What is Alex Honnold’s net worth?
Alex Honnold‘s estimated net worth is $3 million USD.
Who is Alex Honnold?
Alex Honnold is the most popular, and richest climber in the world. He is known primarily for his impressive 2017 free solo ascent of El Capitan which was documented in the Academy Award winning film: free solo. Aside from free soloing, Honnold also holds the speed record of the Nose of El Capitan together with Tommy Caldwell.
How does Alex Honnold make money?
As a professional climber, Alex Honnold makes money in a variety of ways all related to climbing.
Here’s a little run-down of how Alex Honnold makes money:
- Free Solo Movie
- Speaking Gigs and Apperances
- Book Sales
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The big chunk Alex Honnold’s income comes from sponsorships.
Before free solo, this was probably his biggest and potentially only source of income.
Alex Honnold has a number of sponsors:
- The North Face
- La Sportiva
- Black Diamond
As climbers are contractually obligated to never disclose their sponsorship earnings, how much Alex Honnold makes from sponsorships remains unknown.
However, we can do some guessing based on this Alex has said. For example, when asked in Free Solo how much he makes, Alex Honnold was quoted saying:
“Like, a fair amount. Like, you know, say like a moderately successful dentist or something. Probably.”Alex Honnold, Free Solo
How much does a moderately successful dentist make? Forbes would make us believe that would be about $200k.
So before Free Solo, Alex Honnold made an estimated $200k per year from sponsorships. However, since Alex has blown up since then (largely due to Free Solo), it is possible that his sponsorship earnings have received a bump as well.
After all, Alex Honnold, thanks to the mainstream success of Free Solo, introduced A LOT of people to the world of climbing, and those climbers are going to buy the gear that Honnold is repping as well.
Due to this, we estimate that Alex Honnold makes $200 – $400k per year from sponsorships.
The Free Solo Movie
Alex Honnold is most famous for his legendary free solo ascent of El Cap which was documented in the documentary Free Solo. This documentary blew up and even won the 2019 Academy Award for best documentary. Obviously, Alex made some money from this movie.
According to the-numbers, the Free Solo documentary did $29 million at the worldwide box office. Of course, we don’t know how much (if any) of this money goes into the pockets of Alex.
Considering the risk, it wouldn’t surprise us if Alex negotiated a percentage of the ticket sales of Free Solo. This is common practice for Hollywood actors and Alex is of course the show of the movie. Even though it doesn’t seem like something he would do as he lives a classic dirtbag lifestyle. And in his own words, he would have free soloed whether there were cameras or not, Alex does, however, have a foundation ‘the Honnold Foundation’ which would benefit from such earnings.
If Alex negotiated a percentage for the ticket sales of Free Solo, he could have potentially made millions from the movie. Just 5% of ticket sales of free solo would have net Alex Honnold 1.45 million dollars.
Speaking Gigs and Appearances
Alex Honnold also makes money from speaking gigs and tv appearances. According to his own website, Honnold is commonly hired to speak for fortune 50 companies and covers topics such as: mastering your craft, preparation, and risk management.
He also appeared in a 2018 Ted Talk, though Ted is known for not paying speakers.
Aside from that, Alex Honnold has appeared in a large number of online/tv appearances including: Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Rich Eisenshow, Wired, Whistle, Outside, and many more.
How much he gets paid for speaking gigs, as well as appearances (many appearances are free), is of course unknown.
According to Foundr, an experienced public speaker can earn anywhere between $5k – $25k per speaking gig. If this is the case with Honnold, and we assume that he does 1 – 2 speaking gigs per month, Alex Honnold would make anywhere from $60k – $300k per year from public speaking.
Alex Honnold also has brought out a book titled ‘Alone on the Wall’ which is available in bookstores all over the US as well as Amazon. The book which is mostly written by climber David Roberts, is available for $11.69 (paperback) and $30.94 (hardcover).
Considering writers keep about 10% in royalties, Alex Honnold likely makes between $1,20 and $3 per book sold depending on whether the book was a paperback or hardcover.
How many copies are sold, is unknown. The book does have 1,637 reviews on Amazon, indicating that at least 1,637 people have bought the book on Amazon and decided to review it (which only about 1% of people actually does). This leads us to believe that Alone on the Wall has sold at least 163k copies sold worldwide.
Assuming at least 160k copies sold, Alex Honnold would have made around $300k assuming the majority of the book sales were paperback sales. Since the book came out in 2018, that’s around $75k per year in royalties.
Alex Honnold has his own climbing course together with Tommy Caldwell which can be taken on Masterclass.
How much Alex makes from Masterclass, is unknown but we do have some insights. For example, we know that access to the Masterclass costs about $15 per month.
According to HollywoodReporter, Masterclass instructors get paid around $100k up front and keep 30% of the revenue made from their classes.
Considering there’s two instructors, let’s say Tommy and Alex both received $50k upfront and are each keeping 15% of the revenue. This would leave them with $2.25 for every member that signed up to their course. Since Masterclass is a recurring subscription, this could turn into a lot more. For example, if someone purchases an annual pass to Masterclass through their course, Alex would make $27 from that.
If we make a rough estimate and say that between 500 and 1000 people sign up to the climbing masterclass every month. This would mean that Alex makes around $2.5k – $5k per month from Masterclass. Not bad for a course that really is just a one and done.
How much does Alex Honnold make per month?
Alex Honnold makes an estimated $25k – $50k per month from climbing. Most of his earnings come in from sponsorships as well as speaking gigs and appearances.
Here’s how this sums up:
- Speaking Gigs: $5k – $25k per month
- Sponsorships: $16k – $33k per month
- Book sales: $6k per month
- Masterclass: $2.5k per month
The largest chunk of Alex’s net worth is likely made up of the earnings he made from the Academy Award-winning film Free Solo.
