definitely was a little touch-and-go so I was like at first I mean when I was going to the airport to fly to China I couldn’t even lift my duffel bags because like my back was too sore and everything was too too creaky and then actually just like two days ago I took a weird fall why should I took a totally normal fall but I somehow tweaked my hand in a weird way and especially mean you can probably see the back of my right yeah I was looking at them yeah my right hand is like all messed up right now and and you know I mean there’s definitely a lot of uncertainty there because I mean I I can’t even like click the power button on my phone without like pretty serious pain with my right hand right now but you know it’s been two days and it’s kind of improving and you know we’ll see like and things the forecast is rain for the next three days so I might as well I’ll have three days to rest and then you know maybe it’ll be okay or maybe it’ll be good enough that I can Elise work towards some of my other goals for the season and then by the time it’s recovered and say another two weeks I’ll be like ready to that you know do some of the things I wanted em and we’ll see which is kind of how China went I was like well you know I can at least do all the work towards what I’m trying to climb while I’m crippled and then by the time it was ready by the time I was ready to actually try to climb the route I was like oh I’m actually feeling good enough by now and I was able to do it do you ever get depressed or have you ever been depressed yeah yeah no I think I mean I think I kind of gravitated towards being a somewhat depressed person I don’t know or I don’t know actually or I’m just sort of like flat into that first part and we’ll see what we come up with so why do you say that you think I definitely oscillate to fairly high highs and reasonably low lows and I’ve been trying to take the edge like take the 20 top I think the top and bottom 20% off of those to make it a little more manageable but why do you say that you might tend towards easy I feel like I don’t have any of the highs and I kind of go from from level to like slightly below level of the back you know it’s all like it’s all pretty flat I feel like and just that when I don’t know when you dip does that is that triggered by certain types of things or is it just a cycle that comes with time um yeah maybe it’s just a cycle time it’s like sometimes you just feel useless you know but I mean in some ways though I embrace that as part of the process because you kind of have to feel like a worthless piece of poop in order to get motivated and actually go do something that makes you feel less useless but then but then ultimately that still doesn’t make you feel any less useful you just as you keep doing more so that’s perfect segue to the view the main question from the one person who asked what you do when you have to take a on the side of a wall is there or do you ever see a point where you’ll feel that you’ve accomplished all that you can and climbing whereas there always a what’s next I think there’s definitely you know I can definitely see a point where I wouldn’t continue pushing I mean there is always what’s next and climbing and um you know I mean you can always try to improve in some way or like go to new places or do first a sense or I mean you know there is always something new to be done in climbing though I can definitely see personally a point at which you know I’m like okay I’m satisfied like I’ve done wanting to do and you know yeah we’ll see you kind of though I will say climbing up more than most other professional sports has like quite a long career span kind of because of that because there’s always more you can do with like trips and expeditions and first of Sensen and there’s a really creative process to it you know as I come up with interesting challenges and it’s just sort of like do things that nobody thought up before and so yeah I mean you know they’re professional climbers in their 50s that are still like getting after it like that when when you are about to do a big climb or just a very strenuous climbing workout I’m sure if you do that anymore maybe then talk about it but how do you warm up if you do I was warm up pretty pretty gently when I can just so just um I mean it depends on where I am if I’m in a climbing gym then I just warm up on a handful of easy routes and then and then start the harder ones later I mean for the last month and half up and stretching like every morning every night because of the back thing and because how tight my hips and and everything feel right now so doing some stretching and some like light exercise to sort of warm up and then yeah when you can’t climb let’s just say you’re you’re on the road mm-hmm what type of exercise do you do I mean I try to still climb when I’m on the road I mean there’s just so many gyms and different places that you can always do that but if there’s absolutely nothing then maybe I’ll run or I’ll go high gaynor it kind of depends on what opportunities there I mean I’d rather go mountain biking than than other things or I’d rather go skiing it’s available but I mean as long as I’m getting some kind of assess I mean even like stand-up paddleboarding or something like well at least I did something today you know a lot of recreational climbers deal with as we’ve touched on earlier sort of hand issues wrist issues elbow issues I’m I mean you saw me when when you guys arrived today I had myself wrapped up in this stuff called voodoo floss because I my elbows are killing me and how have you seen climbers keep their elbows and joints in good health because there are there any particular approaches that you think have had on I don’t think there’s like an easy answer to that kind of stuff I mean I had some elbow issues for a while now it’s like 8 or 9 years ago or something but I had sort of like chronic elbow pain on and off for almost a year but then eventually it just sort of resolved and I mean I think the best way with that kind of stuff is sort of prevention you know like made maintain antagonist muscles and just sort of like stay well balanced and everything and just and if you start to feel achy Nisour pain coming on than to you know take the appropriate raster or maybe change your training to some extent basically does not to let it become a big problem because I feel like all those overuse injuries like once they’re a problem and it’s like really hard to deal with so the antagonistic muscles meaning if you’re doing a lot of say like flexor work kind of gripping that you’re going to use like finger extension and wrist extension and so on yeah so I’ve actually never done the whole extension stuff with with hands I don’t have but to me antagonist muscles are more like doing push-ups or random you know or tricep pulls or things to balance out your arms a bit ganas you do so much pulling like to be able to do some kind of pushing sometimes but what’s in your mind separates a great climber from a good climber and you can answer that everyone oh I don’t know I mean yeah I look well again I’ll ask it I’ll ask it differently who impresses you right now as a climb just one of I’m sure many but just kid marc-andre Leclerc market andre miller the student of this canadian guy he’s been doing like all kinds of create the Alpine cell line which is like wool and what makes it so crazy I don’t know it just just like kind of blows my mind a bit and it’s funny because I actually don’t ice climb or Alpine climb at a high enough level to quite understand what he’s doing even like so it’s hard for me to probably appreciate just how hard it is but then a lot of my friends who do climb at a very high level or like whoa that’s messed up I’m just like yeah respek I don’t know and for those people I want to see visuals on this stuff we’ll grab some video and links to then one of the interesting things with Mark Andre is that I don’t know if they’re like is video Mostel really oh yeah I mean it’s just going out and doing all this crazy stuff okay you’re just like it’s on it’s pretty full-on well I will attempt Jimmy you know this guy you know of them what what in your mind makes an impressive as a Alpine Alpine mr. alpine climber Bob that Jimmy hasn’t even heard any of the stuff he’s like recently been doing in the Rockies it’s like pretty crazy yeah yeah it’s like so crazy I’ll repeat for you guys listen [Music] hi Millie oh you know our generation evolution professional imported next