Free Solo (2018) Movie Script

Our next guest is a free soloing
phenomenon, please welcome Alex Honnold.
Here is what I
don't understand.
One little mistake, one little
slip, and you fall and die.
Yeah, I mean, uh, you
seem to understand it well...
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
And I feel like anybody could
conceivably die on any given day.
Soloing makes it feel far more
immediate and much more present.
Does it feel different
to be up there without a rope?
When you're climbing without
a rope, it's obviously like
much higher consequence, much,
much higher level of focus.
You know, it's a whole
different experience.
So it's not like I'm just
pushing and pushing and pushing
until something
terrible happens.
I don't look at it, like,
with that perspective.
But maybe that's why
it's dangerous for me.
Maybe I'm too close to it and I can't
tell that I'm speeding towards a cliff.
I like to differentiate
between risk and consequence.
You know, when I'm doing these hard free
solos I like to think that the risk,
you know, the chance
of me falling off is
quite low even though the
consequence is extremely high.
And that's kind of like one of the
appeals of free soloing, you know,
to take something that seems difficult
and dangerous and make it feel safe.
So, do you think that, uh, being a rock
climber has been a positive or negative
for your dating life?
My dating life?
I think, uh, I think
overall it's been a negative.
Um, I just travel too
much and I live in a car.
Let's talk through some of
the climbing adventures you've had.
The historic free solo
climb, Moonlight Buttress.
When I did it, it was like,
"Oh," you know, kind of groundbreaking,
kind of extreme.
But for me it always felt
quite easy and pretty secure.
Well, that wasn't where you
stopped, because that next challenge then
was free soloing Half Dome.
Half Dome was a huge step for me
because it was twice as big as anything
I'd ever soloed.
Free soloing is so
dangerous that less than 1% of people
who climb attempt it.
Alex has done more than 1,000 free solo
climbs, but none were tougher than this one.
I got quite scared in some places,
and then you start to panic a little bit.
And then you have to,
like, reel it all back in.
What is next in
free solo climbing?
Well, I don't know, I mean,
I've thought about El Cap, like,
for years and every
year I look at it and I'm like,
"That's really scary."
Um, well, I've never even wanted to
really, or I've always wanted to but then
I've always been like,
"That's too scary."
I'm aiming towards the most
beautiful valley on earth.
I remember coming to Yosemite as a little
kid and my dad would always have a little
cooler in the back of the car, and
have our cookies in the cold milk,
and we'd sit on these slabs above
Tunnel View, which is, like,
the most epic
view of Yosemite.
As soon as you see El Cap it's like,
"Oh, there it is, pretty exciting."
El Cap is the most
impressive wall on earth.
Yeah, I mean I love,
I love being in the van.
I probably feel extra comfortable
in the van now because I've lived
in it for nine years.
My first van, well, I actually
stole the family minivan.
My dad died when I was
19 and I, I quit school.
There was some life insurance.
I had just enough to dirt bag.
Six years ago I was living in a Walmart
parking lot and spending eighty-eight cents
on dinner every night.
Living in a van is great but, you know,
at a certain point it'd be nice to have a
bathroom and have,
like, a shower at least.
So you have a
girlfriend now, I heard.
- Hmm, trending towards one.
- Trending towards?
Hmm, I mean, she's very supportive
about, like, you know, you have to do you.
Yeah we'll, we'll see.
But yeah, there probably will be
plenty of girlfriends in my life,
you know, in terms of,
like, big climbing,
lifetime achievement deals,
where you're just like, well,
like I will always choose
climbing, over, over a lady.
At least, you know, so far.
How many times have
you climbed El Cap?
Probably like 40
something maybe.
- You ever free solo? -No and nobody has.
- Why haven't you done it yet?
Um, look at it, like, I mean, you know,
think about it, it's freaking scary.
I don't know, so I mean I've thought about
this since 2009, like, each year since 2009,
I've been like, "This is the year,"
and each year I climb it and I'm like,
"This isn't the year, like,
this is fucked," you know.
So I'm like, "Uh." But the
thing is I'll never be content,
unless I at least
put in the effort.
Because, like, if I do all the work and
I'm still like, "This is messed up,"
then maybe it's just not for me,
maybe its future generation, you know.
Or maybe just somebody who
has nothing to live for.
When I thought about El Cap years ago, there
were question marks all over the walls.
It's like I don't know about this
pitch, I don't know about that pitch,
like I don't know about this particular
slab, there are all these things that
seem pretty crazy to me.
If the ultimate dream is to solo El Cap,
then I need a good map of what that will
take, you know, like a, a mental image of
what the hard parts are, where they are,
what they will entail.
If I'm going to do it, Free
Rider seems like the best route.
Oh, hi.
What's up, dude?
Oh, hey.
Oh, actually, I might as well just
rack it straight onto my harness.
So, do you wanna lead
the Freeblast or do I?
I feel like we should do what we did
before which would be you lead the, yeah,
you lead the Freeblast.
So, basically I'll just try
to take it, like, as far as I can.
So Tommy just got here
and they're going up Freerider.
I'm just gonna try to shoot this
pitch and the traverse pitch and then
I'm gonna jug out
like a maniac.
Do we have enough line
up there to do all this?
- Yeah.
- Okay.
The idea of going up
on El Cap with Tommy Caldwell
is to get a feel for the
route and just visualize it.
To see what feels
scary and what doesn't.
Oh, God.
Look at those fixed ropes
the first climb.
Tommy's been a hero
of mine since I was a kid.
I didn't technically have posters
of him up in my room as a kid,
but it was like the same deal, you know,
where I was like, "Tommy's the man."
Tommy really showed what was
possible, free climbing on El Cap.
Tommy is the one that explored
every aspect of the wall.
And most of the routes that he's put up on El
Cap haven't been repeated because they're,
they're basically too hard.
And then, ultimately culminated
with the Dawn Wall which was his
multi-year project.
I mean possibly the hardest
big wall in the world.
I've been obsessed
with El Cap for years.
El Capitan is unbelievably
huge, kind of unfathomably huge.
It's 3,200 feet
of sheer granite.
Looking at it, it doesn't seem
right, it doesn't seem like you
should be able to climb it.
I understand why
Alex is obsessed.
El Cap has obsessed
generations of climbers.
I think it was first climbed in 1958 by
Warren Harding, and it took them 46 days
over 16 months because they
couldn't do it continuously.
They had to drill bolts into the
granite and pull themselves up.
And then ever since then, it's been the
center of the rock climbing universe.
I've spent 20 years of my life climbing
El Cap but I'd never do it without a rope.
There's no margin for error.
Imagine an Olympic gold medal level athletic
achievement, that if you don't get that
gold medal you're gonna die.
That's pretty much what
free soloing El Cap is like.
You have to do it perfectly.
Today I am playing through
a lot of different scenarios,
so thinking about the moves,
thinking about the body position,
and more than anything just thinking
about what it would feel like to,
to be in that position
without a rope.
There are a lot of things that
you can physically do on a rope.
Oh, God.
But then the idea of taking the
rope away, you're just like,
"I don't know if I'd wanna trust
that little foothold. Oh, my God,
my feet hurt so bad and I'm
so pumped and my hand hurts.
