The climbing style known as ‘free soloing’ is easy enough to understand, even for those that may have never put on a harness or chalked up their hands to scale a vertical face; to ‘free solo’ is to climb without any protective gear, just you, your chalk bag and climbing shoes. Alex Honnold is one of rock climbings brightest stars, an unmatched force in conquering the biggest walls without ropes, harnesses or any other gear. Debuting this fall is a feature-length film based on Honnold’s project to climb the mighty 3000 foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, without ropes, an unprecedented feat in the rock climbing world.
For any serious climber, Honnold has long been a polarizing figure on the scene, his ascents are dangerous, yet highly calculated and his celebrity has transcended the mainstream. ‘Free Solo’ directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, is the most polished and intimate Honnold feature we have seen. Not too many years ago, Honnold was scaling the equally impressive Half-Dome for CNN and National Geographic, cementing himself as a radical and impressive climber. The El Capitan free solo is a feat that may never be equaled in the rock climbing realm and the new feature film is an excellent glimpse into the preparation and execution of this unbelievable endeavor.
As a film ‘Free Solo’ does a wonderful job of building a sincere nervousness in the viewer, while also relating the huge accomplishment to the non-climbing population. The film is overly dramatic at moments but a fitting testament to the severity of danger involved with Honnold’s pursuit. Whether you are a fanatic dirtbag or totally oblivious to the sport of rock climbing, Free Solo is an inspiring and pertinent reminder to us all. The pursuit of our greatest dreams may not always make sense to others, but the effort displayed in overcoming adversity is hugely admirable to anyone. It makes sense Honnold’s nickname is “No Big Deal”, as he calmly balances his body on tiny holds in the rock, thousands of feet above the ground. Free Solo is a beautiful tribute to human achievement and a refreshingly authentic look into the rock climbing world even for a major hollywood picture.
Free Solo comes to theatres nationwide September 2018.