Annually, we estimate that Alex Honnold makes between $260k and $700k per year.
Is Alex Honnold the richest climber?
Alex Honnold might not be the best climber in the world, he is by far the most popular climber in the world. Even before his free solo of El Cap, Alex already had a reputation as a free solo climber after his free solo ascent of Half Dome in 2008.
He also received mainstream news in 2011 after featuring on CBS’s 60 minutes. But nothing beats the mainstream attention he received after Free Solo, Alex Honnold became the face of rock climbing.
Honnold is largely responsible for the increase of popularity in the climbing sport since 2017. There isn’t a single climber who wouldn’t recognize Alex Honnold. But even outside of climbing, millions of people know who Alex Honnold is.
And for this reason, we believe that Alex Honnold is by far the richest climber in the world. He is featured in the highest grossing climbing film of all time (and the only Academy Award winning one), does the most public speaking of all climbers and most likely receives the largest amount from sponsors.
Here’s what Alex had to say in an interview with Wealthsimple Magazine:
I think I’m the world’s highest paid professional rock climberAlex Honnold in Wealthsimple Magazine
So yeah, Alex Honnold is the richest climber in the world.
How does Alex Honnold spend his money?
Alex Honnold is notorious for his dirtbag lifestyle. ‘Dirtbag’ is a term used to refer to climbers that live a minimalist lifestyle that is devoted to climbing. Dirtbags are known for living out of their cars, traveling around the country looking for new crags. They don’t have jobs and make money from sponsors (if they are good enough) as well as coaching, route setting and other climbing-related gigs.
Alex Honnold is definitely a dirtbag, as portrayed in the film Free Solo. During the filming, he would drive into Yosemite National Park in the morning, practice on El Cap and park his car just outside of Yosemite National Park come nightfall. Where he’ll make a vegetarian dinner and eat it with a spatula right out of the pan.
His van has also been featured in Outside magazine.
Knowing what we know about Alex, it’s hard to imagine him spending money.
Here’s what we know about Alex Honnolds’ spending:
- Alex owns a house in Las Vegas together with his wife (then-girlfriend) Cassandra “Sanni” McCandless.
- Alex owns an environmental foundation called ‘The Honnold Foundation‘
- Alex also upgraded his van from a Ford Econoline E150 to a Dodge Ram ProMaster (source: Outside)
- Alex spend $500k on a his family cabin in Lake Tahoe (source: Wealthsimple)
So there you have it. Alex Honnold does not spend much money at all.
The clothes he wears are mostly given to him by sponsors (he wears The North Face tees a lot), same with his gear which is given to him by his sponsors Black Diamond and La Sportiva. Even his travels are covered by sponsorships.
Alex also lives on a cheap diet considering he is a vegetarian and thus doesn’t eat meat.
His biggest known purchases have definitely been his house in Las Vegas (he calls it a classic, cheap, cookie-cutter house in the suburbs) and his van upgrade (the 2016 Dodge Ram ProMaster cost around $35k). Aside from those purchases, Alex Honnold probably spends most of his money into his foundation.
How did Alex Honnold get started with climbing?
- Alex Honnold originally was introduced to climbing at the age of 5 but didn’t start climbing consistently until he was 10 years old.
- At 14 years old, Alex started working at his local climbing gym.
- Honnold was actually a great student, graduating in the prestigious IB (international Baccalaureate) program at his high school in Sacramento.
- Following his graduation, Honnold attended UC Berkeley to study Civil Engineering. He later dropped out to become a climber and this sparked the start of his dirtbag lifestyle.
- Alex’s first vehicle was his mom’s old minivan which died on him pretty quickly, at which point he lived out of a tent and traveled by bicycle.
- He later upgraded the bicycle for a 2002 Ford Econoline.
- In September 2007, Alex Honnold free soloed Astroman and Rostrum in one day.
- In September 2008, Alex Honnold free soloed Half Dome.
- Alex made the North Face team in 2009. By 2012, he was already making six figures from sponsorships.
- Alex also started ‘The Honnold Foundation’ in 2012, an environmental foundation that focuses primarily on solar energy projects.
- In 2017, Alex bought a house in Las Vegas. He primarily bought it because land is cheap and there is no income tax in the state of Nevada.
- As well in 2017, Alex Honnold bought a Dodge Ram ProMaster, replacing his older Ford Econoline with a bigger and more comfortable model.
- In June 2017, Alex Honnold free soloed El Capitan using the Freerider route.
- In June of 2018, Honnold and Tommy Caldwell broke the speed record by free climbing the Nose of El Capitan in under 2 hours.
- In 2019, the film Free Solo which documented Honnold’s insane journey to free solo of El Capitan, received an Academy Award for Best Documentary.
- In September of 2020, Alex married his girlfriend Cassandra “Sanni” McCandless.
- On September 13, 2021, Honnold revealed that his wife, Sanni, is pregnant on Instagram.
Why is Alex Honnold not on YouTube?
In a video on the YouTube channel of Norwegian Climbing legend Magnus Mitdbø, Alex Honnold is heard saying “youtube isn’t for me” when asked by Magnus why he isn’t on YouTube.
Does Alex Honnold live in his van?
Alex Honnold doesn’t actually live in his van anymore. He currently lives in a house he bought in Las Vegas. Alex still has his van of course, and still sleeps in it whenever he is traveling.
Is Alex Honnold Vegan?
Alex Honnold is a vegetarian. In the free solo documentary, he talks about how he had to force himself to eat vegetables in adulthood. His trick was to introduce a new vegetable one by one.
How did Alex Honnold get down from El Cap?
El Cap actually can be hiked from the other side. So after his free solo ascent, he simply hiked down.