If there’s one person on top of the world right now, it’s Alex Honnold. On June 3rd, he shocked the climbing world with a free-solo (that means no ropes, no safety gear of any kind) of El Capitan. Fellow climbing star Tommy Caldwell likened it to “‘the moon-landing’ of free-soloing.”
From the image above taken from the final pitches of the climb, you can see how El Cap is a 3,000-foot-high granite monolith with huge sections polished glass-like by glaciers. There are various routes to the top, but in each one climbers are tested on every kind of technique from long cracks to smearing their feet on the slippery vertical face.