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Free solo climbing, also known as free soloing, is a form of free climbing where the climber (the free soloist) forgoes ropes, harnesses and other protective gear while ascending and relies only on his or her physical strength, climbing ability, and psychological fortitude to avoid a fatal fall. Free solo climbing should not be confused with general free climbing, in which gear is typically used for safety in case of a fall, but not to assist the climb.
Alex Honnold (born August 17, 1985) is an American big wall free solo climber. He has broken a number of speed records, most notably including the only known solo of the Yosemite Triple crown, an 18 hour 50 minute link up of Mt. Watkins, The Nose (El Capitan), and The Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. . He and Hans Florine are the current record holders for the Nose with a time of 2:23:51. 
Honnold was born in Sacramento, California, and graduated from Mira Loma High School.
He started climbing when he was 11 years old. At the age of 18, he dropped out of UC Berkeley, where he was an engineering student, and devoted all his time to climbing. Between climbs, he runs or hikes to maintain fitness. Honnold lives out of his van, spending less than a thousand dollars per month, enabling him to follow the weather and climb all the time. 
Honnold prefers big walls and sport climbing, but enjoys any climb calling for extreme commitment, Yosemite being his favorite area because of its impressive walls and favorable weather.
Honnold is inspired by such noted climbers as Peter Croft, John Bachar and Tommy Caldwell, and even more so by the stark simplicity and beauty of El Capitan.
In 2010, Honnold was awarded the "Golden Piton" for his climbing achievements.
Journalist Lara Logan interviewed Honnold as part of CBS 60 Minutes program airing on October 2, 2011. 
In November 2011, Honnold and Hans Florine missed setting the record time on the Nose route on Yosemite's El Capitan by 45 seconds with a time of 2:37.. On June 17, 2012, the two set a new record of 2:23:51 on that same route.
Honnold is an avid reader, with interests in classic literature, environmentalism, and economics. When asked about his religious or spiritual views, he described himself as a "militant atheist." 
Mountain climber Alex Honnold seems to defy gravity, scaling sheer, steep rock faces with no rope and apparently no fear. Lara Logan reports.