What if He Falls? The Terrifying Reality Behind Filming “Free Solo” | Op-Docs

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In 2017, when Alex Honnold made his stunning free-solo ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan, he was taking an unimaginable risk: nearly three thousand feet of climbing without any ropes or safety equipment. But was the climb made even riskier by the filmmakers who accompanied him?In “What if He Falls?” filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin take us inside the process of documenting Honnold’s quest for climbing glory — and the ethical calculus of filming a friend who could, with the slip of a finger, plummet to his death.Subscribe: ----------Whether it's reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest style trends and scientific developments, New York Times video journalists provide a revealing and unforgettable view of the world. It's all the news that's fit to watch.



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alex honnold climbi... el cap el capitan free falling free solo free solo climbing free solo movie rock climbing what is free solo yosemite el capitan


1000 subs with one video challenge
If you were his wife, how would you feel every time he left the house 😭
66fredo99 la France
...not sure why this is a big deal...how is one sheer cliff different from others? this man has done several amazing free solos...when I saw him on video do a no-hands knee bar on the side of what looked to me like a sheer cliff 1,000 feet up, without any ropes...with only his toes and his knee to hold him up - I believed he could do just about anything because of his incredible skills and almost non-human state of mind...to me his success at scaling El Cap is unsurprising...he's an incredible incredible climber
Alex Endr
I feel sick watching this.
Anchor Bait
June 3rd 2017 was the day I got clean. It's also my birthday. It's really surreal knowing that on that day we both undertook our most terrifying and difficult journey of our lives. So Thankful we both made it to the top. Cheers Alex
Barking Spider
I free soloed for a little while. Fell from a hundred feet. Crushed my pelvis and hips lost my spleen and had to have intestinal repair. Total 6 surgeries 3 yrs rehab. Easily not worth it.
Ben
This is one of the greatest athletic accomplishments of all time
Ben Shapiro
Anybody watching this in 2018?
Birds Rule
Why he climbing a macOS background?
Bless Brazy
My hands got weak & my stomach hurts watching this 👀
Blu
please for the love of god, alex, quit now!
Bob Sterling
My fear? Bowel attack because you ate some tainted food. :-[
Brian Liu
I can't even climb the 25 feet rock wall at my gym with safety equipment.....
Brick
r/sweatypalms
Chris 24
And I can barely climb the kid rock wall at the park
Christian Rea
Sponsored by Northface
Christina Schneider
Well, at least he’ll die doing something he loves.
Cruzz Culture
Please buddy don't do it anymore. You're the greatest ever please stay alive.
Dan Stephens
Something tells me he would make American Ninja Warrior look like a child’s game if he were on the show.
Daniel Ellis
Awesome, we all are gonna die eventually - at least he will do it doing something he loves
Darren Ferguson
is that a girl or a dude 8:50 ? serious question I actually couldn't work it out
Dee Curry
I'm good. Just watching this made me freeze up in my bed.
Don Johnson
Not me.
Donny TV
You can probably see his massive balls from space
Douglas Proce
A man has to be at peace with life to free climb El Cap. You can't be anything but 100% aware of each handhold and step, no room for anything else mentally.
Drakezzy
Wow, mindbloing stuff but I wonder how he gets down again without any ropes
Edouard Lombard
Voluntary self endangerment of one’s life should not be glorified. Worst type of clickbait.
Emily Martin
If he falls his gigantic balls will bounce him back up to where he was
Ethan S.
*Did I hear natural selection?*
Evgeny Klein
One of the best horror movies of 2018.
Galata Bayssa
Not for all the money in the world
Gareeb G
10:11 The scariest part
Geckoblade64
The sketchiest climb I ever did was a 7 metre vertical scoria wall in my suburb in NZ, and almost fell when a rock came loose if it weren't for quick thinking and jamming my knee into the hole it created. I'm not even any sort of accomplished climber or anything like that. Seeing this really puts things in perspective!
Giada_De_Low_Rent_Tits
I watched this movie this weekend, great movie. Freakin' nerve-racking watching him climb that and I don't even know him. Incredible. The movie really is good.
GoldenTV3
8:50 Something tells me thats not a woman.
