Free Solo follows American rock-climber Alex Honnold on a visually arresting tale of overcoming while pursuing his dream to climb the 3 000-foot El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park. But here’s the twist – to climb it without the use of any climbing equipment! This form of ‘free-hand’ rock climbing is referred to as free-solo climbing, or soloing. It’s an incredibly dangerous activity, and although it yields an impressive sight, one wrong step could result in the most fatal of circumstances.
We caught up with the celebrated athlete after the film’s much-deserved Oscar win where Alex shared how his triumphant ascent of El Capitan feels distant in comparison to what first-time viewers are experiencing now. “I’ve already free-soloed a couple of times since then,” said Alex. The actual event took place over a year and a half ago, with film-making team Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin at the helm of visually stitching the story together.
There are extended landscape shots throughout the film, offering an audience unobstructed panoramas of Yosemite National Park. The grandeur of the park’s scenery is utterly sublime and serves as an impeccable backdrop to Alex’s bravery. The climber also shared how the documentary gives valuable insight into how he overcame his fear of falling. He speaks of an “armour of invincibility” that he relied on in order to conquer the summit. This armour is constructed throughout his training, and motivates him both physically and mentally when he feels he no longer has the capacity to carry on. You won’t want to miss seeing one of the most exhilarating documentaries of the year!
Watch the trailer here:
Free Solo will premiere on 4 March at 21:00 on National Geographic, DStv Channel 182
By Features Writer, Marike Watson