I just feel pooped.
We're kind of getting worked.
When you've been thinking about something
for years, that's a long time to be,
like, sort of considering an idea without,
like, really talking to anybody about it.
Especially someone like Tommy.
When I was climbing, like, up the
endurance corner and across the traverse,
I was just looking down thinking about,
I was like, "Dude, this seems so scary."
I don't know.
That part is just
so exposed and it's pretty.
See, that part again is like, at
least you have holds though, you know.
The Freeblast slabs have
like several moves where it's like,
your whole life just depends
on one foothold, you know.
Soloing is like such a
weird personal activity.
You never talk about
soloing projects.
I mean, I've done all my
soloing without telling anybody,
because I don't want
any extra pressure.
The idea of climbing El Cap, obviously I
get interview questions about it all the
time, like, "Oh, would
you like to do that?"
And I've always been like,
"No, well maybe, we'll see.
You know, who knows?"
But like in the back of your mind
you're like, "Yes, for sure."
I used to be like
a super picky eater.
When I was like 19 or 20 or, well, between like,
20 and 24, I basically decided that I had
to start eating vegetables, and then
sort of, like, systematically introduced
myself to vegetables, like one at
a time, which worked pretty well,
now I pretty much
eat anything.
I stopped eating meat maybe
three or four years ago, um,
mostly for
environmental reasons.
Then once I stopped I also kind of got
into the ethics of it a little bit more.
We'll just see how
this comes out.
Yeah, I mean there are plenty of folks who
probably think that this is, like, terrible.
I'm eating, like,
canned chili and eggs.
Growing up, I mean, I didn't
like eating weird foods,
I didn't like bugs, you know,
I was just like a total tweeker.
I guess I was
quite a shy child.
Bit of a dark soul, I think.
Maybe melancholic is the word.
I remember really liking to play with
my Legos and play computer games and,
uh, and then obviously once I started
rock climbing I was going to the
climbing gym all the time.
But I didn't really have a whole
lot of hobbies or interests.
I definitely wasn't
cool, you know.
I grew up in Sacramento and the
high school I went to, I was, uh,
in an international baccalaureate
program, so we were all sort of
the intellectual kids.
So, in a way it was fine to be sort
of a dorky loner cause, you know,
the whole program was
focused around that.
There was definitely a time when I started
climbing outside more and I was just
starting to road trip
and go to campgrounds,
but I was too afraid
to talk to strangers.
So, I was doing a lot of soloing, or
just a lot of climbing by myself just
because I didn't know anybody and
I didn't wanna talk to anybody.
It's freaking good,
I've outdone myself.
Spicy chili really
adds something.
As a kid I just love climbing trees
and climbing buildings and, like,
playing on things.
And when I was going to school here I was also
climbing on all the roofs and stuff here.
Uh, and, uh, yeah.
It's actually kind of intimidating
talking to groups of kids.
Like, when I was in high school
I was mortified of standing in
front of the class.
But, like, you kind of get through
it and, like, eventually you feel
more and more comfortable.
I don't know.
- There's a question.
- Um, yeah.
How do you feel about being
famous, just for, like,
turning your hobby
into your career?
I mean, I think it's the best thing in
life to be able to take the one thing
you love most and have it, like, work
out that you can make a living that way.
You know, so it's nice that I
now get paid to do that, yeah.
How much money do you have?
I've got, I've got, I've got probably
like 40 bucks in my wallet, you know.
Um, but no, like,
a, a fair amount.
Um, like, like, you know, say, like,
a moderately successful dentist
or something, probably.
Mr. K?
Alex, could you talk about your
foundation a bit and what you're doing?
Yeah, so, I started a non-profit,
um, I guess maybe four years ago.
Let's watch this piece of video
so you're gonna get a little taste of that.
Climbing has allowed me to travel all
over the world, which has really opened my
eyes to how the rest
of the world lives.
I mean, I see all these people, I mean
they're like a billion people on Earth
without access to power.
And so I started my foundation
sort of as an attempt to, like,
balance the cosmic scales.
So, I've been giving, maybe, like, a
third of my income every year through the
foundation to, like,
environmental non-profits.
I mean, so, like off-grid solar
projects, things like that, like,
things that lift people out of
poverty, but also help the Earth.
Ah, you get out.
- Oh, hi.
- Hi.
I met Sanni, book
touring in Seattle.
And then we just have been
hanging out ever since.
I think, I think this is our very first date
in Las Vegas, and I think we're climbing,
like, a very easy
multi-pitch together.
Um, you know I just took her up
this big tall route because then,
I kind of knew it
would blow her mind.
Is she a climber?
Um, Sanni's like a
little bit of a climber.
She, she's just starting but I'd
hardly characterize her as a climber.
You see straight in front of us, there's
like an depression that looks like a heart.
To the left of that,
that's Freerider.
This is like the whole valley,
like, we're driving in this highway.
And then this is, like, the
valley loop from here to here,
the main rocks are all,
like, between here and here.
Okay, oh, maybe
I should read this.
Alex was giving a talk in
Seattle, in December last year.
I didn't know anything
about him and I showed up.
Wait, you're wearing the same
shirt in half these photos.
I know.
Oh, Alex.
Well, because I don't have
anybody to help me with my wardrobe.
Oh and then, when I got my
book signed, I gave him my number.
Which was sort of a joke with
a friend but then evolved.
I just thought he was really
cute but also brutally honest,
but I'm really drawn to that.
Whoa, look how
precariously balanced it is.
But he's also just
a funny guy, he's weird.
You know, a weird dude,
and I find it interesting.
Oh, we tree
pose on the tree?
It's not wobbling.
It's totally wobbling,
what are you talking about.
Just for you.
- I'm waiting. ALEX: Oh.
- Okay.
When you start
getting eaten by mosquitoes,
feel free to
just start climbing.
Just keep the Grigri on.
I'll wait.
Okay, whatever
you're comfy with.
Having the girlfriend
in the van is awesome.
I mean, she's cute and small and,
like, livens the place up a bit,
doesn't take up too much room.
I mean, it's, pretty much
makes life better in every way.
Alex, you got me tight?
This is nerve-racking.
When I was lowering Alex, I was watching him
come down the final section and the rope
went right through the
Grigri, right through my hands,
and right through the Grigri
and he dropped to the ground.
It was my fault that I didn't
watch the end of the rope.
It was just like, "Oh, my
gosh, what have I done?"
The x-ray didn't show much, but
then they took the CAT scan and then they
said it was, like, two
compression fractures and.
But they only focused on
they didn't focus on the lower.
Right after it happened
I wanted to break up with her.
I was like, "Oh, this is bad
for my climbing." But she said,
"Is that really gonna
make your life any better?"
I was like,
"No, probably not."
This is gonna feel a
little uncomfortable.
I said, you know,
"I think we can move past this
and I think you could have it all.
I think that you could have a
steady girlfriend and climb."
As it turns out, compression
fracture isn't too serious.
They said that I could climb and just
be careful about pain management and
all that stuff.
But it's just a
little bit rattling.
Because I definitely know some people who
have fallen super far and survived or,
like, gone through a tree
and sort of been okay.
And now I'm like, "I don't know,
like, I don't think I'd be okay."
