Making of Free Solo

Have you heard of Free Solo? There’s a chance you might have since there’s a lot of buzz about this documentary that follows rock climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to complete a free solo climb (which is without any ropes, harnesses or other safety equipment) up the 3,000-foot vertical rock formation known as El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in California. That’s a tall order, no pun intended, but almost as challenging was being able to capture this club without disrupting the climber himself.

In a new video, directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin explain how they and their expert camera crew scaled the mountain along with Alex Honnold to get the best shots possible. But the crew also employed remote cameras and other tech savvy skills in order to get the tfootage they need. However, beware of some spoilers for Free Solo since they do give away some of the struggles during the climb itself.

Find out everything you need to know about the making of Free Solo below.

Making of Free Solo

Vanity Fair sat down for this conversation with Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, who break down the climb into various sections and explain how each part of the climb brought unique challenges, from the limited amount of people qualified to shoot such a documentary, to the worry of whether or not their remote cameras had enough battery to capture the shots they needed during the later part of the climb.

Just watching the brief footage here is nerve-racking, especially when you see how this cliffside stacks up against some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. I have no idea how someone like Alex Honnold gets comfortable enough to attempt something like this, or how anyone gets the courage to be up there with him, even with a rope and harness. No thanks!

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