Alex Honnold solos Zion´s Moonlight Buttress

by Justin Roth Zion Some thought it was an April Fools joke.Who would, or could, free solo Zion´s Moonlight Buttress (V 5.12d; 1,200 feet)? No joke, it turns out, and the climber was Alex Honnold, 22, of Sacramento, California, who recently turned heads with a spate of free solos in Yosemite Valley, as well as a cutting-edge onsight of Noah Bigwood´s trad testpiece Bushido (5.13c), in King Creek, Utah. He didn´t make the solo on April 1 on purpose, Honnold said: ?It´s not like I plan my climbing around the date. It´s not like I even know the date most of the time,? he jokes. Honnold currently lives out of his van and meters time by days on rock and days of rest. Honnold is a self-proclaimed finger-crack addict, and Zion fit the bill perfectly. ?For me, the entire [Moonlight] is pure fingers… awesome, glorious fingers,? he said. Honnold also repeatedly described the entire climb as ?locker.? ?In a lot of ways it was less heady than stuff in the Valley,? Honnold said, ?´cause it´s straight finger crack ? it´s more secure. There is some face climbing, but it feels crisp ? it feels secure.? (The ?stuff? he climbed in the Valley included free soloing the V 5.11c climbs Astroman and the Rostrum in a day.) Such a long, difficult solo, especially on soft desert sandstone, is for most out of the realm of possibility or reason, but Alex, say those who´ve climbed with him, is a rare breed of climber: modest but supremely confident. Read the report by Justin Roth at Read Dave Birkett´s thoughts on this ascent HERE ( Source: Climbing magazine )