YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) - An elite rock climber says the biggest hurdle to scaling Yosemite National Park's El Capitan without safety gear was mentally preparing for it.
Alex Honnold said in a telephone interview Sunday with The Associated Press that he'd been dreaming about the feat since 2009 but started working on doing it two years ago.
The 31-year-old on Saturday became the first to climb the 3,000-foot (914-meter) granite wall alone without ropes to catch him if he fell.
Honnold, who has been climbing for 20 years, says "each year I would show up and it would seem just much too daunting."
He says he rehearsed the route many times while climbing with protective gear and memorized each hole he had to grab and the way to position his body until he felt comfortable enough to attempt the "free solo" climb.
An elite rock climber has become the first to climb alone to the top of the massive granite wall known as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes or safety gear.
National Geographic documented Alex Honnold's historic ascent, saying the 31-year-old completed the "free solo" climb Saturday in nearly four hours.
A photo on the magazine's website shows a grinning Honnold wearing just a pair of black pants after reaching the summit.
The climb up 3,000-foot (914-meter) El Capitan used to take days to complete with the help of ropes, safety gear and a partner.
In the past few decades, speed climbers working in tandem and using ropes have set records in reaching the top of the cliff.
Honnold is first to climb the iconic rock alone without protection.
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