Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.
Did You Know?
Alex Honnold has done the triple crown of climbing in Yosemite. El Cap, Half Dome and the Mt. Watkins.
Alex's brain scan in the film is referred to as an "MRI." This imaging modality is commonly used on athletes who need to have the extent of tissue damage visualized by a radiologist. Alex was studied with "fMRI" or functional MRI, which follows localized blood flow in the range of seconds which increases with increased neural activity. The interpretation presented in the film suggests Alex had a decreased response to fearful stimuli (pictures of sinking ships, knives, etc.) since there doesn't appear to be increased activity in the amygdala as compared to other subjects considered to be "normal."
The result is a documentary that’s fascinated with its subject without being reverent, one that’s beautifully photographed (the way that Vasarhelyi and Chin capture the scale of Honnold’s climb is stunning) without ignoring the horrifying consequences lurking if he fails.
Free Solo would be an exceptional piece of filmmaking if it confined itself to the physical poetry of Mr. Honnold’s achievements. But it gets at his inner life too, and goes a long way toward answering the unspoken question of what makes — or allows — him to do what he does.