• TNB: Climbing's Big Mistake
  • TNB: Trad Dads and Dad Bods
  • TNB: Do the Right Thing
  • TNB: Big Wall Soloing Sustenance – Cookies vs. Bugs
  • TNB: When Your Rope Falls Off—and 5 Ways to Prevent the Nightmare
  • TNB: Before I Die - What Would Climbers Think?
  • TNB: Raphael Slawinski - Firsthand Account of Everest Earthquake
  • TNB: Point Break - Sharma, Andrada on the Big Screen
  • TNB: Muscle Shoals - Rock and Soul
  • TNB: Naked Soloist is Saner Than Me
  • TNB: The Hard Climb to Heaven
  • TNB: Summer Camp
  • TNB: Suicide in Our Sights
  • TNB: Ethan Pringle's 10 Tips for Sending Your Project
  • TNB: Hawaii Rocks - Totally Aloha
  • TNB: PointGate - Why Comp Climbing Is Not The Future
  • TNB: My First Epic
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Avoid Braking Bad - The Art of the Soft Catch
  • TNB: #Dawnwall and The Creation of Alex Honnlove
  • TNB: Vision Quest - Benji Fink and Mexico’s Steepest Big Wall
  • TNB: The New Dawn (Wall) of Climbing
  • TNB: The Top 5 Weekend Whippers of 2014 (Plus the Comments)
  • TNB: 10 Tips for Jolene Kay, Professional Climber (and Hot Actress)
  • TNB: The Story Behind the Craziest of Rescues
  • TNB: The Risk of Climbing
  • TNB: How to Get Stronger by Doing Nothing for 5 Minutes a Day
  • TNB: Eight Ways to Improve Your Footwork
  • TNB: In Praise of the Weekend Warrior
  • TNB: Joe Kinder Visits the World's Hardest Cave
  • TNB: Celebrating Insomnia in Chamonix
  • TNB: Run, Rabbit - Hermann Gollner, 71, Cranks Pump-O-Rama (5.13a)
  • TNB: Five Best Photos of 2014
  • TNB: Clip Like A Pro - 5 Tips from Sasha DiGiulian and Sean McColl
  • TNB: Five Things Every Gym Climber Must Know About Climbing Outside
  • TNB: Still Jeff Lowe
  • TNB: Moving Over Stone With Doug Robinson
  • TNB: Wheels Up—The Top 5 Climbing Rigs
  • TNB: Is K2 The New Everest?
  • TNB: Things—Besides Us, That Is—That Fall
  • TNB: When Homemade Gear Works, Sorta
  • TNB: The Outsiders
  • TNB: R.I.P. Homero Gutierrez Villarreal - The Padrino of El Potrero
  • TNB: A Short Talk with Sierra Blair-Coyle
  • TNB: Ian Dory, Ninja, or The Craziest Thing I Ever Seen
  • TNB: The Best Crag Dogs of All Time
  • TNB: 5 Ways to Make People Love Your Routes
  • TNB: Hudon and Jones, and Don't Forget It!
  • TNB: Climbing's Tribal Rites
  • TNB: Sasha DiGiulian and Alex Johnson On How to Be a Modern Pro
  • TNB: Is Dean Potter A Bad Father?
  • TNB: Silly Places We’ve Slept - Tales of Unplanned Bivies
  • TNB: Forgotten Hero - Frank Sacherer 1940-1978
  • TNB: The World-Class Weekend Warrior – Martin Keller Climbs V15
  • TNB: Everest Sherpas No Longer Willing to “Grin and Bear It”
  • TNB: Hardheaded Helmet Lesson Learned
  • TNB: Six Most Awesome Jobs for Climbers
  • TNB: The Coolest Climbing Deal Breaker
  • TNB: Sharma and Glowacz Send World’s Steepest Rock Climb
  • TNB: An Encounter with a Legend - Patrick Edlinger, Plus A Whipper Vid
  • TNB: Six Things Every Climber Should Do Before They Die
  • TNB: Falling from the Top
  • TNB: Weekend Whipper
  • TNB: Band of Crushers
  • TNB: Charlie Porter, We Hardly Knew You
  • TNB: Climbing's Greatest Route Names
  • TNB: Hot Women Die and Have Sex on Everest
  • TNB: The Great Tragedy at Carderock
  • TNB: Thoughts On Death, and Last Words
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Big Story
  • TNB: Next Level? Honnold Pushes the Game on El Sendero Luminoso
  • TNB: Jeff Lowe Invented the Sport