GoofyHD
Her voice is so calming and perfect
Hamish Mclaggan
if he climbs at night you will notice sparks as the granit rock face collides with his granite balls
Hillary Clinton's racist Kara Swisher interview
*How does he move up the sheer-face of the mountain without using his hands (basically)?*\n\n*Does this mean he could climb up a rope without using his hands?* 🤔
James Simmons
This is too scary for jokes but I wonder if he would be willing to climb down the same race? That... would be an accomplishment.
Jim Elliott
I love these people who say \
Jonas Norvaisais
Legend says that the mountain was climbing him
Jonathan Reed
I saw this film and haven’t been the same since. We spaz over a basketball player shooting a basket or a hitter lodging a home run. This is so far beyond anything else this side of heaven, it expands your mind just to contemplate it.
Joshua Martinez
I will Never understand risking ur life to Climb crazy Mountains! U only get one shot at life it's not a Gta video game. My hands wear sweating just watching this
Kapil Chhabria
It’s awesome that NYT has a budget for filming this nonsense but can’t sent one correspondent to Yemen. \n\nI should say thank you, this piece, how so ever interesting so utterly irrelevant to humanity that I have been convinced into cancelling my subscription.
Kin Patsu
What If he falls??? He wins the Darwin award, obviously.
Lonewolf 18
He’s a brave mofo 😂
Murph
Imagine how satisfying it must be for him to crack his knuckles after a climb
Natalie Gilbert
I love how the filmmakers put the ethics of the situation at the forefront in the making of this documentary. I particularly liked that they never asked him when he would climb El Capitan, but simply observed his journey in accomplishing such a gargantuan goal.
Nation of Masturbation
Find Bigfoot instead
Nick Cruton
Darwin Award goes to.... This is literally Russian roulette... He’s just gambling with his life... He’s basically just waiting to make a mistake and fall because if he keeps doing free climbs he will eventually fall and make a mistake...
NoFapPhoenix
To top it all off, he is humble
NukeBlast 117
1:42 Markilpier?... lol
Orlando Pockets
what alex has done is inspiring beyond words. his composure throughout everything he does is something even more awesome than his climbing ability. a lot of other people would have been overwhelmingly called jackasses for doing this but alex has a demeanor that lets people see past that aspect of it and what its really about. living your life to the fullest in whatever you do.\n\nalex needs to put out a poster so we can all buy one. theres nothing out there right now except a few signed 8x10 glossys for over 100 dollars, and a few bootleg items which i will not be buying.\n\nstay safe alex we love you!
Osu Ghoul
is he suicidal
PAPAgato
omg my palms and feet are soaked
Paul de Saint Victor
I had a patient, a 96 year old Grey Nun, tell me she was in\nmy emergency department to die, she had lived a long and fruitful life and it\nwas time for her to graduate, and could I hold her hand during this ceremony.\nIt was 1979, and at that time in my career no one died on my watch, after all I\nam an emergency physician and I am there to save lives not let them expire. I\nasked her if I could put her on a monitor, and she had no problem with that, so\nI did. She then proceeded to control every aspect of herself and her environment.\nIt was 6:30 in the morning and she was the only patient in the ED. I sat with her\nfor just over 2 hours as life slowly drained out of her body. A pulse of 90, a\nrespiratory rate on 14, to both at zero. I did not intervene, the nurses did\nnot intervene. Even though I had her on monitor which was shown in the nursing\nstation, not one nurse responded to the monitor’s alarm (which by the way NEVER\nhappens). Even though this was in a busy downtown hospital emergency department,\nnot one new patient showed up during that time to take me away from being with\nthis amazing human being. She was in complete control. \n\n\nThis was Alex Honnold’s ceremony, and make no mistake Alex\nhad complete control of his head, body, mind and environment for 4 hours and 56\nminutes. This is what made his free solo El Cap climb a success and not a plunge\nto his death. This kind of complete control is rare. I have now seen it twice in\nmy life.\n\n\ndSV
Phoenix Rich
He later died falling off a roof.....RIP
Pod
i'd rather fight a lion with my bare hands than attempt this, because i'd have a higher chance of living.
Raz3 MK
This is fake... not humanly possible.. \nI hate to break it but sometimes they fake stuff and there editing is so good It can fool our brains..
Reagan D
How’d they get down?
Robbie Backpacking
I'm watching this video and my heart is literally pumping!
