There’s no denying Alex Honnold’s climb in Free Solo is incredible, but how exactly did they film it?!
The first time I watched the (now, Oscar winning) documentary Free Solo, I was too busy covering my eyes and cringing at Alex Honnold’s climb to wonder ‘how exactly are they filming this?!’ Honnold choosing to climb Yosemite’s El Capitán in California, which is roughly 3,000 feet from top to bottom, was so harrowing it was easy to forget someone was behind the camera. The second time I watched it, just before it won Best Documentary at the 91st Academy Awards, I found myself focused on the filming more than the climb. How were they getting the shots?
Once I dug around, I learned that directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin have been incredibly open about their experiences. Chin, especially, had a lot to say given that he is a professional climber and often found himself dangling in precarious positions on the side of a mountain.
In the video below, Vasarhelyi and Chin “discuss how they captured rock climber Alex Honnold’s free solo climb (without any ropes, harnesses or protective equipment) of Yosemite’s El Capitan in June 2017.”
If you haven’t seen Free Solo yet, consider hitting the theaters or renting it on Amazon. It’s a nail biting experience but it will blow your mind what the human spirit can do. Alex Honnold might be crazy as far as I’m concerned but there is no denying that what he accomplished is the stuff of legend.