When you’re hot, you’re hot–and Academy Award-winning Free Solo rock climber Alex Honnold continued his huge popularity on the virtual speaking circuit this week with another awe-inspiring conversation direct from Chamonix (the highest summit in The Alps). Using no ropes, no harnesses, and just extreme planning and grit, Alex had free-solo’ed a 2,000 foot peak at Chamonix the day before this speech–and since there’s no way down but for the way you got there–he tagged the top and climbed back down.
Alex Honnold’s keynote speeches include the movie trailer from Free Solo as an introduction, and Alex shares his breath-taking slides from that climb and more to help audiences visualize his key themes of Grit, Preparation, Execution, Teamwork, and Overcoming Adversity.
Among the highlights of this moderated conversation:
On the topic of Achieving the Impossible, Alex was reminded of a Walt Disney quote: “”What I like about impossible is that there, I find no competition.”” Since not many other climbers are free-soloing at a high level, Alex joked that it’s easy to be the best when you’re extreme climbing.
On the topic of Goal Setting, Preparation, and Overcoming Adversity: Alex is a true believer in setting lofty goals, and he has a long list of peaks that he’s preparing to climb: “”I love climbing; it’s just nice to have big goals to push me.”” Alex also understands that the press exposure and coverage of his Free Solo climb of Yosemite’s El Capitan will never be repeated, but he still has to take the time to prepare for a perfect execution of every single climb he takes. The preparation for the El Capitan climb was months in advance with numerous climbs using support ropes and harnesses, and Alex notes that on that day of the free solo trek he could have climbed that wall blindfolded—since he knew every single step he was about to take by heart. That’s perfect preparation. The funny story about the Yosemite climb took place as he reached the top of that peak after that treacherous climb: Alex popped over the guardrail that keeps the many tourists from falling down the cliff and went relatively unnoticed to those around him. But he was basically barefoot as that’s how he climbs these peaks—and he had no backpack or add-ons to carry. As Alex was walking back down the trail amidst the throngs of tourist-hikers that afternoon, one man shrieked: “Oh my gosh—you’re hiking barefoot!!”
On the topic of Dealing with Failure, Alex noted that Failure is a key part of climbing: Like all human endeavors, there are make or break moments where I cannot fail. But there are also moments where I can retreat or downclimb and regroup, so it’s not always make or break. Most of climbing is based on failures, but you’re using those failures to focus and advance. When you climb a mountain, you work on that route for weeks–but you only successfully climb it the one time and then you go on to another mountain and basically a new set of failures. Once this Chamonix trek is behind Alex, it’s on to a new mountain and more failures to overcome. And that’s the fun that keeps him going.
Whether virtual or in-person, Alex Honnold is a high-profile peak performer who will change the way your team looks at success. Call us today to check your next dates for Alex!