hotness coming that like jump generation go ahead anyway he’s kind of in that case to do that people aren’t considering so he’s years so just to try to paraphrase here so his commitment level is just next-level he sort of pushing everyone else to consider things that haven’t been done usually like oh okay and though he does have a ton of experience really I mean you know cuz he’s just done so much of it yeah he’s been doing mica at any fruit yeah yeah the commitment level meeting pushing the envelope is usually predicated on experience level therefore you see the some of the older guys doing it but naughty yeah because they’re all like that’s messed up on the on the on the danger side this is a question from Paul Jones so being the first sponsored Superstar free soloing do you ever have concerns about the influence that you can have on young climbers who may not put in the mileage in the training to get to a point where they can do it as safely yeah what are the two things one I’m definitely not the first superstar whatever because they’re a bunch of European climbers who are well known for soloing who’ve you know come before me and even in the US somebody like John backer was like super well-known in the 1970s and he was on all kinds of TV programs it might not have been sponsorship in the same way that we have today because the industry wasn’t the same but he was definitely on you know like the evening news and all kinds of crazy things free soloing so on I mean I’m definitely not the first by any means and and it’s interesting because you know I was obviously a kid who was influenced by that kind of stuff but then I’ve gone through you know years and years of practice or whatever I kind of feel like soloing is a bit almost like self-regulating in a way because the thing is is that anybody can watch a video and be like I want to do that but then as soon as they climb 15 or 20 feet off the ground they start to have a very frank discussion with themselves like do I really want to do this you know like it so many feels very scary because I mean people have like an overwhelming fear response to the prospect of falling to their death you know and so I have an overwhelming peer response just watching videos well yeah exactly I mean that’s kind of the thing is that hardly anybody sees that film it’s like oh I’m going to go do that and then even even if they do once they start trying to do it I mean it is actually quite difficult to climb these walls so it’s not as if some kid can because I wander up and do that and then and even if they are strong enough or like you know well versed nuts and climbing to climb a little bit then they’re also like wow this is really really scary I didn’t expect it to be this scary and then they just climb back down no so I mean you know you know I thought a little bit about influencing kids and like you know wondering if that’s a bad thing but in general like you just don’t really see copycat things like you see it a lot more and grab the assisted sports or like action sports so like kayaking or skiing or something where like anyone can just line up at the top of a cliff and be like I’m going to hook this cliff I’m going to stick it it’s going to be sick you know and then once they sort of commit and start going it’s like they’re going off the cliff one way start the music they can’t turn it off yeah exactly but with climbing it’s like each move that you make upward is like a decision that you’re going to continue going upward you have to decide over and over like I want to keep going I want to keep going I want to keep and a certain point you’re like I don’t really want to keep going like I think Oh to go down and then you’re just like mommy you know and then like yeah I mean have you ever hit that point when it was let’s just say or started screaming for mommy well yeah it’s young for mommy or like hundreds of feet up and you’re like I don’t want to keep doing this yeah I know I’ve definitely had a bunch of time so long where I’m like I’m not into this I’m going down and what happens then because I’ve never seen footage of you climbing down well yeah but that’s kind of a practical thing is if you have people there filming with you it’s like obviously you’re doing something that you for Hurst or you know a lot about or it’s like a you know it’s a classic enough route that it’s worthy to film on like you have all those epic misadventures on things that like aren’t that well-known that you know people aren’t climbing all the time but no so I’ve had tons of experiences were especially when I was younger I didn’t really know how to reach out but I love the little maps that show you like we’re climbing your egos so I’d look at it and be like okay I think I’m climbing that big corner and then I go up there and be like this isn’t even the right route like what the heck am i doing and then I’d start like questing way to their left or right being like well maybe if I traverse 200 feet that way then I’ll get to the real root and then you’re like oh god what am i doing and then it all starts to go south with you and and then you’d clen down in an instant slow or I would like quest over some other route and escape off Westerners is just a traverse yeah weird or whatever you know over there been a couple routes where I’ve been like especially I was younger when I was soloing a route and I get up and I’ll send I’m like oh I’m on a bolted face but this route isn’t supposed to have bolts and then I’m like oh no I’m on the wrong route and you look over and you see that the real route you’re supposed to be on is like 100 meters to the right and then you’re like I wonder what route I’m on and then you’re like oh I hope it’s not hard and then you’re something like and then you start like pulling on the bolts which is cheating and you’re just like whatever it takes like get off this wall you know and so you’re like pulling on bolts and stepping on bolts and like didn’t whatever just like get to the top and then later you’re like oh I wish I knew how to read the guide book uh now so this is this is a related question from Drew cordova so there’s a video that shows alex climbing El Cap free solo where he said he was freaking out no so that’s incorrect well they’re all kinds of in krump sure there’s a video yeah just go on in all of regard on where he’s freaking out on the cliff face at one point I’d like to know from his perspective what it takes to overcome that fear okay so the video clip that he’s referring to I’m actually free so long in the face of Half Dome which is a different wall yep and that’s actually complicated because it shows me standing on this ledge on Half Dome like having a moment being really scared but we shot that film like a year after my actual free solo so I’d gone up there and soul it about myself nobody around which is kind of the point of free soloing normally and then we’ve gone back and filmed on any when we filmed on it I walked out on that ledge and I had a moment where I was a little bit afraid and then like sorted myself out turn around and and climb back but then they used the voice-over of me talking about the original experience when I’ve actually been free soloing at the year before where I had like a much more significant moment on the section 100 feet higher which is actually quite difficult climbing he’s like walking across the ledge is never that scary you know I mean like in the grand scheme of rock climbing like when you’re standing on the ledge like you’re not scared it just happened in that case because I was standing face out which is like a little off-balance and a little scary and I was like whoa this isn’t what I expected but it’s not that big a thing but the actual experience up high it was like one of the things where they caught this moment on film and it kind of went well with the voiceover they’re like all perfect yeah exactly and so it made for a great film and it definitely like shares the free solo experience pretty well it’s one of the things at first I was like I was sort of annoyed that it’s not the literal like this isn’t what happened but the thing is like nobody’s there when it actually happens so then it does share the experience pretty well so in the actual Half Dome experience what it was scary mmm-hmm even though like you mentioned earlier you kind of rehearsed what it’s going to feel like as you’re going up this this route what do you what do you and not to belabor this point but it’s it’s something I’m fascinated