Alex Honnold is extreme, even by the standards of professional climbers. Best known for free-soloing Yosemite’s El Capitan, the Las Vegas-based climber has ascended many of the world’s most challenging climbing routes without the use of ropes. In a new video posted to the YouTube channel of Norwegian climber Magnus Midtbø, Honnold persuades an unsuspecting Midtbø to climb a 5.9-rated route with him in Nevada. And he talks him into free soloing the route – leaving those pesky ropes and harnesses in the car.
Throughout the climb, Honnold casually makes conversation with both Midtbø and his viewers as if they’re sharing an afternoon beer together rather than making their way up a deadly rock face. His poise is immaculate and appears to be what keeps Midtbø on his a-game all the way to the top. The pair pause atop each pitch to calculate their next moves, Honnold guiding and pointing out good holds as the pair make their way towards them.
At one point, the pair pass another group of climbers who can do nothing more than watch in awe as these two professionals make their way up the face. The most intense aspect of this video isn’t even the climbing. It’s the fact that Honnold is carrying a video camera the entire time. That means not only is he ascending each of these pitches with style and grace, but at multiple times he also stops, perched merely on tiny footholds, to film Magnus coming up behind him.
“I feel calm and collected,” Magnus says, about halfway up the climb. Whether or not that’s true, these two conquerors of the vertical have our respect.