And so I imagine falling free soloing
or something from 50 meters up, I mean,
I realize that my body would
just explode on impact.
In 2012, I was here for the first
time and it was right before I went to
Yosemite for the season, and that was
like my best Yosemite season ever.
What was that, Alex?
I said you just passed halfway
and, uh, the rope's actually looking
pretty good now.
Yeah, pretty nice rock.
I think the climbing here in Morocco,
it's good training for El Cap.
It's gonna make him strong, it's gonna get
him good at moving through the mountains,
it's gonna make him feel fit.
Flowing through the mountains in the
ways that you do with Alex is addicting.
His attitude towards risk, it
makes you feel kind of invincible,
which is emotionally appealing, but for
me I don't think it's the smartest thing.
Climbing with Alex is,
it's like a vice in a way.
It's like smoking cigarettes
with beer or something.
It's like, I don't really wanna do it but
I just, like, let myself do it sometimes
because it's kinda nice.
- Yeah, buddy!
- Yo!
Can you read me your
journal entry for today?
It says, "Bey wall 7C+, one fallen
crux, two pumped, need more fitness."
Do you ever put things like "Saw
the biggest juniper tree of my life"?
No, not in the
climbing journal.
- Miss my dog.
- No.
- And my mom.
- I don't know, none?
- No, no.
- No. -All right.
Alright, Jim's gonna follow you guys down
partway, Clair's gonna pick you guys up at
the bottom of the gully
going into the base.
And then we'll be
shooting on the wall.
So, once we pass you guys, you guys
wrap and then hike to the summit basically?
Jimmy and I have
worked together for 10 years.
We've climbed all
over the world.
We are doing the
triple link up too, right?
I mean, by the time we
get to Yosemite we're gonna be
as Cheyne says, "Yoked."
The team that Jimmy assembled
are all professional climbers.
The best possible crew
for this kind of thing.
And so in a way, I'm like, "This
is kinda awesome." You know,
it's kind of just like I get to
go climb with all my friends.
Mikey, we should put someone right
here because if you lean out you can see the
entire freaking route.
Then let's just put the 100
meter there and the 400 footer here.
Doubled up.
I've known Alex since he pretty much
started climbing in Yosemite, 2008 or 2009.
I've filmed Alex a handful
of times, free soloing.
And then we've also spent a couple of
winters together down in South America.
So, uh, we, the
time's added up.
Uh, I spend a lot of
time with him now.
So, I'm scared because I don't
wanna see anything happen to Alex.
I mean, it's one of the reasons that I
almost said no to this job, and, I mean,
I think Jimmy went through
the same stuff of being like,
"Do we really wanna
be part of this?"
I've always been conflicted
about shooting a film about free soloing
just because it's so dangerous.
It's hard to not imagine, your friend,
Alex, soloing something that's extremely
dangerous and you're making a film about
it, which might put undue pressure on him
to do something, and him falling
through the frame to his death.
And we have to work through that and understand
that what we're doing is something that
we can live with even in
a worst-case scenario.
It's a funny thing, people who know
a little bit about climbing, they're like,
"Oh, he says he has it,
he's, he's totally safe."
And then people who really know exactly
what he's doing are freaked out.
My dad was always like, "I don't
want you to go ice climbing.
I don't want you to
free solo," you know.
Just not, I wonder
if your dad had been like.
When he was my age, he had
had like 20 or 30 friends that had
died in the mountains.
And now I'm at that point where
I've had, you know, 30 or 40 friends
that have died
in the mountains.
That many?
Yeah, I counted
them a while ago.
I mean, like not friends
but people in our community.
Yeah, people, yeah, yeah, totally,
like Kyle Dempster and Scott recently.
People that I have
met, yeah, I'm like, no, yeah.
I haven't had anybody die who I was,
like, really, really, close to yet.
Uh-hmm. Uh-hmm.
I don't know.
I think everybody who has made
free soloing a big part of their life,
is dead now.
John Bachar was a
pioneer of so-called free solo climbing,
he fell to his death this past
week at the age of 52 from a cliff.
And we're sorry
to have to report on the death of
U.S. Climber Sean Leary.
Sean was killed in Utah and
was found a couple of days ago.
Derek Hersey
was climbing in Yosemite Valley.
His body was found
Saturday morning.
Hersey climbed, as usual,
alone without ropes.
Most people that
are pushing the limits,
they have this mentality of "Screw
it, whatever happens, happens."
I think all the soloing he's
done has trained his mind.
He doesn't get emotionally affected
by it the way that a lot of people do.
And not knowing about the science
of that is that's probably a product
of your past more than
it is just a genetic thing.
There's been a lot of speculation
about, like, how I deal with fear and,
like, how I'm
able to free solo.
People are just like, "Oh, well,
he must be a thrill seeker.
There must be
something defective."
So when a writer
contacted me about doing an
MRI, I thought it's kind of cool
just to go and get an MRI and, like,
see what's actually going on.
You know, scan your brain and then
see if it's all there structurally.
We're gonna
start the task now.
Remember to press the button every time
you see a new picture come up, okay?
We'll see maybe it turns out I'm some
kind of freak creature or something.
I've had several ex-girlfriends
said that I have personality
disorders or things like that.
That there's something
wrong with me.
Emotionally stable?
Ingenious, a deep thinker?
Tends to find
fault with others?
Agree somewhat.
Climbing a steep mountain
would be too scary for me?
I have trouble
controlling my impulses?
Is depressed?
Is my, is my brain intact?
Your brain's intact and
it's, it's quite interesting.
Those little two dots that are
further towards the top of the screen,
that's the amygdala.
So an interesting thing, do you
have no activation in your amygdala?
There's just not much
going on in my brain, it seems.
Um, do you think my amygdala actually
just doesn't work or something?
Your amygdala works, it's just that it
needs a much higher level of stimulation.
Things that are typically stimulating
for most of the rest of us are
not really doing it for you.
Maybe my amygdala's
just tired, you know,
from too many years
of being all gripped.
I'm feeling quite fit, but, um, there's
such a mental component to free soloing.
The big challenge is
controlling your mind, I guess.
Because you're not, you're not controlling
your fear, you're sort of just trying
to step outside of it.
Oh, no,
woo, sorry, Alex!
And when people talk about
trying to suppress your fear, I mean,
I look at it in
a different way.
I try to expand my comfort zone by
practicing the moves over and over again.
I work through the fear, until
it's just not scary anymore.
Oh, no, no, no, no.
Oh, so slippery.
But, um, for years Freeblast
has given me the heebie-jeebies.
You're standing on tiny edges, small
variations in the texture of the rock.
If you slip, your
hands can't hold you.
It's just the two tiny points of
contact that keep you from falling, and
when you step up,
there's only one.
It's like, it looks so much better
today than yesterday, but we'll see.
I probably fell about 30 feet.
We're up there, we're roped up, Sanni's
belaying me, and then I just fell off,
I don't know.
I just, I don't even know
how, I just, like, fell off.
Show me how much you
can go up and down on your own.
It's, it's like, you know.
I think this looks to me just like
your straightforward ankle sprain.
So, you know, we say ankle sprain,
but more or less an ankle sprain
is torn ligaments.
