Alex Honnold’s ‘HURT’ Route is 50Km of Nevada Desert Pain

If there’s a better rock climber who’s also more durable against a wider gamut of climbing tasks, I don’t know who it is.

It’s getting hard to categorize Alex Honnold’s projects. “The Last Tepui” was part jungle mountaineering, part choss wrangling, part wildlife research. In “The Soloist VR,” he assumed death consequences for the sake of virtual reality viewers.

But you actually can categorize “Honnold’s Ultimate Red Rock Traverse” (HURT) pretty easily: it’s a sufferfest.

“The name comes … from how I felt after I worked on each segment,” Honnold explained on Instagram.

The traverse links up the serrated, broken, rambling ridgelines in and around Las Vegas, Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Exactly how Honnold did it is not yet clear. He mentioned on Instagram that he wasn’t sure where or how to publish the “route,” or the GPS data that he collected on it.

Honnold’s Ultimate Red Rock Traverse, aka HURT

But know this: the HURT was mega. To complete it, Honnold underwent somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 hours of travel over 56km and 7,000m of vertical climbing.

The mileage, combined with fact that he climbed “Epinephrine” as part of the HURT, indicates that he climbed not only the whole circuit of peaks in the federally designated portion of Red Rock, but also the outlying peaks to the park’s south. If he tagged every peak from Kraft Mountain (outside Summerlin) to Windy Peak (south of Blue Diamond), he enchained 14 summits, depending on how you count.

Mount Wilson constitutes the crest of the range at a fairly modest 2,155m. But it’s not the height that counts on a long objective in Red Rock.

The complexity of the fertile desert landscape makes hiking anywhere except on established trails circuitous at best, punishing and painful at worst. I have pulled cholla spines by the thousands out of my shoes, crash pads, clothing, and, sometimes, furry friends. I have chosen sandstone ramps that lead thousands of feet down long walks from summits, only to cliff out, turn around, and have to start over.

Simply put, it’s hard to get anywhere in Red Rock.

“The terrain is so complicated and jumbled that it’s really hard to move around at all,” Honnold said succinctly.

He promised to share the final stats on the HURT as soon as he consolidates it all and decides where to post it.

Honnold did promise to list all the routes (presumably the proper rock climbs) in another post. For now, he said, it’s “too much typing!”

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.