Birthday ChallengesClimbingFilm

Behind the Scenes of Alex Honnold’s Birthday Challenge

By December 29, 2014 No Comments

Damn y’all, 2014 is wrapping up. I am proud, excited, and honestly a little nervous to share the following video with you: Alex Honnold soloing 290 pitches on his 29th birthday.

We shot over 3.5 hours of footage during the approximately 16 hours it took Alex to climb all 290 pitches. Since we can’t include it all, we’ll release a little outtakes reel soon, but I want to reiterate how much fun it was to shoot this day. Unlike a massive link-up or something like that, where the camera people spend all day getting into position for a few minutes of footage, Alex was on the ground almost as much as he was on the rock, bantering and joking and occasionally striking yoga poses halfway up a route.

You can read the initial report by clicking here. And here are some more fun tidbits that didn’t make it into the film:

  • The high in Squamish that day was 85°F/30°C, and the recent rains made for high humidity. That is why Alex did not wear a shirt between 5:20AM and 9:20PM, and why he is so sweaty and gross.
  • 290 pitches in 16 hours is a little over 3 minutes per pitch. All day.
  • If the pitches averaged 75 feet, Alex climbed 21,750 feet (over 4 vertical miles).
  • The hardest pitch was #200, Red Nails 5.11c, which he onsighted.
  • Alex consumed approximately 8 oatmeal cookies during the day. He said he drank about 4 gallons of water, but that sounds like a high estimate.
Somewhere around 215 pitches.

Somewhere around 215 pitches.

Now, I want to be all cool-like and tell you all how Alex and I are, like, best friends, and in between snifters of white tea and games of chess we have long discussions about the relativity of risk…but that’s bullshit. The truth is, we are beyond stoked that we got the biggest name in climbing to take on a Birthday Challenge, and to let us point our cameras at him. We are also stoked that we got to spend a few weeks of fun, quality time in the campground shooting the proverbial shit with the man.

We’ve come a long way this year, but we did NOT see this tremendous opportunity coming. Two years previous, we were amped to film with Sender, dreaming of the day when we would get to direct Mr. Honnold in our own production. I suppose it goes to show that a little tenacity and a dash of luck can yield magical results. This is why I’m proud and excited and nervous. Like scoring a date with the prom queen (that’s you, Alex), our hearts are a-flutter, and we don’t want to mess it up!

We really hope you enjoy episode 3 of our Birthday Challenge series, and if you do, check out the first two. Or, better yet, do your own! Use the hashtag #birthdaychallenge on Instagram and we’ll repost it.

Leave a Reply