Free Solo

A FILM BY ELIZABETH CHAI VASARHELYI & JIMMY CHIN

February 21st, 2019

Alex Honnold’s Free Solo climb should be celebrated as one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever.

The New York Times

“Free Solo,” a new National Geographic documentary, examines how and why a sane man named Alex Honnold climbed a three-thousand-foot wall of rock in Yosemite National Park last summer without a rope. Rock climbing without safety gear is known as “free solo,” and it has killed plenty of élite climbers through the years, including Honnold’s friends. His free solo of El Capitan in Yosemite was, according to a piece in the Times, “one of the great athletic feats of any kind, ever.” But to Honnold, who is thirty-three, it was something else: a fascinating puzzle, years in the making, in which to both lose himself and be found. Its completion brought about an existential contentment that, the film suggests, had long eluded a man whose own girlfriend calls him “strange.”

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