- Yeah.
- That's what it is.
...So what does that mean in terms
of, uh, like hiking and stuff?
I mean, if I just, like, immobilize
it and then, uh, still just hike.
Yeah, I mean, you gotta' get
yourself through the first few days.
Um, but after that and it's
just strengthening and rehab.
Well, and actually, can I make
it worse really, through activity?
Um, you could probably
do too much too soon.
Wait, you don't need
to keep that right.
I can worry as
much as I want internally,
but if he doesn't do
this stuff he'd regret it.
If Alex and I got married and had kids,
I would feel a lot more willing to say
what I thought about what
was acceptable risk or not.
He should have
put his shoe on.
- Stubborn.
- Stubborn.
I thought you were, you know, walking
and stuff now, I thought you're fine.
Oh, I am, but what.
Doctors said you were
supposed to push it, Alex, come on.
Don't you want
some watermelon?
Oh, well, good thing you have
a personal slave to do that for you.
Uh-huh, I know, I'm
pretty stoked about that.
All right, um, is it gonna be that
no matter how I do this, you're like,
"Why did you do it that way?"
I just want watermelon.
I kind of wanted to blame
Sanni to some extent because
you're just like, "Whatever."
I haven't been injured in, like,
seven years and then it's like I'm
hanging out with this girl that doesn't
climb and I suddenly start getting
injured all the time.
It's like you just
cut down a tree.
When they say "active recovery,"
no, that doesn't mean you're walking
all over the place.
I would be happy if
he didn't free solo.
I've always appreciated that he never
told me beforehand that he was gonna
free solo or anything.
I could come down on him and say,
"You shouldn't be doing that,"
and alienate him,
and, uh, it would've alienated
him because that's
his, uh, whole life.
I think when he's free soloing,
that's when he feels the most alive,
the most everything, the most.
Feels the most.
And how can you even think about taking
that away from somebody, you know?
I wouldn't.
I've been able to stand on one foot
while I put my harness and my shoes and
stuff on, and getting' this
like kind of, a minor victory.
Um, I haven't put on my climbing
shoe basically since I did it.
So swollen. So tender.
Unfortunately, crack climbing
is all ankle-dependent.
And Freerider is 3,000
feet of crack climbing.
All my friends that have sprained
their ankles in serious ways have
all been like, "Oh, it's gonna be at
least six months until it's normal."
If I can't get this
done in the next month
then the weather will change and
I'll have to wait until next year.
You know, a couple years ago,
I remember him telling me that he had never
fallen unexpectedly in his life,
and now I've seen it happen twice
in the past, like, month.
But when you hear stuff like that,
you start to wonder a little bit.
I had this dream the night before
he called me that he had, like,
wandered into our house and asked
us, and, like, started crying,
which really freaked me out
'cause Alex doesn't cry.
And then he had told me that he
fell free soloing and started, like,
revealing all of his injuries, like
he pulled up his sleeve on his arm,
and in my dream a bone just, like, fell
out of his arm and it was all messed up.
And that, and it was this really, like,
kind of vivid, but super freaky dream.
And, uh, and then the next day he
called me and told me he hurt himself.
Hi, hi, Ingrid.
one at a time.
Hi, hello, how's it going?
- Hi, guys. -What's up, Fitz!
- So we got Fitz.
- Hi, Tommy, hi, Fitz!
- Are you gonna carve a pumpkin?
Nice, that's good.
That seems off.
Alex said, "I want nothing
to do with the pumpkin carving,
and I won't carve anything
and I hate holidays."
I like having
fun when I have fun.
I don't like being told
that it's time to have fun.
Yeah, I think we need
to a little more.
Whoa, she's squirming.
I don't know. Do you have
a good grip on there?
You put that in my eye
again, I'm gonna drop you.
Why does it not
want to see us?
Just kidding, I won't.
He keeps.
You gotta lift him
up more, you need to.
Bye, Tom.
Oh man, you should have
a lot of fear right now.
Okay, 'cause' I
feel a lot of anxiety.
No one in any part of my family has
hugged during all my formative years.
I had to teach myself how to hug
when I was, like, 23 or something.
'Cause I was like,
"Everyone seems to hug,
that seems like something
I should get into,"
and then I started,
like, practicing.
Now I'm quite a good hugger.
You see that the
pumpkin is a van?
- I did see it.
- That's a precious van.
Is it a cat?
- I did the cat. -That's good.
- Look at that.
Um, I did it all by my.
Honestly, it does
look good like this.
It looked terrible.
I think, yeah.
Part of the thing with the L word,
you know, is saying love and stuff,
is that, like, in my entire life no one
in any part of my family has ever used,
you know, that word.
My Mom has only spoken French to
my sister and I our whole lives.
She's a French teacher, so she
says, "Je t'aime" or whatever,
and then my dad didn't
talk about anything.
Nobody had an
emotional bond with Charlie.
Charlie was probably what
we call nowadays Asperger's.
Charlie's obsession, what
everyone called monomania.
He loved to travel.
He lived to travel like
Alex lives to climb.
When he wasn't traveling,
things were not good.
Alex would do something and
we'd call him stupid names,
"Hey, bozo, don't do it like
that," just demeaning things.
If you learn that about your
self-worth when you're this big,
I don't think that goes away.
I have no
recollection of that.
I don't think my dad
put down anybody.
I think my dad is like a teddy
bear, but dad was pretty morose.
And then the thing is once they got
divorced, then they both were, like,
so much happier and it all seemed
great, but he died the next summer.
It's really kind of too bad that he
doesn't get to see how it all played out,
'cause he put so much effort
into nurturing my climbing.
But who knows?
Maybe mom thought that he was, like,
holding us back or, like, you know,
not pushing us to achieve our
full potential or, like, whatever,
you know what I mean?
My Mom's favorite sayings
are, "Presque ne compte pas,"
"Almost doesn't count,"
or, uh, "Good enough isn't."
No matter how well I ever do at
anything, it's not that good.
The bottomless pit
of self-loathing.
I mean, that's definitely the
motivation for some soloing.
Here we are.
So I still
never, like, quietly,
quite understand what
happened when you fell, you,
like, do you even know?
It should be just kinda, like.
Uh, I don't know why I fell off,
but I mean I know that my skin was,
like, hard and dry.
It was like lightly raining
kind of and like really windy.
Weird he doesn't even
say he knows what happened.
He's like, "I, suddenly I was falling,"
which kind of surprised me because I feel
like he's always so aware.
Or like maybe he's not
always totally aware.
You know Alex talks about having this
armor when he solos and I think as, like,
a friend or a family member of him,
you kinda have to have that same thing.
Like after that happened, for whatever reason,
it kinda like waked me up more than normal.
You know, normally I'm just
like, "Oh, he's got it.
He's such, he's such a beast,
you know, he's gonna be fine."
But I just, like,
am stressed out about the
thing a little bit, you know?
Look, I don't wanna fall off and
die either, but there's a satisfaction to
challenging yourself and
doing something well.
That feeling is heightened when
you're for sure facing death.
You can't make a mistake.
If you're seeking perfection, free
soloing is as close as you can get.
And, uh, it does feel good to feel
perfect, like, for a brief moment.
