When I called Alex Honnold for this interview, the first thing he asked was whether I had read his new book, Alone on the Wall, which he co-wrote with David Roberts. I think he was fishing a bit because I’ve heard from a few people that he throws me (aka as “Mr. Safety”) under the bus. I took Alex on his first international expedition to Low’s Gully in Borneo back in 2009, and on that trip and three subsequent expeditions, I’ve always played the foil to Alex, openly questioning the risks he takes, and calling bull when he tries to tell me that free soloing big walls isn’t dangerous.
He told me that he’s very proud of the book, and while it’s exactly what he wanted it to be, “it’s not heavy hitting, deeply insightful, meaning of life type of stuff. I think I can do that when I’m older,” he said. “Publishing really profound memories at the age of 30 seems sort of silly.”
Nonetheless, the book appears to be resonating deeply with Alex’s followers, as evidenced by the fact that it’s currently sitting at #7 in the sports category on the New York Times Bestsellers List. I can’t think of many climbers who have penned best-selling books–Touching the Void and Into Thin Air come to mind–but, of course, Honnold is not your average climber. (Read our Sunday Book Talk column “Alex Honnold Isn’t Fearless, He Just Accepts Death.”)
Here Alex tells us about how he deals with fear, his thoughts on spirituality, and his dating life.