by what’s going through your head and had was of that particular Half Dome free solo I actually hadn’t rehearsed it that much really I sort of intentionally chosen not to rehearse the route very much because I was like oh that’s going to take the adventure out of it I want to just go up there and do it which in retrospect like wasn’t the best idea yeah but so yeah on half to him I didn’t I hadn’t memorized the sequences I didn’t really know like exactly what I should do I just knew that I could do it I knew that I’d gone out there and I’d done it it was fine and that I was able to you know in respect I probably should have spent a little bit more time and so why I got so scared was I got up to a certain sequence and I basically like didn’t want to trust a specific foothold and I was like all this feels like my foots going to slip and I don’t want to fall and then I tried to use some other fee but I was like aw this doesn’t these are worse and you know so you’re standing there hesitating being like what should i do what should I do and then you start to get all gripped like oh god what if I can’t figure it out and like you’re obviously getting more and more tired as you stand there your calves are getting pumped and you know yeah it’s just it’s traumatising all right back back in action so during a little break we’re just talking about some past lives and bitching that I want to be a comic book penciler was an illustrator for period time paying expenses in college and had this other weird side gig of bouncing which was terrible cause I was the smallest guy as a bouncer but what are the what are the best and worst jobs that you’ve that you had prior to climbing I haven’t really had that many jobs I mean I worked at the climbing gym as a kid just you know cleaning the bathrooms and doing summer camp stuff with kids and then I worked doing night security at Berkeley for first semester those there I mean I was only at Berkeley for a year and so for my second semester that I was doing ID security goes but if he’s like walking on campus at night getting paid to like look at buildings but when you read Berkeley how did you decide to leave and what was that calculus like commune hell yeah I mean I didn’t I didn’t decide to just drop out of Berkeley it was more that I wasn’t really happy there and then my first year at Berkeley I happened to get second national at Nationals and so I got invited to the Youth World Cup which was during what would have been my second fall semester and so I decided to take the semester off and then go to you know youth worlds and then travel a bit and climb and do whatever and also my father happened to die the summer after freshman year and he was part of the pressure for like going to school not really pressure but he just sort of like expected the kids to go to college said thing and then when he died it also left life-insurance money for my sister and I had to finish school and so you know that sort of allowed me to not just not go back to school and so uh yeah and so just kind of a combination of events just led me to take the semester off and then I just like you know I’m just taking the next kenner not like 20 semesters off since then were you close your dad I was fairly close to my dad I mean we weren’t super close and like talking about things and like having having deep chats but he definitely invested a ton of time in me you know he took me to the climbing gym all the time he would drive me all over the state to competitions you know he were taking camping taking outside like you know we we would be doing family camping trips in the mountains and stuff so I mean he definitely put a ton of energy into me to you and I apologize know your status do you want to get married have kids yeah I think I’d like to have a family someday so that that brings up something that I wanted to talk about and hesitated to ask in part because I’m sure you’ve been asked a million times but as it relates to mortality let’s just say that somebody came to you this was kind of two-in-one they said I have 10 million dollars and I’m going to dedicate it to you but with the following condition you have to predict how you’re going to die accurately and in that case it goes to the cause of your choosing so what would you predict and what cause would it go to um that’s interesting and if I predict wrong it just like doesn’t go anymore disappear spoof okay I don’t know I mean I think I would predict I don’t know I’m sort of 50/50 between natural causes just like dying of old age at some point or like climbing accident in the grander scheme of like not necessarily you know I falling to my death which is what people think with the free soloing but just the random stuff like you know rappelling in the mountains or like being swept by an avalanche you’re like being hit by a random rock these there’s a lot of just like random chant or not a lot but there is random chant chance involved with climbing and just the fact that I am out climbing all the time like you wouldn’t be shocking some random thing just happened to me like that though I mean that’s kind of the you know price price to play you know like if you’re going to be in those places like there is just a random random risk associated with it so yeah I mean I think and then the cause I would devote it to I don’t know some probably environment I mean basically the stuff that I’m supporting through my foundation which is you know any kind of environmental projects that like improve standard of living which has mostly been like offered solar projects or like energy access and so for off real solar and energy axis for for whom or where who like rural communities I mean I’ve been supporting a group that does that kind of work in Africa which you know makes sense because folks have no access to energy and we’ve also been supporting grid alternatives here in the States which does bike home PV systems for like low-income families basically it’s just a way to like help you know folks that need some help and a healthy environment obviously and just we took a break you were talking about we’re talking talking about books and the fact that you read mostly nonfiction what nonfiction books have had a had an impact on you or the door do you particularly like I mean in the last several years I mean some of the most noteworthy books I’ve read I guess like a people sister the u.s. the Howard Zinn book totally changed the way I look at politics and then in the same way I read a book recently called sacred economics that like totally change the way I looked at economics sacred economics yeah I was actually totally understand I forget who the author was not oh I didn’t know I will we will look it up you should the shona sacred economics is like kind of Awesome it by yeah changed my world of it what what’s what are the what’s the kind of basic thesis of security economics or is it I don’t know when the author would say the pieces but um but the things that I took away from it were well mean basically he’s sort of envisioning different systems for like a more just kind of economics you know because I mean current our current style of capitalism basically just concentrates wealth in the hands of the already wealthy you know and that’s kind of like by definition the way interest rates work and stuff like if you have a lot you’ll just continue to make a lot and that’s not a fundamentally fair system because if you don’t have anything you continue having nothing but if you already have more than you need you just get more and more and more and that’s just like not the way the world should work I don’t think or at least I don’t and so one of the ideas that he throws on the book which found totally understand was like negative interest rates so like if you have a lot it basically just like slowly doing those Wed unless you’re actively using it for things like investing it into things so you know just by having a lot of money is not going to guarantee you continue to have a lot of money unless you’re allocating it in this yeah that exactly unless you’re using it wisely to like create value but how do you assess risk whether that’s with and you can you can focus on one of these but whether that’s on a particular climb on like a business venture a decision to do a versus B how do you how do you think about risk I don’t know that’s interesting question because obviously I spend a ton of time thinking about risk but I just don’t have like a clear-cut you know like