Lazy Sunday: Free Solo

By Ann Shayne
November 8, 2020

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19 Comments
  • Not sure if I have the mental stamina to watch the whole thing but shudder to think what it might inspire in others to try to actually top that. It’s supposed to be the ultimate but who knows…

  • Emily Harrington just free climbed it this week. Only the 4th woman to do so and 4th person by the route she took. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/07/emily-harrington-free-climb-el-capitan-yosemite-first-woman

    • Wow! Another great story! Thanks for the link!

      We love Free Solo, and my palms still sweat each time I watch it. He and Sanni were recently married – she posted some nice pictures on IG.

      The Dawn Wall with Tommy Caldwell is also good.

  • Photography is phenomenal!

  • Great movie! Great soundtrack!

  • Loved. Such a beautiful film.

  • I just added it to my Netflix queue. It is available on dvd discs so libraries might have it.

    • Happy to see I’m not the only one still getting DVDs from Netflix! I worry sometimes they’ll stop offering them, but it’s still my go-to for things either not mainstream enough to stream, or so mainstream that you have to pay extra to watch them. Plus I forget what I put in my queue, so every disc is a little surprise.
      Having said that, just the trailer of this movie had my stomach in knots and tears in my eyes, so I’m not sure it’s right for me right now….

      • Do you have a Kanopy account via your local library? It is an online streaming platform like Netflix and is the best for documentaries and anything “critically acclaimed”, but not mainstream. If was originally screened at some independent movie festival, chances are Kanopy will have it.

  • I hope his mother isn’t watching.

    • Exactly. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like heights—or imminent death, but this is the opposite of inspiring. A jerk who, for his own ambition and glory, leaves his family no doubt vomiting in fear. Ego + stupid.

      • I’ve heard that reaction from a lot of people. But, as a climber myself (although I stick with ropes), I can tell you that Alex doesn’t do what he does because of ego or stupidity. He is an extraordinarily intelligent and humble person who happens to find deep personal satisfaction in the challenge of free soloing. As the documentary shows, he didn’t simply walk up there and decide to show off. He had climbed El Cap more than 50 times and had been rehearsing this specific route (on rope) for months, until he committed every move to heart and to muscle memory. Much of his story, in fact, is an example of how discipline and unstinting preparation can help us achieve things that seem impossible. I think the lesson is useful for all of us.

        And, for the record, his mother supports him because she understands that this is a deep calling for him. She’s even started climbing herself and has written a book called “The Sharp End of Life,” about their relationship. Great interview with her here: https://www.adventure-journal.com/2019/05/alex-honnolds-mom-dierdre-wolownick-is-also-a-badass/

        • Thanks, Mizz Gee, for bringing intelligence & insight to this conversation. Great achievements do arise from deep inner wells of humility & dedication. It’s not “reality” tv; it’s not “celebrity” anything. I’m not a climber, but I am a long-distance bicyclist & hiker. I enter 100 mile bike races & weeks-long hikes for that space I reach inside when body-mind-spirit are united in one, focused task. I get it.

  • This makes me miss my nephew . Just sharing his adventures made me feel more alive.

  • I thought this movie was amazing, so suspenseful and such beautiful photography. But, I couldn’t knit to it, my gauge would be so tight!!

  • Opportunity missed …. where’s the extreme knitting?

  • !!! Tamales???? LOL. This reminds me of a similar movie, Touching the Void, where you know from the beginning that everyone makes it out alive because the participants are narrating the story but you simply can’t fathom how. These are such great movies of perseverance and courage, which we will all need going forward. Thanks Kay.

  • I enjoyed Free Solo. Not exactly the same, but you might also want to check out 180° South, and Chasing Giants. Both adventure documentaries that are fascinating windows into other people/places.

    • Ugh, sorry. RIDING Giants. Surf documentary.