See Honnold’s Hits, Plus Jimmy Chin and Morocco Highlights

“The challenge of doing something that’s never been done before: how do you know that you’re ready?” Alex Honnold asks.

In this high-budget Jimmy Chin/National Geographic joint, we don’t get the answer. Only the proof of concept.

Settle in for a Greatest Hits-style tour of Alex Honnold’s free solo climbing career — albeit with an off-beat focus on the climbs that led up to El Capitan.

The dramatic footage and melodramatic background commentary from Jimmy Chin make this a must-watch for any of the (dwindling) uninitiated. Playing the hits from El Potrero Chico to El Capitan to Chin emphasizing on camera that “if he makes one mistake, he dies,” this one is designed to appeal to the masses.

Still, the outsized focus on some of Honnold’s lesser-known climbs in Morocco make for an offbeat focal point. So does the appearance of occasional partner Tommy Caldwell, who saddles up one more time as the shabbiest master in the dojo.

Tommy Caldwell. Photo: Screenshot


See your favorite characters and learn the basics of how Honnold prepared to solo the world’s most famous big wall in Before Free Solo.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.