Alex Honnold has earned a reputation as one of the forefront “bold” climbers of today with his risky and well-published free solo ascents, especially the Regular Northwest Face (VI 5.12a) of Yosemite’s Half Dome and The Moonlight Buttress (V 5.12d) in Zion National Park. Honnold is making news again with his plans to climb “one of the world’s tallest buildings” on live national television. The stunt will be produced by Sender Films and aired live on National Geographic. Neither the date nor exactly which building he is going to climb has been released.
Climbing buildings is a dangerous and usually illegal activity. French rock climber Alain Robert made a name for himself by ascending many of the world’s tallest buildings, including the Empire State Building, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), the Eiffel Tower, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, and Taipei 101 in Taiwan to name just a few. Many of these feats were performed illegally.
The live stunt comes on the heels of the Discovery Channel’s “Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda,” a live stunt that broke Discovery Channel records for a live broadcast, peaking at over 13 million viewers. In the past, other similar events have also been successful, including the supersonic skydive by Austrian Felix Baumgartner in October 2012, which generated over 4 million viewers.
According to reports, the identity of the building is being withheld for now for "safety reasons," leading to speculation about which one of the world’s tallest buildings Honnold will attempt. National Graphic Channel president Howard Owens did state, however, that “Alex is the world’s premiere free-climber, and we are excited to celebrate his adventurous spirit as he tackles this next challenge.” When asked in an interview with National Geographic if he thought the media was “overly excited about climbing without ropes,” Honnold responded by saying, “I don’t really know if they’re excited about it, but I am. It’s gonna be awesome.”
Check out this video of Alain Robert climbing a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi: