Weekend Warm-Up: Of Choss & Lions

Big wall climber Alex Honnold joins forces with friends Cedar Wright and Maury Birdwell on this epic expedition to the Kenyan desert.

The group’s plan was to climb Mt. Poi, Kenya’s biggest wall, and Mt. Kenya, its tallest mountain.  They successfully climbed both, with Honnold making two ascents of Mt. Poi in a single day. Along the way, they established new routes on the Cat and Mouse formations after stumbling across these features emerging from the desert floor.

According to Wright, “Honnold is the best big wall climber in the world. He might not be the strongest climber in the world, but that guy can get up anything… and he gets up it fast.”

Kenya’s Cat and Mouse formations. Photo: rock-road-rhino.com

In the process, Honnold pushed himself to the limit on Mt Poi and needed three days to regroup. “I had a hard time recovering in 90-degree temps in a tent,” he said. “I just wanted some AC and a shower. But a big part of why I do expeditions like this is because you get a year’s worth of living packed into two or three weeks.”

The trio certainly packed plenty of adventure, African wildlife, desert landscapes, rock climbing and camaraderie into their time in the Kenyan bush.

As Wright explained, “I think one of the best feelings in climbing is to be at your limit, just battling it out, and then somehow dig deeper than you ever thought you could and pull it off.”