  • TNB: The Most Popular Weekend Whippers of the Year
  • TNB: If Ondra Isn't The Best Climber In The World, Who Is?
  • TNB: Storm Years or Typhoon? The Biggest Issue in Climbing
  • TNB: Jim Bridwell Speaks
  • TNB: Honnold's Biggest Solo
  • TNB: Death on Forbidden Peak - Was the NPS Complicit?
  • TNB: Ice Climbing Goes to Sochi Olympics
  • TNB: When Gear Attacks
  • TNB: 8a.nu: The Best Climber in the World is the One with the Most Points
  • TNB: Shutdown: Illegal Climbers in Yosemite—Ninjas or Criminals?
  • TNB: Who is the Best Climber in the World?
  • TNB: The New Courage in a Rucksack
  • TNB: Unsolved Mystery - The Ten Sleep Shooting
  • TNB: The Pad Problem - Honnold, Kehl on Headpoints and Highballs
  • TNB: Travels with Delaney Miller - National Champ Turns to Rock
  • TNB: Jail Food and Booty
  • TNB: Love on the Road
  • TNB: Is Pakistan Safe for Climbers?
  • TNB: Flash Floods, Climbers and How to Get Out of the Way
  • TNB: Climbing's Next Level
  • TNB: Best in Show - Brand New Gear from the Outdoor Retailer Show
  • TNB: Adam Ondra Ties the Knot
  • TNB: Under Pressure - Trotter and Honnold On How Bets Can Help You Send
  • TNB: The Tragedy of Tito Traversa
  • TNB: DR's Crazy Brain Puzzle. Get It Correct or Else.
  • TNB: What Happened To Climbing Films?
  • TNB: Cry of the Colorado Fussy Snivel
  • TNB: Mystery Solved!
  • TNB: The Mystery of Moses Tower - Help Answer a 25-Year-Old Question
  • TNB: No Such Luck
  • TNB: Erasing Midnight Lightning
  • TNB: Mayhem - Crawling, Balling & Brawling on the Evere$t Soap Opera
  • TNB: Watching the Boston Marathon
  • TNB: Chasing the Devil's Snort
  • TNB: Born-Again Gumby
  • TNB: Super Unknown - Austin Dark Horse Establishes 5.14d in Random Texas Cave
  • TNB: Fearless?
  • TNB: The Big Freaking Deal, Ain't Bouldering
  • TNB: Honnold's Achilles' Heel
  • TNB: He's Either Crazy or a Poet
  • TNB: The Fish Cheat and the Prince of Climbing
  • TNB: A Letter from Santa... I mean Sharma
  • TNB: Traveler's Advisory - El Potrero Chico, Mexico
  • TNB: A Year Ago - Athol
  • TNB: Gun Control
  • TNB: What's the Problem?
  • TNB: Derek Hersey's Magic Carpet
  • TNB: The Apprentices
  • TNB: The Jungle
  • TNB: Klem Loskot is Back Climbing V15 and 5.15
  • TNB: Eliminated
  • TNB: The Hurt Locker
  • TNB: The Perils of Sport Climbing
  • TNB: Baddest Climb of the Year
  • TNB: Crossfit Misfit
  • TNB: Eating People and the Real Seventh Summit
  • TNB: Bring It On, Bitch!
  • TNB: What Would Warren Harding Do?
  • TNB: The Curse Of The Bandit
  • TNB: Reality Pro
  • TNB: Chris Sharma and The Art of Jeep Maintenance
  • TNB: American Dirtbag
  • TNB: How Not To Climb 5.12
  • TNB: Project FAIL
  • TNB: The Backwards Future of Climbing
  • TNB: The Death of Progress
  • TNB: The Da Vinci CO
  • TNB: The Philosopher King
  • TNB: Spam Alert
  • TNB: Bad Genes - The Different Types of Gumbies
  • TNB: Mouth Wide Shut
  • TNB: Outside Reality
  • TNB: The Day I Saved Jésus
  • TNB: My Pad, Your Problem
  • TNB: House Rules
  • TNB: Five Things I Don't Hate About Climbing
  • TNB: Metro-Pointing
  • TNB: Beast in the East
  • TNB: Artificial Intelligence
  • TNB: To Boldly Go Sprad Climbing
  • TNB: Self-Destruction
  • TNB: Soul Sport
  • TNB: Nine Pitches
  • Video Spotlight
    Alex Honnold Solos Lover's Leap in Dan Osman Tribute
    Alex Honnold Solos Lover's Leap in Dan Osman Tribute
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer

