Watch Alex Honnold Climb 3200 Feet with No Ropes in ‘Free Solo’

El Capitan is a 3,200-foot-tall wall of sheer granite in Yosemite National Park. Professional climber Alex Honnold climbed the Freerider route in June of 2017 in 3 hours 56 minutes.

Oh, and did we mention he climbed it with no ropes?

Not only did he complete this insane feat in under four hours, he did it while being filmed the entire way for the new documentary Free Solo.

Accomplished skier, mountaineer, and filmmaker Jimmy Chin teamed up with director and wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi to make the film documenting Honnold’s obsession with the massive rock face and the years of preparation leading up to the climb.

The film doesn’t just show the tension of training and climbing (though cameras showing Honnold dangling 2000 feet above the valley floor with no ropes might be enough for some of us), it also includes the emotional battle of family, friends, and a new girlfriend having to deal with the possibility of Honnold not coming home.

free solo climb film alex honnold el capitan 2
National Geographic

Honnold spent years preparing for the climb, climbing the route many times with ropes, making detailed notes about exactly what he would do without one. In 2016 he attempted the route, but found he wasn’t quite ready.

When asked what happens if he were to fall, he simply says, “You accept the fact that if anything goes wrong, you’re going to die. And that’s that.”

Good friend Chin had doubts about making a movie about free soloing, especially one about a friend, because it’s so dangerous.

“It’s hard to not imagine your friend falling through the frame to his death,” he said.

Preparation for the filming was almost as rigorous as the climb itself. Chin had to manage multiple climbers and drones filming on the wall all at once while keeping them from being in anyone else’s shot. Chin followed Honnold through years of preparation and then 30 days practicing the shoot with a 15 person crew on El Capitan.

Free Solo isn’t just about climbing and that’s what makes it different than any other climbing film. After watching the end results, Honnold complains that filming emotional conversations with his girlfriend in his van was harder than the climb itself.

free solo climb film alex honnold el capitan 8
National Geographic

“[Honnold] says he has the opposite experience from the audiences,” Chin says in an interview with Business Insider. “Everybody loves the love story and him as a fascinating documentary character and then are cringing during the climb. He loves the climbing footage and cringes during everything else.”

Honnold is taking a break from free soloing for the moment, focusing on other climbing projects. He’s also working on the Honnold Foundation, his non-profit that focuses on helping people out of poverty so they can enjoy and help protect the outdoors.

See dates and times for Free Solo and watch the interactive 360 video on National Geographic’s official movie site.

If you’re hankering to get your own climb on, check out the best places in the world to go rock climbing for a little inspiration.

Travel

The Best Places to Explore and Things to Do in Ecuador

There are a lot of beautiful places, great outdoor activities, and delicious (and adventurous) food to try in Ecuador.
Travel

Traveling Alone Can Be an Unforgettable Adventure with Contiki

Ever wanted to climb a volcano and make chocolate in the same trip? Check out Contiki and their curated trip to Ecuador.
Grooming

Dollar Shave Club is Getting into the Fragrance Field with New Line of Blueprint Cologne

The Dollar Shave Club doesn't just want you to look good — it wants you to smell good too.
Auto

Harley-Davidson Wants to Harness Lightning with the Production LiveWire

If Harley-Davidson wants LiveWire to be a success, not only does it need to drive well, but it needs to be priced so the next generation of riders can afford it.
Food & Drink

Nanopresso is the Go-Anywhere Personal Espresso Machine You Need Now

If you've got hot water, coffee, and a Nanopresso, you can make espresso anywhere.
Outdoors

11 Best Pocket Knives for Everyday Carry

Whether you consider yourself a present-day MacGyver or are just looking for a useful piece of gear, we've got you covered.
Fashion & Style

Lems Trailhead Hiking Shoe Is Just as at Home on the Trail as It Is at the Taproom

Lems Trailhead hikers were designed to take you seamlessly from mountain to Main Street.
Culture

Where to Try Axe Throwing, Your New Favorite Sport

While we’ve been throwing axes at stuff since the first one was made, axe throwing as a sport developed where many great things do: a guy’s backyard in Canada.
Outdoors

L.L. Bean Teams Up with Main Craft Breweries for New Beer and Boot Collab

You can win a free pair of boots by simply enjoying some beer. Incredible, we know.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet? So get inspired.
Outdoors

Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Scuba Diving Certification

Once you get past the sharks and kraken, it's surprisingly easy to master.
Outdoors

This Eco-Friendly Trekking Pole Plants Seeds as You Hike

FytoStick is a smart and efficient way to diminish your carbon footprint by playing Johnny Appleseed.
Outdoors

Prep Like a Survivalist With the 4 Best Bug-Out Bags

Hurricanes, locust swarms, alien invasion — no matter where you live, you’re at risk.
Food & Drink

How to Clean a Fish: A Quick Reference Guide

Knowing how to clean a fish is essential for anglers and aspiring chefs. These simple instructions and tools can help you prep your catch in no time.