I don’t have clear metrics for like oh you know this is and it because with the climbing so much if it comes down to a feeling of like I feel a lot of fear when I think about that obviously it’s not for me yeah I don’t know exactly and I’ve never really had to evaluate business ventures and things so when let’s touch on something you just said which is if you’re very afraid of something then that’s something you shouldn’t do so do you then climb say hard routes in an absence of fear or is it present and then you overcome it that’s a good question I generally climb hard routes in the absence of fear I generally don’t go up on them unless I feel comfortable and I don’t have that fear yes though yeah though I mean it’s important to sort of differentiate fear and risk and like all the terms I guess definitely because you know I mean if there is a high level of risk I mean you should be feeling fear I mean fear is sort of that warning that you know that there is real danger and so like if there is danger present like I mean you should be feeling fear and so you know and there are times and maybe you should just suppress that fear and go for it anyway maybe not I don’t know but so with the free soloing typically if I’m feeling a lot of fear then I just you know wait and prepare more or I don’t know some do whatever it takes to mitigate that to like to feel comfortable and then and then do the climb when I feel comfortable and do you have a nice my suspicion says no but do you have a checklist like I have to do this with gear X number of times and then do this y number of times before I’m willing to free solo this or is it I don’t have a checklist but I definitely have a degree of comfort that I need to feel on the route before I’m willing to solve it what does that feel like well just feels like a certain I guess I need to have a certain amount of reserve I guess you know I need to feel like I can climb the route in a variety of conditions and and have some extra in the tank just in case you know like if I can climb the route only by the narrowest of like razor-thin margins I mean that’s probably not good enough for free so on and the definitions point is important so for instance I’m involved with a lot of speculative startups or startups whether Spectre all Rebecca yeah I mean most we would be considered very highly speculative and people say wow that’s a really high-risk investment you have a very high risk tolerance and doing things in entrepreneurship and so on and I’ve never felt that way I actually feel like I’m focused on risk mitigation at all times i and so for me I thought about at one point so like all you have really high risk tolerance risk risk risk I was like well wait a second like we should try to figure out the definition of this term that we’re using before we have a know what isn’t the thing with startups is that you’re sort of willing to lose money on a certain number as long as exactly some of them come out right no exactly so I sort of doing the math on the overall picture it’s like doesn’t matter some of them fail that’s exactly right and what’s what’s important at least in that game right is or that sport you can look at it that way is following your own rules like if you set rules yeah and you understand say portfolio theory and the math if I follow these rules is going to is going to turn out likely this way therefore I need to make X number investments yeah or at least having like a plan that you’re willing to stick to right and then not start to just get hog-wild where you’re like well this guy said that and not easy on it yeah so what I realized for myself that risk in my mind is the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome and if I look at it that way if I do something that fails if I can get back to where I was very easily then that’s not a risk it’s not a high risk for instance do you do you think you relate to risk or think about it differently than other people not only all that’s pretty much in line with the way I look at risk I mean yeah I mean with the startup stuff I wouldn’t consider that particularly risky because like obviously people make a lot of money off startups it’s just a matter of like doing it well I mean like you know playing the stock market and things like that people obviously make a lot of money so it’s not like a fundamentally risky activity just a matter of like how you do it how well you do it and obviously I’m not in either those worlds but also I mean for me it probably would be dangerous because you know I’d be like well no I have nobody but it’s because that’s not my thing like I don’t I don’t know anything about it what is the best decision you’ve ever made not to do something or a good decision that you’ve made not to do something well I think pretty much any of the three souls that are backed off of and climbed down probably all pretty good decisions I mean who’s to say I mean maybe they all would have been fine and I would have just like climb to the top not nice day but you know there’s no point second-guessing that stuff I mean if you hike and I was like but I haven’t had any like clear or like near misses where I decided not to climb something then there’s like a huge avalanche that sweeps the whole mountain and you’re like thank God I was not there uh you have very minimalist lifestyle what is what is something that you spent too much on but don’t regret or something that you spend too much on but don’t regret or a lot on too much is too judgmental I don’t know I don’t think it’s too much but um when I bought noise-canceling headphones I was like this seems really indulgent but it made my life so much better like I love traveling with noise cancelling headphones so I got favorite possession how do you use it I just thought you know I cancel noise with them yeah do you use them all the time when you’re traveling or are they like in the airport and on the plane I pretty much have noise cancelling headphones on the whole time I love it I’ll just like listen to soft music and like read my book or work my computer do whatever you know just I just like love not having all the crazy bustling noise around me the whole time what type of music do you listen to most often when you’re flying flying I do a lot of soundtracks like so it’s sort of like classically type music but you know set to Indiana Jones but say or whatever should Braveheart yeah actually I’ve never done the paper subject so like last Mohican – the favorite that’s a great contract I do you ever climb to music I’ll do easy climbing to music for sure I normally just have my phone in my pocket and we’ll just blast it like you know stereo so but that’s only if I’m climbing something where there’s nobody around and because I think it’s super annoying when you like hike up to people on a trail like a boombox going because obviously it’s like dimension their outdoor experience what do you in this case is what type of music you listen to I pretty much only listen like modern rock like hate rock and stuff like what I said but like what what yeah what kind of in I don’t know like now I was looking like Bad Religion oh we listened Metallica last night on the drive and like you know I’m a Chevelle or tool or random whatever what is something that people and this is in in quotes know about you that is wrong I mean I think a lot of people I mean certainly online commentary a lot of people think I have a death wish or like have never experienced fear like just don’t don’t care about my safety I mean the thing is if you just watched youtube videos you get the impression I just like walk up to a wall and climb it and like you sort of miss the 20 years of climbing culture that’s behind it you know the fact that I’ve there’s a huge history behind all these roots and I know a lot about them and I have tons of friends that have climbed them and I can I could like recite half the moves on them from memory you know what I mean like there’s a ton that goes into it the people like don’t see you in a 3 minute YouTube short and yeah well it’s kind of like you and Laird Laird Hamilton on the podcast right the sort undisputed king of big wave surfing people would it’s funny how people look at that and they have a different judgment than when they look at you on a wall even though in practical terms you think I mean don’t people look at his big white surf and be like that guy’s crazy he has a death wish well because I kind of do for my best over my so I think that it’s slightly