Straight Up

Silhouette of the climbing team helping each other while climbing up in a sunset. The concept of aid.

In 2017, Alex Honnold climbed the face of El Capitan in Yosemite without equipment. No one before had “free-soloed” straight up 3,000 ft at that level of difficulty. After his success, Honnold married and became a father, but was restless and without a new challenge was depressed.

The newly released series Arctic Ascent features Honnold as he makes his way to Greenland on an expedition with a small crew of scientists and climbers. The sea cliff Ingmikortilaq that they ascended is almost a thousand feet higher than El Capitan and has only thin cracks and finger holds for support. It’s daunting for anyone. But, exciting for Honnold.

We were thinking of Honnold as we recently conducted a two-day training in Santa Fe. Eight brave souls flew to the Southwest, challenging themselves to learn new speaking skills and then put them into action with little prep time. They were shaken, anxious and even frightened, but with safety nets and structure, they survived. And like Honnold, their purpose and commitment saw them through. Challenge renews us, expands our mental bandwidth, and makes our spirits soar.

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