If you like watching unfathomable human feats or people doing things that defy any sort of logic, then you might want to check the film Free Solo.
Free Solo is a documentary film that features a free soloist climber Alex Honnold’s two-year journey as he prepared to achieve his lifelong dream: climbing the great granite cliff, the 3,000 feet El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, California, without using ropes or other safety gear.
After ALex Honnold completed the climb in 3 hours and 56 minutes on June 3, 2017. He has now been widely regarded as one of the greatest feats in rock climbing history and the 33-year-old is now widely acknowledged as the greatest free-solo climber in the world.
Many renowned solo climbers have died attempting to scale the mammoth rock face. In fact, two experienced climbers, Jason Wells and Tim Klein, fell to their deaths 1,000 feet from the Freeblast section of El Capitan last June. They were roped together simul climbing the terrain which they had completed at least 70 times previously.
Free Solo also captures Honnold’s rigorous preparation and plans before the climb and the emotional toll it took not only on himself but also to his friends and loved ones.
While doing this film, Alex struggled with self-doubt and two serious injuries, including a busted ankle from a roped fall, which cast doubt over the endeavor with producers persuading Alex not to feel pressured into the climb.
It was so terrifying even the filmmakers documenting it and the crew was ‘tortured’ by the idea that Alex Honnold may have died completing it.
Filmmakers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi also admit they had their fears.
According to Jimmy Chin, the filmmaker who is also an expert climber himself said, the crew felt a lot of tension and grief throughout the filmmaking process.
According to the Metro, he said: “You’re a pro, but when you have that much exposure, and you’re moving that much equipment, and you’re filming on top of it and thinking about your friend, it’s a tremendous amount of physical and mental exertion.
“The crew was tortured by the idea that maybe you’ll be filming your friend’s death.”
According to co-director and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, she said that whether the climb went ahead was ultimately out of their hands.
She said this while speaking to the associated press: “I don’t think our role as filmmakers was to tell him not to do it, and that’s weird, right? Especially when there’s a life on the line.”
Alex’s long-term girlfriend, Sanni McCandless, could not stop him from taking on the climb, despite the risk it posed and the pain it caused her.
His girlfriend said: “I don’t think I ever wished he wouldn’t do it. I wanted him not to want it, but I never wanted him not to do it.”
“Knowing that he does want it, you realized he’s going to be so bummed if never brings it to fruition.”
But for Honnold, the film is all about the process of obliterating fear to accomplish his life-long goal.
Speaking to The Guardian, Alex said: “I think a big part of the film is showing the long process to get to that point where it wasn’t scary anymore because I had been dreaming about soloing El Cap for so many years.”
The film Free Solo is currently out in the US and will be released in the UK on 14 December.
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