My friends are like, "Oh, that'd be terrible,"
but if I kill myself in an accident,
they'll be like, "Oh, that was too
bad," but like life goes on, you know,
like they'll be fine.
I mean, and I've had this problem
with girls a lot, you know.
They're like, "Oh, I really care
about you," I'm like, "No you don't."
Like if I perish,
like, it doesn't matter,
like you'll find somebody else, like,
that's not, that's not that big a deal.
I don't know.
Maybe that's a
little too callous.
My foot is improving, but
it still swells up a bit.
Pretty epic rappel.
Uh, we're just commuting
down the wall, kinda.
We're just having
a good old time.
If you look at soloing El Cap objectively,
there are probably six pitches that
worry me the most.
Just off the ground, there's
some insecure climbing.
And then Freeblast, Pitch 6,
being the one I fell off of,
which is obviously
a total botch.
Then the down climb
to the Hollow Flake.
And then
the Monster Offwidth,
which is super physical,
difficult style of climbing.
When you're in the Monster Offwidth,
some part of you is always being
crushed in the mountain.
Imagine like the worst type of
Pilates class in the whole world,
somebody like flogging as you do it,
and occasionally like sandpapering skin
off your body, telling you to hold
the position until you freakin' vomit,
and if you lose the
position you die.
The Enduro Corner, in and of itself,
would have been the most difficult part of
virtually any big
solo I've done.
Your feet aren't on
any specific holds.
What makes your feet stay to the wall
is the amount of pressure that you
pull with your hands.
The harder you pull with your
hands, the more your feet stick.
The most demanding for your
arms on the whole route.
And you've climbed 2,500 feet to get to the
Enduro Corner, so you're pretty fatigued.
But the piece that I've always worried about
the most is the crux, the hardest part.
To get past the crux, you have climb either
the Boulder Problem or the Teflon Corner.
2,000 off the ground, each of which
I've fallen off many times with a rope.
The Teflon Corner, which is basically
like a 90-degree corner of glass,
which is ultra-slippery,
just fills me with terror.
Pushing against the two walls of it,
with my feet on glass, my palms on glass,
and trying to make these little micro
adjustments to keep my balance centered so
that I can push evenly
on all four sides of it.
And then I imagine 2,500 feet of
air beneath my feet, you're, like,
that's just a crazy
thing to think about.
The alternative is
the Boulder Problem.
But the Boulder Problem has a 10-foot
section that's incredibly difficult.
It's a very
intricate sequence.
You've got your right hand on a
crimp, left hand on a side pole,
and then you put your right foot
onto this dimple thing.
Right hand goes up to a small down-pulling
crimp, left foot goes into a little dish,
and then you drive up off the
left foot into the thumb press.
That's the worst hold
on the entire route.
So, you get maybe half
your thumb on the hold.
Then you roll your two fingers
over the thumb, switch your feet,
left foot stems out to this
really bad sloping black foothold.
Switch your thumbs.
And then reach out left to a big
sloping bread loaf type hold that
feels kind of grainy.
From there, you either karate kick or
double-dyno to an edge on the opposite wall.
In some ways, it makes more sense to do the
big two-handed jump because you're jumping to
a good edge so there's
actually something to catch.
But the idea of jumping without a
rope seems completely outrageous,
if you miss it, that's that.
But then the karate kick always feels
like you're falling into the other wall,
which also feels
outrageous for soloing.
Honestly, it wasn't like, I mean I
felt, like, pretty strong just pinching
that shit and just
being that, put the foot.
Well, as I said, when you actually
put your foot out there, I was like,
"Well, that doesn't
look that bad."
Yeah, it's not
like crazy, but we'll see.
Did you take
Ibuprofen this morning?
Uh-hmm, I mean, I'm
going to right now also.
- For your ankle?
- Uh-hmm.
Hmm, I'm not, like, super stoked when
he goes soloing, because he's already a
big part of my life.
I tell Alex I love him all the time, and
he shows me that he loves me all the time.
And really just dive in.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But I also tell him that I
also need words of affection.
- Yeah.
- We work on that.
In terms of learning how to communicate
emotion, Alex has a long way to go.
And I said, "Sometimes I'm gonna tell you
how I feel, and I just need you to say it
totally makes sense
that you feel that way."
He was like, "Yeah, I can
understand why you feel that way."
I was like, "I don't
really think that you do,
but I'm glad
that you're trying."
Alex, we have
excellent team skills.
Well, I thought, I feel like
we're not quite killin' it, but we're,
I think we're doin' well.
I think we're doing great.
I'm very happy for Alex
and Sanni that it works so well.
And I'm, I think I'm just
impressed by their relationship,
but to free solo at that level, you
really have to have the mental armor.
Having that romantic relationship
around is detrimental to that armor.
You have to focus and inherently
a close romantic relationship
removes that armor.
You kinda can't have
both at the same time.
There's always something that
has to give you the confidence to
go out and free solo a route.
So sometimes, that confidence just
comes from feeling super, super fit.
Sometimes, that confidence comes
through preparation and rehearsal.
But I mean there's always something
that makes you feel ready.
There's something to be said for, like,
soloing a bunch of pitches to, like,
get into that right space.
It's a little stressful.
It's just, it's unreal.
And as much as I trust Alex and
I know that he's really methodical, uh,
if you're pushing the edge,
eventually you find the edge.
But then there's just some
things that you're, like, well,
you just have to push that far because
they're just, they're just that cool.
And El Cap is that cool.
There's incremental advances
that happen in all kinds of things,
but every once in a while there's
just this iconic leap, soloing El Cap,
if he pulls this off,
is this quantum leap.
It is hard to imagine somebody up
there by themselves, without a rope,
where it's pretty much all the
other big cliffs around here.
I can kinda get it.
How many times have you
soloed both those routes now?
Well, Astroman, three or four
times, but the Rostrum, I mean, literally,
like, fifty, sixty.
Wait, you've soloed
the Rostrum 50 or 60 times?
It was like part
of the circuit and I would,
I would go there and I
would do it at least twice.
Like I was just glommed on.
Not like I had a fear, but
just kind of like this is how.
Yeah, because you're so tight. You
know, I love that about soloing.
My footwork gets really good.
Yeah, really,
yeah totally, yeah.
But it's not for anybody
else, this is just for me.
Yeah, yeah, just because
you feel like you're.
And after Astroman,
people were like,
"Ah, we wanna film
you, film you up there,"
and I'm like, "Not interested,
not even slightly."
For me, it was so incredibly important
to be doing it for the right reasons.
I mean, I think I'm still doing
everything for the right reasons,
and I'm still totally stoked, but I feel
like from the outside observer, you know,
they'd be like, "Oh, he's got a
movie crew," like clearly that's the
wrong reasons, you know.
The worst thing about having a
film crew is if it changes your mindset.
I think Alex is
almost ready to do it.
He just wants to take
a few more practice laps.
And we're just trying to figure
out all of our camera positions.
I mean the soloing
headspace is so fragile.
We wanna film it well, but it's about
not getting in his way and making sure
he has the experience he wants.
The worst possible scenario
is that one of us would do something
that would kill him.
Is it gonna be the drone?
Is it gonna be
one of the ropes?
Is it gonna be us accidently
knocking off a rock?
