Learning From a Crazy Athletic Achievement

Jonathan Adomait |

Alex Honnold planned to free solo climb "El Capitan" in 2017, or die trying.

El Capitan is one of the largest vertical rock faces in the world, with nearly 3,000ft of vertical rock face from base to peak. Alex planned to free solo this cliff, meaning he would have no ropes, no support, and no safety system to fall back on. No one had done this before him, and over 30 people have died trying to climb this mountain.

If you take a look at the picture below you'd think this is absolutely crazy - that this guy had a death wish. But Alex didn't see it that way...

Source: National Geographic

Alex had spent years free soloing other mountains in preparation for this climb. Before he even began the climb in Yosemite, he planned his route weeks in advance. Upon building that route, he climbed his route countless times with a rope and harness. Along the way, he practiced the most life-threatening scenarios over and over again to ensure he could safely get by and reduce his risk. He even fell multiple times, and learned what went wrong after each fall. He had a plan for every foothold and transition from the base to the top of the mountain. He needed to ensure there wasn't a shred of doubt he could achieve the climb, and have total confidence in his plan.

Alex started his free solo climb at 5:32am on June 3, 2017 and finished his climb at 9:28am. He managed to turn what appeared to be a foolish climb into a complex, systematic and thought out plan.

Ok... maybe it was a little crazy. My palms get sweaty just looking at some of the pictures and the videos from his climb. 

By waiting for the right conditions and meticulously planning he wasn't blindly putting his life at risk - it was calculated.

The same can be said for retirement. Of course the stakes aren't nearly as high as risking your life, but the principals we can develop from this story are similar. The principals of methodically planning out your retirement, one year after the next, where to draw assets from, and having total confidence in your plan are all incredibly important. 

By having a proper retirement plan in hand, and having a plan for risks such as lower investment performance, taxes, deteriorating health conditions, etc. - you can sleep easier at night knowing how to handle these situations. 

You may not be looking for help or guidance to navigate a free solo climb up El Capitan, but if you are looking for help or guidance to build out and plan your retirement, let us know. We'd love to support you along your journey. You will always benefit by starting to plan early!


Jonathan Adomait
Financial Advisor, BASc

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