It’s safe to say that El Capitan in Yosemite National Park is the mecca of rock climbing. The massive wall of granite projects nearly 3200 feet straight up. It is the wall that put guys like Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and free climber Tommy Caldwell on the map. But there’s never been anything like this free solo from Alex Honnold – until now…

Alex Honnold is probably climbing’s most famous personality, and for good reason. While his pioneering climbing exploits all over the world have picked up the attention of the media, Alex lives a very modest lifestyle, camping out in his customized van living the true #vanlife as he travels around climbing hot spots.

Photo by The Plaid Zebra

His climbs have always been risky, but nothing yet has matched the intensity of the most recent El Cap ‘free solo’, meaning he climbed without ropes or safety gear. Alone on a massive wall of granite, the stakes could not be higher. Any slip means almost certain death. A sudden rainstorm, damp hold, or loose rock could mean the end. In fact, Honnold attempted El Cap in November of 2017, but turned back about a third of the way up because the conditions didn’t feel right.

Those who have climbed with Honnold say he is truly fearless. His analytical and calm way of looking at scary situations is what makes him the best in the world. A free solo of El Cap is the highest prize in climbing. It’ll be interesting to see what he thinks of next.

We’re excited for this upcoming National Geographic film from legendary climber and photographer Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi , who documented the preparation, anxieties, and ultimately the big climb. Stay tuned at National Geographic and the Heli Mag for updates on the release of this film and screenings near you.