The idea of falling off is, you
know, obviously I'm trying to avoid that,
but it's like kind of okay
if it's just by myself.
But, like, I wouldn't wanna fall off right
in front of my friends, 'cause that's like,
that's kind of messed up.
Where are you comfortable
with us being essentially?
Well, do you have
The traverse into it?
- Uh-hmm.
- Yeah.
And then a, just a camera above, sitting
above the Boulder Pitch, essentially.
- Yeah. -It's distracting.
- Yeah, it's distracting.
Well, it's not just distracting,
but it's also like, you know,
nobody wants to see
that, I don't know.
Like, yeah, I don't,
yeah, it's better not to.
Some things you're like, meh.
Yeah, okay.
So should I rally into the valley
and try to like round out plans?
Yeah, yeah.
Um, the moon set
at 4:50 behind the ridge.
The spire was touched by the sun at 7:30 and
by 8:05, the sun was to the crux probably.
- 8:05?
- Okay.
You don't want it to be
sunny when you get to the crux,
and it takes three or four hours
to get up to the Boulder Problem,
and it's fall so in
order to beat the sun,
you basically have
to start in the dark.
I kinda think just leave the
ground at 4:00 again, basically.
I don't know.
I'm starting to get
kind of psyched.
The moment of just letting go to it is
in some ways the most peaceful because
then it's like
you just do your thing.
There's no more stress, there's no more
anxiety, there's no fear, whatever,
you just go up and do it.
I put on my tight shoes today,
it's like very exciting.
It would be, like, it would be like a
samurai pulling out his favorite sword,
you know like,
"Oh, my gosh,"
you know, and now I'm like,
"Oh, time for the,
the finely crafted blade."
So stoked.
I like sinking into it.
It's, it goes with the Jedi thing,
the samurai with the, and then I just
started taking Ibuprofen.
I've been, like, icing a bunch and, like,
I think my foot's gonna be pretty good.
Yeah, what does Sanni say
when you talk to her about it?
Um, I mean I haven't
talked to her that much.
She's been, like, asking a lot of
questions like, "Oh, you know, how's it?"
And I'm, I just haven't really like, I'm
just like, "Oh, we'll see, we'll see."
You know, the fewer people know
anything, the better really.
I had a dream and you were
limping and you were like, had caught,
had like made the exact same fall and
fallen on your ankle in the exact same way.
That's really nice, San San.
It was like tragic.
I love hearing
stories about that.
- I woke up, like, "Oh my gosh.
- I hope that didn't happen."
That's, that's really nice.
Um, what is your,
is your daypack?
They're bringing it up
there for you and Peter?
Um, no.
For me tomorrow, probably.
For on the mountain?
Um, for the summit, yeah.
Hmm, you and Peter are gonna
try and do the whole thing?
Uh, no, Peter won't be here
for a couple of days probably.
Oh, who are you
climbing with tomorrow?
Um, yeah, we'll just see.
Oh, okay, okay.
Wait, so are you thinking of soloing it
tomorrow, is that why you're not telling me who
you're climbing with?
Um, well, I'm not like
not telling you, but yeah.
Whoa, Alex.
- Whoa.
- Whoa. -Whoa.
How do you feel?
I'm, you know,
I mean, excited.
That's really exciting. Is it
that feeling when you're like...
So exciting I'm gonna
go right back to my book.
Where you're like, no,
I'm not reading it.
When did you decide?
When did you decide
to do it tomorrow?
No, just, you know, uh, yesterday
or the day before or something.
Hmm, I'm processing.
I wanna, like I wanna have this more,
like, holistic approach that you have where
you're like "Well,
we're all gonna die,
like might as well do what we
wanna do while we're here and
it's okay when people die," but I feel
like I want you to meet me halfway
and when you solo to
take me into the equation
and then I think you said...
Is there a question? -Some,
there's going to be. -Okay.
Um, would putting me into the
equation actually ever change anything?
Would you actually make
decisions differently?
If I had some kind of obligation
to maximize my lifespan, then like yeah,
obviously I'd have to
give up soloing and, um.
Was me asking you, do you
see that as an obligation now?
...Uh, no, no.
No, but I appreciate your concerns and
I, you know, I respect that, but, but I,
in no way, feel obligated, no.
To maximize lifetime?
No, no, I don't know.
Um, but I mean like you saying, "Be safer,"
I'm kinda like well, I mean I can't.
You know, I'm already
doing my best.
So I could just, like, not do certain
things, but then you have, like,
weird simmering resentment because
it's things that you love most in life
have now been squashed.
You know what I mean?
- What time is it? -3:30.
- Oh.
I just woke up one
minute before my alarm.
Yeah, you woke up
before or after?
One minute before.
It's like always about, like,
excellence and perfection.
And I was certainly raised that way, you
know, that you need to, you need to perform.
It's also just like kind of rad because
you're doing something for the first time
in human history.
Let's hope it's
a low gravity day.
Bye, Huck, see
you at the ground.
- Meet you in the ground.
- See you, buddy.
This sucks.
I don't wanna be here.
I'm over it.
What happened?
I cheated on
the slab down there.
Might as well radio it.
Do you
wanna talk to him?
I don't even know what to say,
it's, like, kind of embarrassing.
Uh, hey, whoever's on
the radio, this is Alex.
Um, I think I'm bailing.
Wait, could you repeat?
think he's bailing from heart.
from heart, that's correct.
It's kind
of disturbing.
Yeah, I wonder what it was.
I don't know if I can
try with everybody watching.
It's too scary.
Just can't, like,
try for real.
- Oh, my gosh. -Good morning.
- What are you doing?
Oh, I bailed.
You bailed, oh?
Yeah, it's chilly outside.
It's chilly, okay.
What's going on?
Well, not much.
What's up?
Oh, I just, I went up to Free
Blast and I was, like, nah,
I'm not gonna' do it. But...
Good for you.
Yeah, well, it's just a
little weird, you know?
- Yup.
- Yeah. -No.
Right, I mean there's just too many random,
random folks about and stuff, whatever.
Uh-hmm, yeah.
But, like, basically I did the
first half of the first slab.
And then, uh, and then I
just was like, "Oh, I don't know."
And my feet.
Right, you made the
perfect decision.
I don't know though,
I'm just like.
But now it all has to
drag on longer, I'm like.
You, yeah, I mean, you
never have to go for it.
You can just.
Well, I just need
it to end, you know.
Yeah, yeah, all the...
Yeah, you know what
I'm talking about.
The circus surrounding you.
I just can't imagine,
I wonder if he got nervous.
Is that possible?
Oh, man.
There's a lot of things that I
don't totally understand about him.
You know?
Yeah, I know.
I mean in some ways it'd be kind of
reassuring that Spock has nerves.
It was the first time I've ever
gone up on something like real and
then not done it.
But it's also the first time I've ever gone up
on something real with people all watching.
By myself, I maybe would have just,
like, persevered, I don't know,
maybe I just suck, but,
you know, at least I've
like, at least I've tried.
Thanks for
meeting us again.
It's funny, it always has a certain
smell in here, and I wonder if it's
the paint or the.
Yeah, it's
the fresh paint.
Dining room with
probably also bookshelves.