Rubei
Just wear a backpack with a parachute...idiots
Russian Bot from Russia
This is pure insanity
Sam E
*it doesn’t hurt to put a rope on*
Sara
It's suicidal. That's the issue with it. It's like watching someone play Russian Roulette. I used to be a climber. And I free climbed. And I stopped because I realized there was a certain point where I was going higher, and riskier, and I realized, I had to re-evaluate my life, and what I was doing. I was meditating and being a Buddhist and taking my path seriously, and I realized that at a certain point, I wasn't valuing my own life, if I pushed myself further, and that I needed to back off from it. Bouldering is fine, and traditional climbing with ropes and gear and such is fine, but when you start free-soloing you are playing with your life in a way that is really disregarding it. There's something kind of damaging inside by doing that. Something willful that says \
Shable
Chai and chin have the perfect monotone voices for this nail biting feat
Shadow Stone ops
Well he can always just redeploy his glider.
Sir Kreisverkehr
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy\nThere’s vomit on his sweater already, moms spaghetti\nHe’s nervous.....\n\nThanks Eminem for describing how I feel while watching this video!!!
Sky Walkies
My hands get sweaty watching this.
Slots N-Stuff
Simply amazing and outstanding achievement! I had to skip the remote boulder section and jump ahead due to the extreme anxiety I felt just watching this. Holy crap man! Serious set this guy has no doubt!
Teringventje
Doesnt matter how good you are, there is always a white person dominating you
Thierry Levy
I used to do some climbing at a very amateurish level. This documentary does not do justice to the insanity of this achievement. 99.99% of humans attempting this route would die within minutes. I just cannot believe there is a human being out there that could actually pull it off.
ThunderWizarddotcom
the second most frightening aspect of this video is the extent to which climate change has altered the ecosystem of yosemite. I have never seen so many dead and dying trees before. I remember 30 years ago in the Sierras and in Yosemite, the forests were much healthier. We are watching the destruction of an ecosystem. Once those trees die and burn down, they won't come back. Very scary and very sad...
Tony F
Someone should do a documentary about this documentary about a documentary
Travvis Todd
None of this is healthy.
Unit 12352
My respects
Unknitship9
*sponsored by NorthFace*
V M
When you gamble with safety - you bet your life. Alex either does not understand the value of the life or he feels that he does not have much to lose...
Yeah Neah
My math teacher is a rock climber, he showed us this.
Yellow Man
This guy is outstanding.
YoBoiElite
why not just use a drone?
anthony aguilar
That's cool, he did it....But why not show footage of him doing it with harness etc,,,,Where's the footage without all of this? Sounds like bs
atlmyk
At 9:43 when the screen went black and I saw his name and the date I thought I was about to read about his death. Nothing left to prove so use ropes please.
aud
i thought the first 4 mins was El Cap...i can’t handle this
big oof
imagine being too nervous and passing out mid climb...
bos man
This should be in one of those sweaty palm compilation.
broomsterm
Even Indians have to whistle and shake their heads. There is no way to convey the sheer insanity of this climb. I saw the movie on the big screen, and it couldn't do it justice. While extraordinarily well-prepared, motivated, and physically fit to an incredible degree, Alex has a brain that does not allow him to feel fear in the normal manner (this was revealed in the movie). This was just insane. 4 hours on a sheer rock wall with edge-of-finger \
burnit 01
Jokes on you guys, rumours have it he is actually a spider wearing a human costume.
clarkewi
I'm scared of standing on a chair, so this blows me away. I've been to Yosemite.
elo elo
:) there are no safeguards in life ... we are bullets shoot through the forest ... his skills and training are his belts and lower speed - when someone will force you to change lane and you will lose trraction and hit under 18th wheller in perrfect day and condition nothing will help you -same as he will slip on wet rock orr get hit by falling rrock...nothing can protect us from END .. the difference is he will die while doing unthinkable thing while rrest of us will die doing normal life .
furyofbongos
I'm not religious but I want to pray he lives to 100.
hehexd95
is he jesus
hornetluca
I wonder how many pullups he can do.\nDoes anybody have an idea?
j burggg
he'll be very embarrassed if he falls.
paintballgod33
He probably could have done it in a faster time if his balls weren't weighing him down.
sebynum123
Can’t you just put a camera in a drone and all problems would be solved
starfox300
This man really should be on Ninja Warrior
tectonicD
The New York Times spreads lies and misinformation.