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Honnold Free-Solos the 1,750-Foot El Sendero Luminoso (5.12d)

Alex Honnold has free-soloed the Grade V big-wall route El Sendero Luminoso (5.12+) in El Potrero Chico, Mexico.

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Honnold free-soloing <em>El Sendero Luminoso</em> (5.12d). Photo by Cedar Wright.
Honnold free-soloing El Sendero Luminoso (5.12d). Photo: Cedar Wright.

Alex Honnold has free-soloed the Grade V big-wall route El Sendero Luminoso (5.12d) in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. The climb rises 1,750 feet up the limestone face of El Toro (The Bull), and sports 15 pitches–11 of which are rated 5.12. Honnold climbed the route in a mere three hours.

“Alex will downplay the achievement, but I can assure you this is one of the most cutting edge big-wall solos of all time,” reported Cedar Wright—one of Honnold’s frequent climbing partners—to Outsideonline.com. 

Honnold amidst a sea of limestone, ropeless on <em>El Sendero Luminoso</em> (5.12d). Photo by Cedar Wright.
Honnold amidst a sea of limestone, ropeless on El Sendero Luminoso (5.12d). Photo: Cedar Wright.

According to Outside’s report, Wright had joined Honnold in Mexico last week and together they rehearsed the route, climbing it four times while also establishing a new exit section to the route in order to reach El Toro’s true summit.

El Sendero Luminoso requires thin, technical face-climbing above hundreds of feet of exposure, yet Honnold felt in control according to Outside’s report.

“It felt pretty straight forward,” Honnold told Outside.

El Sendero Luminoso was established by Kurt Smith and Rock and Ice Editor Jeff Jackson.

“I think we put that route up in 1994,” says Jackson. “We picked one of the most perfect shields of rock with the least amount of vegetation in Potrero.”

<em>El Sendero Luminoso</em> takes the prominent line up El Torro. Photo by Cedar Wright.
El Sendero Luminoso takes the prominent line up El Torro. Photo: Cedar Wright.