the the frequency with which I hear people say that is different because they look at a wall and they’re like oh I could climb up things but they look at a hundred foot wave and somebody getting towed in on a jetski and they’re like I wouldn’t even be able to stand up on the board while getting pulled on jetski therefore assumption assumption assumption would you think of say free divers to try to break records in free diving I mean I don’t know much about it but it does seem like it’s one of the riskiest sports in the world I mean more people die doing that than virtually anything else yeah I mean it kind of goes with wingsuiting or something we’re like you know it’s fair to say that it actually is quite risky because people do actually die all the time doing it have you ever done lucid stuff no I did my FF so I like learned how to parachute out of a client on the thought that I would maybe eventually learn how to base jump or something and then I was basically like I’m not into this I’m like I don’t think this is cool I don’t like it just the just because the risk the downside was no I mean oh that’s do that um no skydiving is not dangerous you know so I mean when you’re learning out of the plane like it’s not sketchy at all but mostly I was like I just don’t like this you know and like I don’t want to devote the energy to like learning how to do this and I sort of realized how much it would take for me to to feel comfortable doing that I was like this is just on loan not to do it yeah and then as it turns out you know like one of my good friend the climbing partners died wingsuiting and then last year notably Dean Potter died wingsuiting and so I mean you know climbing has lost a lot of high end climbers to including accidents it’s like yeah I mean it is a very dangerous activity imagine Dean Potter useless it I mean I think when I hear his name I also associated with an expose liner exactly slap I you seem to have the perfect slacklining feet I’d odd me maybe taking a photograph they’re almost over yeah that’s amazing like functional feet and you slackline marginal that’s the very kind way it sort of deformed oh yeah highly functional yes do you select do slackline or what’s your PIN like slackline is like a low level you know I can like walk blindsiding for it’s just because there’s so many slack lines and campgrounds and climbing areas and things you know I definitely have done a fair amount of psyche lining and I can do some like really easy tricks and things but but no I’m definitely not a slackline and I’ve never done any high lines and I’m not like not in this like lining when you think of the word success is the first person who comes to mind for you when I hear successful yeah just the word successful I mean when you just set it up at Elon Musk but that like I have no idea because I don’t know but I don’t know that much about business I’m just like that thread is there uh is there any one that you would want to model your life after in any way um probably not but so I do like reading you know biography or something and then sort of like I have some notes on my phone of like lists from random things I’ve read you know where you sort of choose little lessons out of like a book about somebody you’re like oh like that person did these things well and those are all things that I could apply to my life but you know I wouldn’t want to model my whole life I’m somebody that’s more like you know cherry-pick hearing good lessons here and there uh which biographies have produced a lot of notes for you I was just a few times but so I read on the biography of a Brad Washburn who was like a big if you know him he was like a mouseka Explorer photographer he also ran those like a Natural History Museum in Boston I think but so he just had like a wide and varied career and he was like a National Geographic Explorer type you know he just did a lot with his life and so after I finished reading the book I was like whoa this guy like got done you know and I don’t you know I respect that and so I just like kind of thought about it what is something you believe that other people think is crazy that I believe that other people think is crazy why don’t I mean I think that my evaluation of risk and all the things we were just talking about a lot of people think it’s totally crazy but that’s because I mean I think it’s because they don’t have a full set of facts on it you know they don’t quite appreciate it in the same way that I do but I don’t know if I have any other like totally outlandish beliefs like that do you uh I’m sure you’ve had this question before but would you consider yourself a religious person give particular belief system now I’m like strongly atheist and just like not into religion at all we’re your parents religious at all and yeah mom is it be used to identify as Catholic as she’d probably still say that she believes in God though there’s no evidence of it at all you know like she doesn’t go to church anymore do anything but um yeah so as kids we were taken to church but at no point did I ever believe anything okay so there was no sort of transitionary period of us no I know a one it’s funny like even though we were being taken to church I just always thought it was all a bunch of weird stories you’re just like it made no sense to me like why would you believe in some invisible thing that you know I’m like like why would you ever believe any of that like it doesn’t make any sense it’s weird because weird that so many bad ult’s believe all that stuff cuz it still doesn’t make any sense there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t make a lot of sense that people believe to you know theater politics and else or to our offer but I this is going to be a gear shift I mean that I made a lot of years I’m grinding out the transmission of gears but of food I want to talk about give any particular thoughts on food or how do you think about eating yourself oh not literally eating yourself yeah yeah I mean I’m not much of a cook and I don’t like love food or food prep or anything you know I mean if I could I would just like take a pill and be like fully fully fed all day every day and just like sweet I don’t have to worry about it but um I don’t know I mean in the last couple years I’ve gone vegetarian which has more to do with all like the environmental nonfiction I’ve been reading it some more just as like one of the few things I can do as an individual till I really have an impact on the world but ya know I mean give any give any go to dinner so what are your most common dinners what do they look like I mean for all the years that I’ve lived in the van one of my go to dinners was like mac and cheese with with stuff in it you know like adding a vegetable yeast add tuna to it a lot of then I’ve switched just like vegetables or you know maybe some beans or whatever you’re like mac and cheese and chili so now I’m sort of easing away from mac and cheese too so I kind of stopped eating dairy but so like you know rice and vegetable stuff or like lentils or whatever keeping it simple yeah so many questions so many questions I want to ask give any morning rituals like what are the first 60 days 60 days first 60 minutes of your day look like very much always just get up and have like a big breakfast and then go climbing that’s kind of the standard when is though like it for the last two months I’ve been waking up doing some 15 minutes of stretching then eating my breakfast then going climbing just to go to the back stuff but what time do you generally wake up and go to bed I generally I’m pretty unstructured so I basically just go to sleep whenever I’m whenever I need to or whenever make sense and I just wake up whenever I try to sleep as much as I want to what is that basically in that I mean I people think they’re like all that 4-hour workweek guys like I’m asleep 3 hours a night I try to sleep 8 to 10 ya know I’m all about day to 10:00 for sure I think last night I mean I was sleeping in front of your house was my biggest Lesha I think I slept nine last night well be okay with you second that the damn yeah that’s my heart just walking my dog and I was like who’s camped out in front of my house and I was hilarious okay yeah with like the reflectors of the way I was like who is and I’m trying to kidnap me we don’t know that’s my rape leg infarction for your host was it’s one of the things like we drove to San Francisco last night and then I’m like well I don’t want to park somewhere