Alex Honnold Puts On A Harness - You Won't Believe What Happens Next

At our Breakthrough fundraiser on April 11, Alex Honnold was so inspired by a tyrolean traverse race that he enthusiastically offered to put on a harness himself. Watch what happened next.

Alex Honnold has become a household name. A rock climber who scales big walls without the safety of a rope, Alex lives in a van and devotes his life to climbing. There's very few things he's never done climbing related - until now!

On April 11, Alex joined The Mountaineers in Seattle to support our Breakthrough fundraiser. He did this instead of attending the highly-prestigious Piolet d'Or Award Ceremony in Chamonix, France, where Alex and Tommy Caldwell were awarded a golden ice ax for their climbing achievements  in Patagonia.

I like to think our mission of outdoor education and conservation moved Alex to come to Seattle, or that he felt compelled to support an organization with such a rich legacy, but let's be realistic - he wanted to Tyrolean. He wanted to Tyrolean real bad.


No doubt inspired by the spectacular performance of Stephen Sherman in our  first Tyrolean race  - which pitted representatives from Conservation, Youth Programs, and Volunteers - Alex offered to go double-or-nothing in a Raise the Paddle for $10,000. If we could raise it - he would go.

Raise we did, and the audience was treated to a once-in-a-lifetime show. Together, we watched in awe as the three "Pro" racers - Mike Gauthier, Alex Honnold, and Colin Haley - traversed 60meters out-and-back suspended high above a packed audience.

Here's how it went down:

As if witnessing this amazing race and hearing Alex's keynote weren't enough, here are a few more pieces of "insider knowledge" regarding Alex's performance:

  • Alex Honnold - Mr. Climbing Himself - has never done a Tyrolean Traverse before.
  • The Tyrolean ropes were set up by a team of volunteers, including Ryan who insisted that everyone call him by his true title: Ryan the Rigger.
  • When the racers took off, they were so competitive they almost kicked over the scaffolding on which they were perched to start the race.
  • Each racer was wrapped in a string of lights to differentiate between the competition. Alex scoffed at first while he was being encircled in wire, but once the lights were on he looked down and said, in all seriousness, "Well now we're f#@%ing talking!"
  • The key to winning seemed to be in the legs. Really - take another look!
A huge thanks to all of our racers and our attendees. Thanks to Alex, Colin, Mike, and all of YOU we were able to raise over $300,000 to support the future of our outdoor education and conservation programs.