a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: Alex Honnold on Human Performance (part 1) – Where’s the Limit?

Alex Honnold, Peter Levine, and Das Rush

Posted July 11, 2020

Is there a limit to what humans can do? And if so, how do you know when you’ve reached it? Welcome to part one of a two-part series on human performance with professional rock climber Alex Honnold, who redefined the limits of what is possible by free soloing – that is climbing with no ropes or safety gear – a 2000-foot granite rock face in Yosemite, known as El Capitan. That feat was chronicled in the award-winning documentary Free Solo.

In this podcast, Alex, a16z general partner Peter Levine (who at age 59 is still an avid ice climber), and Das Rush discuss how technology and training have pushed the limits of what’s possible in climbing and sports, as well as what it takes to push your own limits in any endeavor, whether that’s building a company, reaching a new peak, or maintaining peak performance while aging.

In Part 2, recorded last year as part of our a16z innovation summit, we share a fireside chat with Peter and Alex about the risk, preparation, and fear around Alex’s free solo climb.

Instead of a big goal, I just love going climbing every day. I love the grind. I love to practice. I focus on that process and finding meaning in the effort, instead of the results. -Alex Honnold

Photo credit: Shawn Corrigan

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The a16z Podcast discusses the most important ideas within technology with the people building it. Each episode aims to put listeners ahead of the curve, covering topics like AI, energy, genomics, space, and more.

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