else and have to drive here in the morning so I’m like I’m just gonna go park there I’m gonna sleep as late as possible and wake up I’m gonna come in and do progress I’m not totally shown it from for what that’s the thing about living in the car is you’re all about like minimizing the waste of time you know there’s no point like driving around in circles you just park where you need to be sleep and then do you think that’s amazing alright and if I is after and I’ve lived in a van for like ten years now you know it starts to become a routine it’s like hard to imagine like going to a hotel moving all your into a room moving it back into your car later moving the car you’re just like what a waste of time I just want to like park where I need to be so a lot of people have asked this and I’m kind of curious myself like the logistics of Alex Honnold so if you have a date date goes well what then to come back to the van I mean it’s a nice man it’s like a you call it a little mini home or whatever you know what a micro home stuff radicals yes just turning on books editor you see I have one out front yeah uh-huh you said now before you go out on the day be like just in case this goes well you put out like like like some rose petals in a bowl of water or like perfectly go back to their place a little classier do you have any favorite documentaries and movies oh not particularly I guess I mean my movie taste runs or just straight like a Hollywood action movie like total fluff you know like gladiator or something just like fun times like yeah Roger all right we’ll keep that it’s all pretty yeah it’s always pretty like unimpressive but it’s kind of because like movies because I do a lot of like reading nonfiction and stuff I feel like movies filter floss category you know like I hate heavy nonfiction like heavy documentary type sounds I just like fall asleep though it’s too much thinking at the intersection computing what movies have you seen the greatest number of times so anything you’ve watched like over and over again I have that habit I’ve probably seen the Star Wars movies a lot a lot of times but that’s partially just because I started around as a kid and have like rewash them over the years I don’t know if I’ve seen anything else like more than that probably I think I have maybe weird numbers because for each of my books I get very I feel very isolated if I’m writing at night in a dark house by myself so I was put on certain movies I have movies for each book they’re usually one or two movies that I’ll just put on repeat and I’ll put them on mute and then listen to music like the same tracks over and over and over and over again your brain might be like hardwired some weird way through well I got it that’s definitely true but I shouldn’t week I got a signed favor like I had a recommendation from this very very very brilliant and capable entrepreneur named Matt Mullenweg who’s of great coder and he always he listens to the same single track over and over again almost like a noise machine when he’s coding and I thought okay well I’ll try that with writing and it worked really really well but the movies end up being really weird because if there were movies or guitars so well for the 4-hour workweek it was the that where that think these are fine movies but the Bourne Identity mmm was the first and then for the for our body it was Casino Royale which i think is a coherence they like rocky or something so being non-stop training montages there’s a lot of fight scenes and the parkour sequence in the beginning with yes yeah yeah yeah so that’s yeah separate I didn’t know that was uh yeah so cool and then for the 4-hour chef the this is super this is the off theme completely but I was just looking for a movie when I was just getting started and on Amazon Prime the first movie that popped up was babe lunatic yeah farmer Hoggett Eggman I want time like a thousand times so I just put on repeat watch it like four or five times a night whoa go figure yeah we could psychoanalyze that hardcore hardcore aside from the noise canceling headphones what purchase has most positively impacted your life in the last say I mean six months definitely my van definitely event yeah I mean no question yeah I mean the last man that you know I bought a ten thousand dollar van and lived in it for ten years and then this new van that I bought it’s the new van so it’s obviously a bit pricier but it’s like pretty awesome I’ll probably live in there for another ten years well maybe not actually live in it but you know be based out of it uh again returning to the this is this is not directly related to the dating in the van but this is this is a question for Michael Cipriano I’ve always found climbing to have a large positive effect on my libido do you this attics find this to be the case who have climbed for my entire life so I mean maybe it explains permanent I believe is that for real that’s a real question I guess I guess I don’t know I mean that’s probably true of anybody who’s like staying active and staying fit you know you’re just like the way your body supposed to work yeah are there ways that you’ve seen lessons learned or skills developed and climbing translate to other parts of your life and if so does any any particular examples come to mind um I don’t know examined a lot from being a professional climber like having to go and give talks and like do the whole work side of climbing and that’s really like helped me grow the person and feel comfortable doing public speaking and all that kind of stuff so I think from the actual climbing itself maybe the most useful thing I’ve gotten has been sort of being able to differentiate you know risk and consequence and fear and like all these different things and sort of being able to separate my feelings from what’s actually happening you know like oh I feel fear but is that your justified because I’m actually in danger or is that like totally irrational fear that I should just squish and like move forward with something and I don’t know I mean I feel like climbing is sort of helped me understand like the different things that are going on there you know where I feel like a lot of people just like oh I’m afraid and then there’s like oh god I’m afraid you know but sometimes like I mean fear shouldn’t necessarily control you any more than anything else you know desire or fill in the blank yeah I’m not like you know when you’re really hungry you know like oh god I’m hungry I’m hungry I’m hungry they’re just like oh I’ll eat lunch in two hours you know I feel like fear to some extent should be the same way where you can just register like oh I’m feeling fear right now but sometimes that doesn’t matter I mean sometimes it doesn’t need to be like oh you know I’m about to die like I should watch out for that but but a lot of times I mean you should be able to just set that for your side and just do exactly what you’re supposed to be doing yeah so I made in a way when you’re kind of sore fear I mean you can distinguish so the varietals yeah and yeah when you experience enough fear in your life you’re like oh now I can sort of differentiate between all the different types do you drink coffee or caffeine no though I don’t have I just don’t like coffee and I don’t really like tea and but I don’t have any problem with caffeine I don’t really even notice caffeine I don’t think that much because you get it in my shop locks and gels and goos and whatever all the little energy products like some of them are caffeine and some dough and I don’t feel like I noticed an effect either way the reason I asked is that I find personally I remember I did a three-day meditation retreat my first meditation retreat and they disallowed caffeine I said no caffeine and no alarm clocks you wake up when you wake up and when I close in my life I’m on another 20-year meditation yeah I need to do more of that and I came back from that experience and went back into my normal routine which was drinking coffee at that point but a lot of iced tea like I go to a restaurant they just endlessly refill my iced tea and I felt like a complete crackhead like a misery of crack and I was like is this what my normal was holy and the reason that I brought it up is that it strikes me that at least in that state I would have a lot of trouble distinguishing the fine nuances of different types of because you’re just overwhelming you’re all jacked up on sugar form I see stuff and then you’re again like caffeine who knows yeah