Wait, so what
am, what am I signing?
"Buyers of unit approves
the home inspection."
Yeah, Alex told me I get
one furniture question a day.
I've always thought
that I ought to buy a house,
just haven't quite had the energy
to make it all happen myself.
I think Sanni will be stoked to have
a place to live and there's so much
climbing all around Vegas.
Big sectional here and
chair or like sofa and two chairs.
Potential, like, bar area.
I would just sleep
straight on the carpet.
It'd be like.
Alex was a huge jerk watching
me struggle with the tape measure,
being an asshole standing by
commenting on how stupid I look,
but not actually offering to help
or be productive or kind in any way.
And so now it's
all gone to shit.
Yeah, you're asking about our
domestic bliss, it's nonexistent.
You're so angry, but
it's cracking, it's cracking.
It's not cracking.
Yeah, it is, it's cracking.
No, it's not,
I'm still angry.
I can tell you're cracking.
I'm not cracking.
But you're not that
angry, you're cracking.
I'm not cracking.
This is firm
resolve of hatred.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Oh, boy.
That one seems very
big and very wide.
Whoa, that seems really deep.
We should just ask somebody.
Hmm, I know.
Let's keep looking
for the smaller ones.
Oh, this is the $400, that's.
That's it!
That's it, that's our jam.
This is actually,
like, kind of perfect.
This is like so adequate.
We have a fridge!
- Hmm.
- Yay! -That success.
Is it possible?
We had like a sort of a rough patch
since Yosemite, where, I don't know,
Alex isn't super good about
putting a name to how he's feeling.
So, he'll be like, "I know I'm cranky, but
I don't really know why and I'm not gonna
take the time
to figure it out."
I'm patient, but
I also have self-respect.
And then, you know, the second that I
start being mad, he's just like "foom."
How do you make coffee?
You need like a filter.
Definitely my relationship with Sanni
is, like, the most healthy and stable
relationship I've ever had.
Oh, look at that, the only
thing in the cupboard.
Certainly more communicative.
Even Sanni over the year and a
half we've been dating is like,
"Wow, you've
really blossomed."
Well, that's not
really promising.
And you think you put the coffee in there
and then you push the water through it?
I don't how to, um.
oh, my gosh, wow!
Oh, like, how's, why?
Is this what it is
to be, um, a homeowner?
You get breakfast and coffee
made for you every day?
I don't, I don't understand
the, do you put the coffee in here and
then put the water to it?
It's really
But she sees
things in a different way.
For Sanni the point of
life is like happiness.
To be with people that make you feel
fulfilled and to have a good time.
For me it's all
about performance.
The thing is anybody
can be happy and cozy.
Nothing good happens in the
world by being happy and cozy.
You know, like nobody achieves anything
great because they're happy and cozy.
You never wanna feel like you're
getting in the way of someone's goal.
And it's really hard for me
to grasp why he wants this.
But it's his dream and he
obviously still really wants it.
It's about
being a warrior.
It doesn't matter about
the cause necessarily.
This is your path and you will
pursue it with excellence.
You face your fear because
your goal demands it.
That is the goddamn
warrior spirit.
I think that the free soloing mentality
is pretty close to warrior culture,
where you give something 100% focus
because your life depends on it.
The move I gave up on in the fall was a
right foot on this little edge right here,
and I basically just have to like stand
on the right foot and just trust it.
And I was like, "I don't really wanna
have my whole life depend on like standing
on this one right foot."
But maybe I
can find another way.
I think this is like kind
of the business of the whole deal,
which is interesting because if you're
climbing with a rope it's not at all,
but without a rope it is.
That's my variation,
I just don't know.
I think that he's only comfortable
climbing in front of the camera or in front of
any other people when he's
really confident and secure.
And that's been the dilemma that this
whole production has faced, right?
- Yeah.
- From the beginning.
Our being there is
always going to change things.
What made the big difference for me
is that he did turn around last year.
He didn't feel the pressure to have
to do it because we were there.
And I really, like
that to me said a lot.
It meant a lot.
Is that what you'd
want, us not to film it?
Hmm, no.
I mean, hard to say it but I care
about doing it a lot more than I care
about it being filmed.
You know?
You could put your foot down
at any time, and, and, you know.
Yeah, I mean,
I'm aware of it.
Like, if I want to, I just won't
tell anybody and I'm just gonna do it
on my own terms.
Yeah, exactly.
Like whatever, like I mean
that's obviously on the table.
But obviously that would
hose everybody, you know?
If you woke up
tomorrow and you were like,
"You know what,
screw all of this,
I just don't care enough, like
I don't feel good enough."
You know,
but that's like, yeah,
I mean, of course I, I mean, I know
I could do that and just walk away.
But it's like, you know, I
mean, you know, I don't want to.
Having all these people around
requires a higher level of preparation,
a higher level of
confidence basically.
I need to like dial it in so much that,
you know, it doesn't matter if there's
like a stadium of people watching me because
it's so easy for me that I'm just like,
"Check this out."
And just do it.
Pitch one, stay left towards the
top, splitter, it feels more secure.
Pitch two, trust the right
foot, rock on, trust the feet,
right hand to
the last under cling.
Eight, easy romp. Go fast.
Nine, stay outside of the
down climb, careful of blocks.
Pitch 26, sort of lie back and up the
corner, key left-hand pinch thing,
right foot back step on the lower edge,
left foot faced against the wall, stand up.
Left hand to the huge ear jug thing,
switch the feet, match the big jug,
left foot jams into the crack, then you see
right-hand down pulling on the top part of the
jug, left hand goes into this flared slot
thing, which you can either fist jam or hand
jam, either way, it's like
a flare jam in the slot.
Sag down onto it, right hand crosses
under to an under cling, side pull.
Right foot sinks low to a flat edge,
left foot steps through to an edge,
right foot back steps really high so you
can sag your weight around the corner
without having to swing.
Left foot out to the big horn, right
hand through to a little finger pocket,
you go left foot out to an edge around the
corner, you can actually push all the way
into the corner, then you can grab
this down pulling right hand, flat,
like a small crimp.
Left hand to the other under cling, switch
your feet on the rail and then just reach
through the jugs,
and then it's done.
The key thing for the crux, pull
hard, trust feet, "trust" underline,
double exclamation
point, period.
Autopilot. Period.
I mean, you know, it's not
surprising that Ueli died.
Considering he's always doing crazy
dangerous things, but I kind of thought
he was gonna survive.
Ueli talked about doing sketchy climbs
that you just kind of squeak out once.
You know I've
always tried not to.
But when I was talking to him
about, about Free Rider, I was like,
"Oh maybe Free Rider is one of those
routes that I just need to go squeak
out once and just like
make sure it's my day."
You know, obviously
it wasn't his day.
After Ueli died, it's interesting
with Alex, how he justifies all that
stuff away so quickly.
He was just kind of like
shrugged it off, he's like
"Oh, yeah, yeah,
it could happen."
I talked to Alex for a
really long time about all of this.
And I was like,
"What if you die?
Like what if you die
just like Ueli died?"
Ueli and his wife, Nicole, had a
really beautiful relationship and they
would climb together.
Alex said at one point,
"Well, what did she expect?"
