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Daring or Reckless? Alex Honnold Explains the Difference

By The Aspen Institute

In July of 2017, Alex Honnold became the first person to ever free-solo climb the face of Yosemite’s El Capitan. He climbed nearly 3,000 vertical feet alone and without ropes. The historic feat was captured in the Academy Award-winning film, “Free Solo.” He says self-confidence helped him complete the climb. “If you get scared while free-soloing, [your self-confidence] starts to crumble a little bit. You start to not trust your feet…they’re more likely to slip. Everything can spiral negatively.” He speaks with New York Times op-ed columnist Bret Stephens about the line between daring and recklessness, and how the mammoth climb has impacted every part of his life — from relationships to fame and future climbing pursuits.

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