totally there’s like a lot going on too geologically and it’s hard to differentiate like what the what the finer points are yea the signal from the noise at what climbing grades have you plateaued the most this is from Liz Wolfe and she just said 511 plateau has been really bad for me which probably means she hasn’t got past the 511 Blanca Excel which was like mired in 511 mind no so I basically I pretty much progressed steadily to about mid 514 so like 14 B or C and I’ve basically been plateau there for like 7 or 10 years or something so I feel like I’ve sort of plateaued there because I’m at the point I mean because mid 514 is definitely a fairly high level of climbing though it’s by no means elite by the world standard anymore like that’s not that’s not like super hard just put in perspective what it would be a little artist thing in the world of 15 C but only two people have climbed that but there are a lot of people climbing like 15a and 15b ish now and so climbing like 14 B or C is like you know respectable but a lot of people can do that like first try no problem not a lot but a handful of people can climb that first try no problem it’s like trivial for them so you know I mean it’s not it’s by no means world standard but you know it’s it’s solid but so I think that for me that’s sort of my natural plateau like that’s kind of what I can climb without having to train much to climb harder you know because the thing is I spend a lot of my year doing like adventure trips and expeditions and you know doing stuff through my foundation and going to Angola last year I mean trips like that that do not help your fitness at all like they won’t help you climb harder but they definitely make you a more well-rounded climber probably a better person and more interesting you do fun stuff and so you know I’ve sort of been content being plateaued at mid 514 for a long time so I could see at some point in my life I might devote a year to like actually trying to climb hard because I’d love to climb the the French grade nine a which is 14 D and us grades it’s just sort of like a meaningful benchmark grade that if I work on 9a I’d be like respect like I’m good like that’s that’s hard enough for me so if you wanted to do that hard climbing what would the most important components of that training look like I’m not totally sure I mean I think for me it would require more finger boarding or hang boarding like basically just focusing more on finger strength because I think as a climber that’s probably what I’m worst at is just like the pure strength holding onto things but also I think for me would just require more dedicated focused the hard climbing for the year you know like right now I’m climbing in Yosemite and in my whole season of climbing you cemani I won’t do a single hard move basically at the you know at the physical limit of like what I can actually pull on because I’m climbing these like great big walls and I’m trying to climb it quickly and sometimes I’m climbing the rope list but anyway I’m doing them in Aldie styles it like just doesn’t help you pull harder and so like if I wanted to climb harder grades I would have to just pull harder if you could no longer climb but had to pick a physical activity what would you pick if I couldn’t climb I don’t know I have a lot of respect for ultra runners I think because they sort of interact with the landscape in the same way that I kind of like to you know like the something like the ultra – or mob wall when you like run all the way around the mall all messy I mean that’s pretty cool I’m like I would love to be able to do things like that but I just like don’t really I can’t run that well but but the thing is is that I really love running like mountain ridge lines and things and the night quickly becomes actual rock climbing and so I’m like well it’s like I don’t know but yeah ultra running is pretty awesome or I don’t know I could be into like big mountain skiing too I same but see it all sort of gravitates back to its mountains and I’m like well that’s basically climbing well then you get exposed to nasty things like avalanches for those of you haven’t seen Mara Jesus Jimmy both of you guys make me sweat not that I need any help I tend to run hot drinking tea anyway but okay hi Gress as usual what do you world class at aside from climbing or within climbing that people might not realize or how would your best friends answer that question I don’t know I mean I guess one with in climbing I’d say that is it because I’m known as the free soloist I’m known for the rope was climbing and that’s like what you’ll see online and you know all the videos and all that but I’d probably still be a professional climber even if I didn’t free solo at all like right now I hope the speed record I’m like pretty much every major formation you so many but you know all the different phases like all the classic grooves like I mean I think that’s basically true and so yeah and I mean I’d probably still be like one of the more well rounded climbers in America even without the free soloing but um but it’s all sort of overshadowed by the like oh my god is robles and it’s funny because I only do you know a handful of solos a year if that and then I spend the whole rest of the year climbing with partners and ropes and like normal climbing with my friends just like doing all kinds of interesting things and expeditions and whatever and yet it still just comes down to like whoa free soloing but you know that I’m fine with that because at least I could do a climb all the time what advice would you give to 25 year old self 25 or 20 depending on who needed it the most and if you could just place like what you were doing where you were at the time well 20 is still slightly too old but like my 18 year old self I’ll just tell I would say it does not bother going to college at all because like the year that I spent at Berklee was the total waste went on basically not not because there’s anything wrong with Berkeley but because I just wasn’t passionate about what I was studying and there’s no that there was no point me like grinding out of your studies that I didn’t care about that you know I should have just like gone caught me because I mean that’s what I really cared about and that’s what’s been so funny over the years is it like with climbing you know I have no problem putting in you know 20 to 40 hours a week every week all year in de climbing like and I mean that’s the theremin keeping a training Journal so I have like sort of hours of exercise and last year I counted up at the end of it at the new year and I basically averaged like 27 hours a week of exercise every week last year which is you know like I think that’s kind of comparable to others I mean you would know more than me but other sports like for training volume but I mean then when you think that I’ve probably been doing that for the last ten years I’ve been on the road and actually and last year was a particularly low volume year for me because I had a book come out so I did a month of October and I also did like a month of tour in South America and so like I was climbing much less than I normally would so presumably a few years ago living in the van I was probably doing like 30 probably 30 or 32 hours a week of exercise which is like a lot of time spent climbing there’s a lot of time but what else you can put in your training drill what other details are in there it’s one line I do one-line hours of exercise one line any additional like strength training type stuff for like the stretching on the noon recently and then one mind diet which is like eight well a poorly eight so-so or like you know too many cookies like whatever things like that do you go back doodle of cookies sometimes of an unfortunate what’s your go-to cookie which I just talked to cookies like straight I can eat a lot of cookies yeah well that’s probably the only thing that Letta CLE was not like that we share in common so yeah you do yeah they’re looking towards you’re tall well I was looking at others like secret stash I have to keep it out of sight yeah there are these chocolate chip cookies that are actually from Long Island Tate’s I think there is adding are they’re imported chocolate soup Wow originally from Long Island and they have there’s their chocolate chip cookies in there these I think they’re gluten free ginger cookies and I can’t have those in my house or I demolished that’s my thing like Suze I don’t really buy this very much because about