Climber Alex Honnold on Filming "Free Solo," Facing Death and Rejecting Religion

Read more on this subject: Entertainment: Outdoor Recreation
News Story Source:, Joe McGovern
Movie theaters would have been wise to include Dramamine along with tickets purchased for Free Solo. Nausea-inducing in the most spectacular way, the documentary chronicles rock climber Alex Honnold's rope-less ascent in 2017 of Yosemite's El Capitan, a vertical cliff face twice the height of the Empire State Building.

The feat, widely considered the greatest in the history of rock climbing, required years of preparation. Free Solo takes viewers into that process and ultimately right alongside Honnold for the climb itself, which was filmed from multiple angles. It is impossible not to look away from dizzying shots of Honnold spidering his way up the cliff — including a section 1,800 feet high called the "Boulder Problem," more or less a glass-flat granite wall. The risk of death becomes a meta-narrative.

"We asked ourselves about the ethics of doing this," says Chai Vasarhelyi, who directed the film with her husband, the
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