EDIT: Thank you all for your questions! We had a lot of fun answering them.

My name is Alex Honnold and I’m a professional adventure rock climber. Last year I became the only person to have free-soloed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

My name is Chai Vasarhelyi and I’m an award-winning filmmaker whose films as a director include: Meru (2015), Incorruptible (2015), Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love (2008), A Normal Life (2003), and Touba (2013). And my name is Jimmy Chin and I’m a professional climber, skier, mountaineer, 18-year member of The North Face Athlete Team and National Geographic Explorer.

We both co-directed and produced Free Solo, an intimate, unflinching portrait of rock climber Alex Honnold, as he prepares for and then achieves his lifelong dream: to climb the face of Yosemite’s El Capitan … without a rope.

Watch the trailer for Free Solo here: https://on.natgeo.com/2Pcyn52

Proof: https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/1047183702114140160

Comments: 57 • Responses: 20  • Date: 

dorylomorphs12 karma

Did you hold your poop?

nationalgeographic10 karma

The key is to poop before you go up.

- Alex

Or the key is to get up at 4AM so that you're done pooping beforehand.

- Jimmy

LivingInTheVoid11 karma

How do you deal with your giant fucking balls while you did this?

nationalgeographic23 karma

They just swing to and fro.

- Alex

GrundleHuffer6 karma

Alex - Big fan. Do you ever get scared? Of anything?

nationalgeographic5 karma

Definitely yes, I get scared of all kinds of things.

- Alex

kj_freeedom5 karma

Alex what was the worst accident you've had, and any close calls? Hope you stay safe into old age! We marvel at your skill.

nationalgeographic5 karma

I fell snowshoeing off Mt Tallac above Lake Tahoe once upon a time. I broke many things.

-Alex

N8teface4 karma

Chai & Jimmy — The film looks absolutely beautiful. How will you top what's being considered by some to be the greatest climbing film ever made?

Alex — When you're not climbing/training, how else do you like to spend your time?

nationalgeographic11 karma

We plan to top it by not make another climbing film.

- Jimmy

nationalgeographic8 karma

Jimmy missed a few shots. It could be better haha

- Chai

covingtonfalls23 karma

Hey Alex, what did you think of your experience at Cal and how did you make the decision to drop out and pursue climbing?

nationalgeographic4 karma

I didn't even really have much of an experience at Cal because I was pretty disengaged from the whole studying part. Though I never specifically dropped out, I just took a semester off and then I never went back.

- Alex

themattadams3 karma

Hi Chai and Jimmy, how much planning went into the filming of the actual climb? I know after the first attempt you had to re-think the filming positions, was this the toughest shoot the two of you have ever participated in?

nationalgeographic4 karma

Two years went into planning the filming. Yes, this was the toughest shoot.

- Jimmy

nationalgeographic3 karma

Yes, this was the toughest shoot. About a year and a half went into planning because the failure itself is turnaround. His bailout was part of the training and we learned the most important lessons from that.

- Chai

glxyds3 karma

1) What was the most challenging thing about this movie from a filmmaker/directors perspective?

2) If you could give any advice to a beginner climber, what would it be?

nationalgeographic7 karma

  1. Focus on your footwork. It's all about technique.

- Alex

nationalgeographic4 karma

  1. Managing the burden of the risks, doing justice to the climb, and weaving in an emotional narrative that humanized Alex and also gave his achievement context.

- Jimmy

nationalgeographic2 karma

  1. The risks involved and doing justice to the risks involved.

- Chai

danger-johnson2 karma

Alex/ Jimmy have you guys had any major climbing related injuries? How did you rehab them? Are you scared of re-injury?

Can’t wait to see the movie!

nationalgeographic3 karma

I've had lots of relatively minor overuse injuries, things like tendonitis or pulley injuries. I have basically climbed through them all, but carefully. I rarely take real time off, but I'm careful to not make things worse. Overall I maybe should have rested more.

- Alex

nationalgeographic1 karma

*knocks on wood* no climbing injuries so far.

- Jimmy

Mr_Music_Man442 karma

During the making of the film did any of you guys have any funny moments that happen behind the scenes or even while filming?

nationalgeographic6 karma

The film was basically two years of my normal life. So there were plenty of funny moments. It's like asking somebody what were the funny moments of their last two years. Life has all kinds of random shit going on. - Alex

Alex online dating at the beginning of the film. And the guys were always so tired so they would fall asleep on command. The funniest moment was when Claire and Alex would sometimes lose the cat and everyone running in the dark. - Chai

I did spend hours looking for a cat in the dark and then realized I was looking for a one-eyed cat. - Alex

There was a cat that we were care taking while we were staying at this person's house. And we were not supposed to lose the cat. - Jimmy

The cat's name was Mr. Tut Tut. - Alex

NOSlurpy2 karma

After something like this, what's motivates you? What is next??

nationalgeographic7 karma

I think that I'm motivated by the same things I was before the climb - the right kinds of challenges on inspiring walls. Since Free Soloing El Cap I've also gone on an expedition to Antarctica with Jimmy and set the speed record on the Nose - basically just normal climbing challenges. . .

- Alex

sshatsky2 karma

Alex - About how long did you spend researching and preparing for your climb? How long was it before "I want to free solo El Cap" became a reality?

nationalgeographic5 karma

Watch the film and you see the roughly two years that I spent directly preparing, but I'd been thinking about it for maybe 6 or 7 years before that. Not that that time is all necessarily researching or preparing but it's sort of wrapping my head around it.

- Alex

danger-johnson2 karma

Favorite climb near your guys home towns? Sacramento Area? Minnesota?

nationalgeographic1 karma

Freerider. Close enough to Sacramento.

Or more seriously anything at Lover's Leap. Or Donner.

- Alex

Barn Bluff.

- Jimmy

NobushiNueve1 karma

What books have you all been reading while working on this (2yr?) project? What ideas which were not your own did you fixate on and adapt while working on Free Solo? And for Alex specifically, did you read anything that really hyped you up or put some thinkings in you head for the climbs?

nationalgeographic4 karma

A particular thing about our process is that I try to stay away from things that could be related in terms of movies. We were focused on other things like Westworld (the TV show) and we had a child 2 months into production. I read Homo Deus and the Incendiaries and in general reading was a way to distract my mind. I also read tons of children's books.

- Chai

I climbed, skied, and surfed a lot.

- Jimmy

I actually have a pretty comprehensive reading list for the last several years posted at honnoldfoundation.org/books.

One of the things that hyped me up for wanting to put in the work to free solo Cap was Tommy finishing his project on the Dawn Wall.

- Alex

Is_Space_Infinite-1 karma

Alex,

Do you think space is infinite?

If not what do you think forms the barrier at which it “stops”?

nationalgeographic4 karma

I think space is probably infinite, though I'm really not the best person to ask.

- Alex