• Alex Honnold is a world famous rock climber who achieved a free solo climb of Yosemite National Park's El Capitan granite monolith and proposed to his long-term girlfriend, Sanni McCandless.
• Sanni McCandless is an entrepreneur, certified personal life coach, and co-founder of OutWild who helps people live an outdoor lifestyle and do outdoor sports.
• Sanni met her future fiancé, Alex Honnold, at a book-launch event in 2015 and was featured in the documentary film “Free Solo”.
• Alex Honnold was born in 1985 and is a vegetarian, atheist, and feminist.
• Sanni and Alex have an estimated combined net worth of over $2.5 million.


Alex Honnold is a world famous rock climber, who has recently impressed everybody with his latest accomplishment – he performed a free solo climb of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan granite monolith, and proposed to his long-term girlfriend, Sanni McCandless. Alex’s fans could also see Sanni in the Oscar-winning documentary “Free Solo”.

Early life and family

Cassandra “Sanni” McCandless was born on 30 June 1992, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina USA – she spent half of her childhood between her hometown and the city of Seattle, Washington. Her zodiac sign is Cancer, and she holds American nationality. Cassandra was born into a family with two kids, her sisters Helen and Laila.

Her mother, corporate communications specialist Lesley Marijke McCandless, and her father, an electromagnetic engineer, Jay McCandless, own a company based in California entitled “Suncastle Microwave LLC”. They spend a lot of time at work, but Cassandra remembers them always taking care of their children, even though they were very busy. Cassandra got her nickname “Sanni” from her childhood friend, who couldn’t say her name properly, so shortened it in her own way, and Cassandra liked it so much that she started to introduce herself to the others as Sanni. Since her early years Sanni has enjoyed active games, and also liked singing.

Educational background

Sanni matriculated from East Chapel Hill High School in 2010, enrolling at the University of North Carolina, located in Chapel Hill.

During her junior year she joined an “a capella” music group entitled “Cadence”, not as a singer but as their business manager and social chair, organizing their performances at various local events and festivals. In 2014 Sanni graduated from the UNC with a BA in psychology and a minor in Spanish. In 2017 Sanni became a certified personal life coach, completing her studies at iPEC.


Marketing and event planning career

While studying at the university, Sanni started working as a waitress at a small cafe entitled “Carmine’s Ristorante and Pizzeria”. Developing her managing expertise, she benefited from her work with the music band “Cadence”, and signed up for an internship in the sphere of event planning at the “Back Country Land Trust”, an environmental conservation non-profit organization.

Sanni Mccandless

In 2013 Sanni joined the Durham Arts Council, one of the oldest American arts councils, and also completed an internship at her Alma Mater, completing the “UNC APPLES Program”, organizing several events there, including the CenterFest Arts Festival. During her senior college year, Sanni worked as a Spanish teacher, also being a nanny to the family of her parents’ friends.

In 2014 Sanni worked as a hospitality assistant in the WorkAway organization, living in Cordoba, Spain for a couple of months. After working shortly for Koru Careers, Sanni got the position of an events and marketing co-ordinator at Queensland Council of Social Service, working for its program Energy Savvy Families.

Shifting from a clerk to an adventurer

In 2015 Sanni quit QCOSS to join her elder sister in coaching outdoor adventure sports, including rock climbing. In a couple of years, Sanni became an entrepreneur, founding a life coaching center, steadily attracting more clients, and feeling stable in the new market. Later Sanni became a co-founder of OutWild, a community for people who want to live an outdoor lifestyle and do outdoor sports. Along with the other co-founders,  mountain athlete Jeremy Jensen, and career manager and podcast host Courtney Sanford, Sanni helps other people to change their lives and to be closer to nature and achieve freedom of self-expression. ‘Through her coaching, she helps people overcome the doubts and concerns that constantly get in the way of living fearlessly and feeling fulfilled.

Her clients achieve lifelong goals and find agency in their own lives by learning to communicate more honestly’, says the information about Sanni on the official website of OutWild. During the hard times of global pandemic of 2020, Sanni holds free online workshops such as “Effective Communication”, “How to Have Hard Conversations”, and others.

Personal life, fiancé Alex Honnold

Sanni met her future fiancé, Alex Honnold, at a book-launch event Alex held for his book “Alone on the Wall” in 2015 – Sanni was brave enough to pass him a small piece of paper with her number on it when he signed her copy of the book. After a couple of weeks when Alex returned to Seattle, he called her and they started dating, and Sanni subsequently began accompanying him on his journeys.

At the beginning of their relationship Alex already had the idea of climbing El Capitan rock, even though he’d already had two accidents. Later, Sanni was featured in the documentary film “Free Solo”, directed by Jimmy Chin and his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, who also were producers of the movie. The film won the Academy Award as Best Documentary Feature in 2019, leaving behind such documentaries as “Minding the Gap”, “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” and “RBG”. The movie also won multiple awards from 2018 to 2019, including Toronto International Film Festival Awards, British Academy Film Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards, winning all seven categories the film was nominated for.

Sanni is often asked by her followers if she is afraid of Alex dying, as he often puts himself in danger almost on a daily basis.

She once wrote that at first she was not even thinking of his death, but after her friend Ueli died in an accident while climbing Everest, and his wife Nicole became a widow, Sanni understood that people she loved were often living their lives on the edge. Yet even then she wrote: ‘I would never want my death to take the joy of living from someone else. It’s natural and healthy to grieve, but maybe it’s also ok when the time is up. Not because we won’t miss the s*** out of people we love, but because death is coming for us all’.

Who is Alex Honnold?

Alexander Honnold was born on 17 August 1985, in Sacramento, California USA. His mother, Dierdre Wolownich is also a climber – she climb El Capitan when she was 66, but not free solo, as her son later did.

Alex’s father, Charles Forrest Honnold, is a community college professor. Alex admits that he has never been the best climber, as he has seen a lot of kids who started climbing early and did it like they had a natural gift; Alex says he has never been like that, but has had a passion for it, so he has managed to achieve this much. Alex became popular in the world of climbing when he free soloed the Rostrum and the Astroman in Yosemite Valley in one day, and has accomplished  a lot of other significant climbs, including several free solos and speed solos.

Alex is a vegetarian, and doesn’t take any kinds of drugs or alcohol. His major interest after climbing is reading; he reads several books a week when he has spare time between his climbs.

Among his favorite writers are Crey Rich, David A. Sinclair and Robin Diangelo. Alex calls himself ‘a militant atheist and a feminist’.

Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts

Sanni likes winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and mountain skiing. She also enjoys swimming, dancing and simply walking in the woods. Her favorite creature is a butterfly.

Is Sanni related to Chris McCandless?

Sanni is often asked if she is related to another outdoor enthusiast and hiker, Chris McCandless, who died of starvation in 1992, when he was only 24 years old during his travels around the North America, as he had minimal supplies.

Sanni knows his story, but they are not relatives.

Appearance, clothing style

Sanni has long light brown hair, is 5ft 6ins (1.7m) tall, weighs around 123lbs (56kgs), and her vital statistics are 34-24-35. Sanni enjoys wearing straw hats. She doesn’t have any tattoos.

Net worth and salary

As of 2020, Sanni’s net worth is reported to be around $1 million, while her fiancé, Alex has a reputed net worth of over $1.5 million, which significantly grew after the success of the documentary film on his free soloing El Capitan.

1 Comment

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