An Interview with the Mountain Climber Alex Honnold

   Today's post is something a bit unusual here at The Totality - a chat with a man who is a contemporary legend in the rock climbing world.

   Alex Honnold, a man who risks life and limb scaling monstrously sized mountains unaided, has recently become BALL Watch Co's latest Brand Ambassador - it's in this position I interviewed him to try and understand his lack of fear and to find out a little bit more about the man behind the feats. I don't, however, think I came particularly close to grasping the motivations of recreational life endangering.

   BALL Watch Co's latest timepiece (pictured above), the Engineer Hydrocarbon Black, was designed specifically for Honnold - the latest member of the brand's Explorer's Club. Aside from it's sleek looks, the timepiece also boasts a DLC coating, 35 micro gas tubes and a patented springLOCK anti-shock system ideal for those who pursue extreme lifestyles.

   You can purchase one of these BALL Watches from the online stockist Room Full Of Luxury .

Despite climbing the most terrifying and dangerous heights, you've been quoted as saying that you don't always feel adrenaline rushes during your climbing (stating that if you did, it would signal something had gone wrong). If it's not adrenaline, what exactly is it that inspires you to pursue such a potentially dangerous activity?

I think it’s the satisfaction that comes from setting upon a difficult task, working hard, and then completing it. That has nothing to do with adrenaline, but a lot to do with doing something challenging and doing it well.

You've even used the term "mellow" before to describe how rock climbing feels. To those of us who've never come close to replicating any of your feats, and have no way of imagining these sensations, could you describe how this could possibly be? Is there something meditative or transcendental about intense concentration?

I wouldn’t say it’s in any way meditative or transcendental, though since I have no experience with either kind of state it’d be hard to say for sure. I just say it’s mellow because it’s very routine for me. I’ve climbed full time for almost 18 years - I find it relaxing and fun.

Aside from the task at hand, what do you think about when you're climbing?

It depends on the difficulty of the climb. When something is very hard I only focus on the task at hand. But when I’m doing easier climbing I often think about what’s for lunch or what’s on the to-do list or whatever else. It’s a lot like going running - at an easy jog you can think about the day and reflect on life, but at an intense sprint you can pretty much only focus on your breathing.

 You've been climbing since an incredibly young age and it seems to have become an obsession since - could you imagine what you would do with your life if, heaven forbid, for some reason, you were unable to climb any more?

 I’ve always assumed I would go back to school and dive into a real profession. I could see myself working in some kind of environmental engineering. Or some kind of green business practice. It would be fun to finish my education.

Are there any climbs you haven't yet completed you'd like to conquer?

 There are tons - it seems like whenever I scratch something off my list two more things pop up to replace it. In some ways, the better I get at climbing the more I’m able to do, which just puts more things on the list.

Your lifestyle must be pretty hectic and even nomadic - what do you do to unwind and relax when you're not climbing?

Occasionally I watch a movie on my laptop. I read a lot. Honestly I don’t really have any set relaxation times.

Which other rock climbers do you most admire?

One climber I’ve admired since I was a child is Peter Croft. He was one of the most impressive soloists of the last generation and his feats always captured my imagination. But he’s continued climbing with the same enthusiasm into his 50s, and now I see him as a great example of following your passion for your whole life.

You've become the brand ambassador for BALL. How do timepieces tie in with your climbing? Do you use them to inspire your speed or do they sometimes prove a distraction?

 I actually enjoy keeping track of time on my ascents, just because I enjoy having a way to measure my performance. I like pushing myself and trying to improve, so a time piece is a natural aid.

What equipment would you most suggest as essential for a budding climber?

 Good climbing shoes and a chalk bag are the bare minimum. Beyond that a harness and a rope are super useful. Though really someone could learn a lot of the basics of climbing movement with no equipment at all. They only would need something to climb on.

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