Avid free climber and world-record setter Alex Honnold will speak for the first event in UCSB’s annual Natural High Lecture Series tonight at 6 p.m. in Isla Vista Theater #1.

Admission for the event is free and Honnold will participate in a meet-and-greet session today at 2 p.m. in the UCSB Adventure Climbing Center. Since Honnold left UC Berkeley at 18 to climb professionally, he has broken multiple climbing records and completed the only known solo climb of the Yosemite Triple Crown — scaling Mount Watkins, El Capitan and Half Dome in one day.

Office of Student Life Special Projects Coordinator Barbara Ortiz said the series draw speakers who present more constructive alternatives to drinking and using drugs. “The UCSB Natural High Series explores the many ways to have fun, take risks, seek physical and mental challenge and experience thrills without the need for excessive or dangerous alcohol and drug use,” Ortiz said in an email. According to Exercise and Sports Studies

Lecturer Rich Powell, Honnold was the perfect candidate because of his passion and personality, but the series had never been able to book him due to his busy climbing schedule.

“We’ve wanted Alex to come and speak for quite some time now due to his passion for the sport,” Powell said. “For the longest time we contacted him and he did not want to lecture because it would detract from his climbing time. That’s when we realized that he was perfect for the lecture series — he evidently loves what he does. He is very humble about his accomplishments and is environmentally conscious, which we thought would be a good principle to impart on the student body and those in attendance.”

OSL Senior Associate Dean of Students Debbie Fleming said the lecture series promotes ways to find excitement and enrichment in life through healthier means.

“It’s common for college students to use alcohol and drugs to relieve stress, connect with others and seek escape or thrills,” Fleming said in an email. “Rich and I, and many of our colleagues around campus who work on these issues, want to be able to expose students to healthier ways to accomplish these goals.”

According to Fleming, the lecture series has featured a variety of world-renowned athletes during its six-year span.

“Over the past few years we’ve had Olympic Gold Medalist in Beach Volleyball and UCSB alumni Todd Rogers; Scott Tinley, two-time Ironman World Champion who has competed in over 400 triathlons; and Keith Harmon Snow, a Regents Lecturer in Law and Society, who led a session on Satsang meditation and talked about alternative perspectives on being,” Fleming said in an email.

Powell said he is currently coordinating with surfer, musician and UCSB alumnus Jack Johnson for a Spring 2013 Natural High Lecture.