Alex Honnold smashed it on the epic Flying Solo tour

Posted by Peter Burnside on 31/05/2016
Alex Honnold live at the Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield. Photo: Alex Messenger
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Alex Honnold rocked the British climbing community by joining the BMC for three events across the UK. We laughed, some cried (mainly Niall Grimes’s fault) and the audiences were wowed by Flying Solo. You won’t believe what we found out about Alex on this tour!

Firstly, we’d like to give our most heartfelt thanks to all that were involved. All three events were a huge success and the awesome feedback we have since received made all the hard work and stress worthwhile.

Alex Honnold, star of the Flying Solo tour, said: "It's been great to see the UK climbing community come out to support the BMC and all the important work it does. Now I'm looking forward to sampling some of the world class climbing here, particularly in Wales on slate as it's pretty unique to the UK, much like grit." 

So what did we learn?

Well, we found out that Alex Honnold is a true gent and the nicest, most relaxed guy we know – even after four days of having a camera shoved into his face.

But that might just be because Alex is half robot, according to Hazel Findlay. In her introduction presentation, Hazel went through all the reasons why Alex is probably part machine, which also aids his ability to solo hundreds of metres without succumbing to the fear of death. But despite his hidden circuitry and affiliation to the robotic regime, Alex actually cares more than the average person as he donates a third of his income to charity.

We also learnt that the UK climbing community loves Alex. And we were really impressed with how much you guys loved him. In Manchester, Alex was signing books, posters and whatever else you were all throwing in front of him for around three hours! Two hours before the show and one hour after. Plus, there were an impressive amount of selfies and photos with the guy being taken all night, you all couldn’t get enough!

Slate shuts down everyone, even if you’re a pro climber. When Alex turned up to try his hand on our frictionless quarried slate, Johnny Dawes had a right old wheeze watching Alex struggle on a route he’d put up around 30 years ago. But let’s be fair, slate climbing does take a while to get used to and Johnny had years of experience over Alex’s couple of hours.

Irish accents bewilder Californians, especially when they’re the voice of funnyman Niall Grimes. On the first night in Sheffield, Alex looked on confusingly as Niall raffled off prizes for Climbers Against Cancer and when asked why he was looking a bit lost admitted that: “I have no idea what you’re saying.” Hope you have better luck deciphering people’s accents during the Fairhead festival Alex!

Thank you

Big thanks go to you guys for supporting the tour. Tickets were £10 to BMC members and £17.50 to non-members, and we sold out all three events incredibly quickly, much faster than we thought could ever happen. Also thanks for supporting Climbers Against Cancer by making the raffles a success; the total raised came to more than £1,500 – awesome!

A special mention goes to everyone who generously provided the top quality prizes: The Climbing WorksRabthe north faceThe Depot ManchesterMountain EquipmentDMM and Climb Magazine.

We’d also like to thank the Abbeydale Picture House, the Comedy Store Manchester, and the Beacon Climbing Centre for hosting the nights, and thanks to all the BMC ambassadors involved: Hazel Findlay, Steve McClure, Shauna Coxsey, and Calum Muskett.

Dave Turnbull, chief executive officer of the BMC, said: "We're thrilled Alex agreed to come on tour with us to do his first lectures of this kind in the UK. It's a real privilege to have him here and it's been incredible to see how receptive our UK audience is to Alex; he's basically the Usain Bolt of climbing."

What's next?

After all the epicness we can't stop now, we'll soon be getting geared up for the next amazing BMC event.

Come visit the Cliffhanger festival in Sheffield (9-10 Jul) and watch the British Bouldering Championships, or pop along to the Kendal Mountain Festival (17-20 Nov) and join the BMC's Breakfast Club for a cheeky Bloody Mary. 

If you love chatting about climbing, don't forget to check out your local area meets; all details provided on the BMC Community site.


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