    TNB: Big Wall Soloing Sustenance – Cookies vs. Bugs


    Alex Honnold takes a cookie break during his 29th birthday challenge - soloing 290 pitches in a day. [Photo: Screen-shot from Alex Honnold’s Birthday Challenge Outtakes (video below)]If Half Dome was a food, what would it be? Bon Appétit magazine tracked down chef extraordinaire Alex Honnold to get an answer to that query as well as a little cooking advice.

    In response, Honnold answered, “I don’t even know how to take that.”

    But after some thought, Honnold had a flood of ideas: “The first thing that came to mind was a big lump of mashed potatoes, a pile of polenta or something,” said Honnold. “Or! Maybe a taco. It does have that kind of shape. Despite what you may see in pictures, it’s actually taco-shaped.” 

    The interview continued with questions such as, “So you live in a van, which is awesome. But how does that whole ‘kitchen thing’ work out?”

    When Honnold was asked, "What foods fuel a man who scrambles up Yosemite’s Half Dome in under an hour and a half?" he answered, “Cookies.”

    On another soloing binge, for his 29th birthday, Honnold challenged himself to solo 290 pitches in a day. In the video outtakes of his birthday challenge (see below), Honnold said that he "cookie-loaded" the day before by eating a "shit-ton" of cookies.

    Meanwhile, 29-year-old Meghan Curry from El Paso, Texas, plans to solo-aid climb the 26-pitch El Cap route Mescalito (5.7, A3) this fall surviving on … insects.

    [UPDATE: Curry will begin her mission on September 28th. She climbs to help raise funds for Little Herds, an Austin-based non-profit, via a crowdfunding campaign beginning September 9th.]

    “Or! Maybe a taco. It does have that kind of shape. Despite what you may see in pictures, [Half Dome] is actually taco-shaped.”Her favorite bug? Waxworms.

    If this evokes images of a lone woman high on an exposed cliff face, searching crevices for critters and popping them into her mouth, then you’re not alone. I thought the same thing. But Curry's mission, dubbed BugWall, is actually much more “normal” than it at first appears.

    Curry will be carrying along a supply of edible insect products—not bags of bugs, but cooked goods. She’s working on specific BugWall recipes, such as cricket leather (like fruit leather, but smashed crickets), energy bars made with cricket flour, cricket granola, tofu from mealworm flour, and, specially designed for the climb by an edible insect company (and BugWall sponsor), vacuum-packaged bug chili.

    She says she will bring a little dried fruit, too, but all her protein will come from insects.

    Curry, an entomologist by training, is climbing El Cap on bugs to promote the idea of edible insects as a sustainable food source to feed the world’s growing population. Curry believes that edible insects have “massive global potential to improve nutrition and micro economic growth."

    Meghan Curry on a solo-aid climb. [Photo courtesy of Meghan Curry]“If bugs can fuel my grueling two-week ascent of El Capitan,” Curry told Rock and Ice, “then they may deserve a place on your next adventure too.” 

    A climber of 10 years and a veteran of five big-wall climbs, Curry claims that edible insects are “the perfect solution for endurance pursuits like big wall climbing,” since they are packed with protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals.

    “Our food attitudes can, do, and must change,” Curry said.

    “We’re afraid of what we don't know. The more we learn about edible insects, the more normal the idea becomes.”

    I asked Curry what would happen if she found a little critter on the climb—would she eat it?

    She said, “Depends on the bug. There might be some ants up there that I’d probably eat. Human waste could be an issue on the climb, so it depends where I find them.”

    Like Bon Appétit, I also contacted Alex Honnold for his professional food opinion.

    Honnold said, “Two weeks? Edible insects? Are they seasoned? Does she like, put spices on them or something?”

    So there you have it. But the question still remains: Which are better for big-walls, cookies or bugs?


    Follow Meghan Curry’s journey this fall as she shares her climbing woes and insect-eating experiences live via Twitter (#BugWall) and on her blog, Bug Vivant.


    Find more information on edible insects and gourmet bug recipes, such as grasshopper kabobs, waxworm tacos and “Three Bee” salad, on Bug Vivant.


    Outtakes from Alex Honnold’s 29th Birthday Challenge:

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article: