BY: ROB HOFFMAN
In the rock-climbing world, Alex Honnold has rockstar status from countless free-solo ascents of American landmark walls, including Half Dome, El Capitan and the Castleton Tower. This is to say, he’s climbed thousands of metres of vertical granite without a harness, ropes, or any safety measures beyond his own skill. But Honnold doesn’t return from the rock face to a five star hotel or hot tub, rather he’s chosen to simplify his living space with a 2002 Ford Econoline E150.
Alex Honnold lives the van-life, allowing him to explore the distant corners of national parks and sleep comfortably in remote landscapes. It also allows him to urban-camp in cities, by parking in legal areas and drawing the shades. Efficiently designed cabinets, kitchenware and sleeping spaces are vital components of a comfortable van. Honnold’s van is a perfect example of properly economized space, with slide out cabinets for all of his cooking supplies and general gear, with a refrigerator and stove top with two burners connected to an external propane tank. One of the most attractive features of the van, however, is the pull-out storage drawer in the back, which can support up to 300 lbs of climbing gear.
The van itself cost Honnold $10,000, which has an accumulative 170,000 miles on it. According to Honnold, although it isn’t fast it’s effective and chugs along quite nicely. Powering the refrigerator and all of his electronics, is a Goal Zero generator connected to a solar panel on the roof. And though it may look small to some, for Honnold and the rest of the van-life community his living situation represents a lifestyle of unparalleled richness of experience.