by it I just eat it all immediately like I’m terrible with moderation so I generally don’t have any dessert in the van and I want to do I just eat it all if you were to I know this is this is a bit of a reach but you’re 30 now let’s say your idealized forty year old self right what advice do you think that forty year old would give you now I don’t know I mean I feel like I’m doing pretty well right now oh I’m not saying you’re not uh yeah no I don’t know I mean just you know just enjoy the ride yeah just enjoy the process what would you like your life to look like in ten years and I mean maybe have a family or something or at least like a solid partner solid something going on I think I’d like to maybe own a home or like have have a place that I’m kind of living like more of a solid home base just because like living in a van is great but you know at a certain point you’re like man it’s nice to have like a bathroom but I’m having like a shower of things so how do you deal with that actually now that I know that it because that’s why when I came into your house I use your bathroom oh that’s gonna it was like lot so like last night you’re like oh man a too much water I have no I have a pee bottle I mean you know I’ve used a bottle for ever and actually thing is when you get used to using a people all the time like when I pull into a grocery store or something I would just like pee in my bottle before I go in you know because you’re like why would I ever go and find some like dank public bathroom when like I can just use my bottle it’s like well you guys do you have is it a disposable pee bottle like a no no ever like I use a Nalgene now I use like a two liter bottle just like some random plastic bottle and I basically use it over and over until it’s like this is repulsive and then I recycle it and I move on to another but it’s actually kind of the distal it’s like an have the natural life cycle because I’ll use the same water bottle for climbing it’ll just be like some random two-liter bottle that’s in my bag for like months but then eventually it starts to get disgusting or just kind of you know a little gross and so then I’m like well that becomes a pee bottle and then I get another bottle it’s like the four month cycle on my bottles you know do you label them or do you know my key level yeah with a pee bottle you just know like you know when you open the bottle you’re like oh I shouldn’t drink this but also I have systems with like where things go you know I’m never going to accidentally like drink my people do you had do people visit you in your van like hang out in your van the size of the days yeah no I mean friends hang out my van for sure I mean a lot of my climbing friends would be staying in a tent normally or staying wherever so I mean for them it’s a big step up to hang out in the van it’s like climate controlled you know you can it’s like sheltered you can cook on my stove it’s lit I mean it’s a nice place to hang out in evenings if you could have one billboard with anything on it what would it say or what would you put on it get a message to the world oh I don’t know I mean the page it’s just like I don’t know environmental propaganda or something or like the meter I’m like pretty stoked on all the vegetarian type of stuff now just because it’s such an easy way to minimize your impact on the planet and it’s just you know that I mean it just solves so many different environmental issues but I don’t know but the thing is a billboard is not the best way to say don’t eat meat because it’s like it’s obviously a lot more complicated in that nobody’s going to read that and be like okay I’ll stop right you know it’s like request requires more of a conversation yeah I mean it requires like a whole and even then it’s like it’s not in to say that like meat is fundamentally bad it’s like how you get it where it’s from what you’re supporting I mean you know it’s like a whole feedlot versus this vs. yeah yeah I mean even that’s like really complicated yeah because there are places in the world where it makes sense to raise animals because like you can’t raise anything else you can’t grow crops you know yeah whatever and so what have you changed your mind about in the last few years if anything I mean the first thing that comes to mind is like in high school I was reading a bunch of iron Randor and Rand whatever you know like Objectivist all super black and white basically like f the poor people should work harder they should try harder and now as a 30 year old I’m basically like all about trying to help the poor trying to help the plan in different ways trying to make the world a better place it’s like full 180 from you know the black and white that I was into in high school and then yeah I mean I’ve had massive changes on all those kinds of things I mean I used to be way more harsh you know and like my political views are like way further less now I’m just way more I mean I’m a lot more compassionate now I feel like those twenty not so much on a personal level because I don’t really here put on like a societal level of a lot more compassionate that’s a good place yeah I can’t let that one go right away so because I was like I can’t self-described as compassionate because none of my friends would agree you know because the thing is about like nice to like bye shredder unlike a one-on-one level not like a super kind person I don’t big but um but definitely in the grander sense I mean I’m trying to make I’m I aspire to make the world a better place and make it more more just world you know on the macro level yeah exactly so in high okay so if I took sake a couple of your closest friends and gave them a bottle or two a wine or just hanging out how would they describe you I don’t know I mean if you ever get in the instead of the Vic well I mean think I’m pretty Frank I think and so people can you know think I can kind of be a dick sometimes and though I just consider that being very honest you know you keep it real yeah I’m just keeping it real keep it real I mean I’d like to think that my friends would still call me a good person you know that I’m still like still trying to I’m doing my best you know gives any we’re going to wrap up here any ask or request for my audience that could be something you want them to think about something you would like them to try something like them to do I feel like they’re all MMA fighters I don’t know ass and not to beat me up over there not all MMA fighters I assure you I’m gonna do something positive in the world of film okay not a bad place to wrap up where can people find more of you online best place to say hello see what you’re up to um I mean my most personal outlet is probably my Facebook fan page I’m like constantly posting stuff that I care about and it’s all managed by me and so it’s just like me posting articles that I think are interesting it’s kind of like a combination of the climbing stuff that I’m into and then like the environmental stuff that I’m into basically I post the environmental stuff is all the stuff I care about and I post just enough climbing so everyone doesn’t leave and is that what was the URL so that not those Cheerios or calm slash Alex Honnold I think okay but if you just search search for it it’s you know like a fan page it’s like several hundred thousand people or whatever hom n o LD yeah well Alex I really appreciate you taking the time I’ve been hoping to me for a long time given that we’re not that far apart oftentimes with Yosemite so its president this is a this has been fun and was like once I fix my elbows maybe I’ll see if I can attack there you should be zero and maybe actually get outdoors which I would enjoy all right so I will hopefully do more than a three day meditation retreat given that you been doing it for twenty years they might extend my ambition a little bit but thanks very much every other said no thanks or having pleasure and everybody listening for show notes links to everything that we talked about please just go to 4-hour workweek com forward slash podcast and until next time as always thank you for listening [Music] hey guys this is Tim again just a few more things before you take off number one this is 508 Friday do you want to get a short email from me would you enjoy getting a short email for me every Friday event provides a little morsel of fun before the weekend and 500 Friday’s a very short email where I share the coolest things I 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