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Documentary film ‘Free Solo’ features extreme Las Vegas athlete Alex Honnold

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A screen grab from Free Solo with Alex Honnold, right.
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Possibly the greatest rock climbing documentary ever stars Las Vegas transplant—and superhuman climber—Alex Honnold. The National Geographic film is titled Free Solo, after the extremely dangerous practice of death-defying rope-free climbing at the center of the narrative. In fact, the filmmakers take great lengths to show that many free solo climbers are now dead.

The story—streaming and purchase dates TBA—follows Honnold’s heroic and/or suicidal effort to free solo the 3,000-foot El Capitan rock wall at Yosemite National Park. The preparations are beyond intense: It’s not just a physical or mental achievement; it’s one of strategy and practice. Yet, no amount of planning removes the very real danger of the climb, and the filmmakers’ fear that their interference could literally kill their subject is a secondary storyline. This story of extreme triumph—it’s no spoiler to say that Honnold safely summits—will appeal to all, whether viewers are expert climbers or couch potatoes.

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