Adventure means something different to everyone - for some it could be hiking to the top of a mountain peak and for others it could be simply going somewhere new. For Alex Honnold, adventure means climbing to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes, which is what climbers refer to as free climbing.
For those reading this who aren’t aware of just how insane this actually is, El Capitan is a 3,000ft vertical granite cliff, and just looking at the gigantic wall is enough to send shivers down your spine—it’s that breathtaking.
In the world of climbing, Alex is somewhat of a legend and being a born and bred Californian, Yosemite is his playground. Like all adventure junkies who are looking for their next challenge and opportunity to push themselves to their absolute limits, Alex is no different, and on June 6, 2017, he free soloed his way to the top of Yosemite.
Upon completion of this huge feat of endurance we interviewed Alex in our California Questionnaire series and, of course his dream day in California would unfold in none other than Yosemite National Park…
“I live my dream day. Wake up in Yosemite, pedal my bicycle down to El Capitan (which is the biggest rock wall in the world), and go climb it. Afterwards, I hang out with my friends in the Valley and socialise.” – Alex
His successful climb to the top of Yosemite’s El Capitan has people torn. Is it an adrenaline-inducing showcase of the capabilities of humankind? Or is it a story of a man recklessly risking his own life in front of his family and friends? No matter how you choose to see it, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that he did it, and he survived and that is pretty incredible.
The documentary is filmed by Alex’s friend and esteemed climber, Jimmy Chin and his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, which makes the film even more intense to watch. How do they make a film about their friend, when at any moment he could plummet to his death right in front of their eyes? Throughout the film they all openly share with Honnold how much they don’t want him to undertake this extreme climb, but in the end they document their friend undertaking one of the most incredible climbs in the history of climbing. Most people spend a couple of days climbing El Capitan with ropes and a tent to sleep in, Alex did it in a mere 4 hours. The shots are breathtaking and it demands to be seen on the big screen - even if you do end up watching most of it through your fingers, with one eye closed.
Even though we know Alex is successful, it doesn’t make watching Free Solo any easier. Watch the trailer and then book your ticket to see the full documentary. If you can get past the fact that he could die at any moment, then enjoy the superb scenes of Yosemite National Park, which are truly splendid.