Professional climber scales new heights for GRID


November 10, 2016

Strapped securely in his harness, world-class rock climber Alex Honnold shaded his eyes as he assessed the day’s ascent. The 10-foot ladder climb to a gently sloping roof was a far cry from the sheer cliffs he is accustomed to, but this was nonetheless outside his comfort zone.

“I definitely wouldn’t want to be up here without the harness,” he admitted. “This isn’t at all like climbing. One false step and you’ll trip over something if you’re not paying attention.”

Mr. Honnold was in Sacramento with GRID staff, volunteers, and his very own documentary film crew to install solar on a home in the Colonial Village neighborhood. A long-time GRID supporter, he was eager to help put a spotlight on the energy and environmental issues plaguing his hometown--as well as those working to remedy them.

As cameras and sound equipment followed him across the roof, Mr. Honnold’s attention never wavered from the GRID staff leading the installation. He listed intently as SolarCorps Construction Fellow Andre Marks explained the significance of the wires being connected to the solar inverters.

Andre has the Honnold Foundation to thank for the hands-on solar training he received with GRID through the Sacramento Job Corps, before joining GRID’s SolarCorps program. The Foundation has supported GRID’s job training work in the Central and North Valley regions for three years running. Now Andre gets to pay it forward, using the skills he gained to help teach others about solar--from students to community volunteers to professional rock climbers.

“[GRID] is a great place to be, especially for someone my age,” said Andre. “I’m very proud of the things I’m doing. I like helping people; it’s a great feeling.”

As the day came to a close and the construction crew packed away their tools, Mr. Honnold took off his hard hat and unstrapped his harness. “We should take these with us,” he joked.

Special thanks to the Honnold Foundation for supporting our work to bring renewable energy and solar job training to communities across California.