And I got, I was like, "What do
you mean what did she expect?"
I was like, "I'm Nicole, Alex!
And I don't expect that."
Tons of more people
have died and Alex is kind of
the most likely to die,
but I know he's gonna do it.
So I'd like to be there to help
him prepare as well as he can.
Oh, shit.
If he went to solo it and fell and
died, and I hadn't helped him prepare
that would be harder for me.
Like, I just know that I'm, I'm one of
the people that's gonna be able to do
that the best with
him and so, I should.
He said he's feeling
tinges of, of like game time.
I think there's a
chance he goes tomorrow.
They are remote cameras,
because we wanna stay out of Alex's
line of sight
when he's doing it.
Okay, everybody knows what
to do if something goes wrong.
Josh, just to confirm
who should Mikey call?
The easiest thing
would just be 911.
And that we will get kicked into
gear and tell them what you know.
A climber.
All right, no
mistakes tomorrow.
I'm worried that tomorrow
is gonna be it, like, you know,
like Alex's existence
will be over.
I was like, "Oh, I have to be
prepared for that outcome and
I have to realize that
that is a real possibility."
Oh, God.
Remember when you said you were
gonna stand up for my goodbye?
- Oh, is it time? -Yeah.
- Oh.
But you don't have to stand
up, but you have to sit up.
Oh, you could've
just left me.
No, no, I'm never gonna go.
Okay, drive safe.
Ciao, see you later!
I mean, I didn't
ask her to leave.
I mean, I would never
ask her to leave.
But, you know, I think she kind of understands
that, that it's probably easier for
me if she's gone.
I don't, I, the whole like
saying goodbye thing I'm like
"I'll probably see her in
like five days or something."
It's not like goodbye, it's
just goodbye for a few days.
You know, I mean there's just
that like weird thought of like,
don't freaking let that be
our last hug or whatever.
You know, like I shouldn't
be having that thought...
of like "What if
something happens?
Like what if I don't
see him again?"
You know, like, "Why
do you wanna do this?
Like it's a
totally crazy goal."
Hey, Jimmy, do you copy?
This is Jimmy.
just started climbing.
It is so
slippery right there.
This is where he bailed.
Mikey, do you copy?
This is Jimmy.
Hey, Jimmy, this is Mikey.
Can you let me know when
he's through the slab pitch?
He's through the slab pitch.
He's through it?
he's almost at half dollar.
He's moving fast.
Yes, Jimmy,
he is of course ahead of schedule.
So how far
is he from Mammoth?
the half dollar right now.
6:21 he's down climbing
to Heart Ledge there's a party,
in a Porter Ledge still.
They're awake and
there's, they're aware.
They're like "Here comes
Honnold." Oh, my God.
A Dude in a bunny suit.
The person is getting up now.
Uh yeah, no there's a tail.
This person has a tail and it's
either a chicken head or a bunny.
Oh, it's a unicorn.
Come on.
Who does that?
I've never seen
that on El Cap.
Wow, and Alex is gone.
Okay, so he's entering
the Hollow Flake at 6:49.
He just did the Hollow Flake down
climb and is in the Hollow Flake now.
And then the thing about Free Rider
is that from the base of Hollow Flake
it's one crack system all the way to
the top which is like what, 2,000 feet?
That's the most magnificent
crack on planet earth.
Doug, this is Jimmy.
Do you know if they've radioed if
he's gotten to the Monster yet?
Yeah, he's there now.
He's almost through it.
There, he's coming
up now actually.
Now we see him like at
the same height as the spire.
But you guys are all in
position ready to go?
Yeah, Sam and I
are at the bottom of the head wall.
My guess is he's 15 minutes
from the Boulder Problem or so.
He just did
the karate kick.
He's got it.
Oh, yeah.
That is way too gnarly.
- Oh, my God.
- He did it. Jesus.
He just sent the
boulder problem.
He must be so stoked.
I mean to have the slabs and the boulder
problem behind him is monumental.
- Here's the Enduro huh?
- Yup, this is the Enduro.
I can't believe you guys
are actually gonna watch.
Oh, I don't wanna, I don't,
I don't, I don't, I don't, no, no.
Oh, my God.
Yeah, that's kind
of exposed right there.
Oh, my God,
it's so exposed.
That arte move as he
stepped around has gotta be,
I mean that's one
of the most exposed moves
like anywhere on El Cap.
If you just step out,
it all drops away.
Yeah, buddy.
Alex is having
the best day of his life.
I don't know. Not me.
I'm done, yeah, no, this is it,
I don't, we don't need to do this again.
Yeah, no.
It's over now.
Oh, God, it's done, woo-hoo!
Oh, God.
Oh, God, wow.
Oh, my God, I can't
believe what I just witnessed.
Oh, God.
Good to see
you again, yay.
So delighted.
That felt so good,
it's freaking raged.
Like a gigantic weight
off of my shoulders too.
I have to admit, I mean.
So delighted,
what a journey.
Yeah, I just can't even believe
after eight years of dreaming,
oh San-san's calling me.
Yeah, so delighted.
Oh my, you're so
delighted, that's putting it lightly.
I've like never smiled so much.
Don't say anything too.
I wanna see it.
What's that?
Like, I told you I
wanted to see that smile.
Yeah, I know.
I've like never cried
so hard and I didn't even see it coming.
Showing that you talk now,
I was just like "Blah."
Yeah, no,
I'm, I'm sort of at,
at risk of crying here too, I'm
like, I feel quite emotional.
Yeah, no, don't cry
San-san it will make me cry.
But Claire says cry it.
I think the movie would be better
if I burst into tears, but I,
I don't really want to.
But, well I do want
to kind of, but.
I'm so happy.
Oh, God.
I'm so happy.
I'm so happy.
Well, okay.
I'll see you, I'll see you in
like six hours or something.
I'll see you soon, yeah.
Yeah, okay, I love you.
Thank you so much,
I appreciate you.
I love you too.
You're, you're the best.
And I appreciate
you and I'm really proud of you.
I don't know.
I don't, I don't think the mountain
looked that scary this morning.
It's funny because it does look the
same and hiking up looked the same,
everything just felt pretty much
the same, except I just didn't have
much of a backpack.
I did, I forgot
my rope and rack.
I felt so good.
I mean that's why I'm so happy that the
experience was like what I hoped for.
I didn't compromise on any of the
things that were super important to me.
Huh, yeah, that felt good.
All right.
So what's next, what
are you gonna do Alex?
Mmm, I'm probably
gonna hang board.
You're gonna hang board?
A normal person would probably
take the afternoon off.
Thanks again for
coming out and climbing with me.
I'm really proud of you.
Good work not plummeting
to your death.
Really glad it's over.
Oh, my gosh,
you're here, oh, my God!
Oh, my gosh, I'm so happy
for you, you did it and you're done.
You know some of the people
that have come before you,
they, they didn't quit
while they were ahead.
Maybe it's good.
Maybe I don't need to
keep charging ahead.
Right now there's some kid that just read
about El Cap being soloed and he's like.
"What's bigger?"
Like "What's cooler?"
And I mean somebody's gonna think of
something and it's gonna be cooler.
But I don't know if that will be me.
Maybe, I don't know.