• balaji sathyanarayanan

Free solo Review: Doing the impossible.


Image Source: National Geographic Documentary Flims

Free Solo is a documentary about the renowned Mount Climber Alex Honnold, and his attempt to be the first free solo climber to Conquer El Capitain. The documentary Traces the Daily-lives of the Climber, his obsession with Perfection, his Food Habitats, Relationships and the mental strength that sets him apart from the Crowd.


The minute details – like the path he uses for the way up the mountain and the dangers of Free Soloing is the Focal Point of the Documentary. The foundation for Poor people to get Electricity signifies Travelling can unlock or show us the path that (Road that is not taken), the Things in the future waiting to unravel for us. Any athletic impossible event (Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 or completing the marathon in less than 2 hours) is achieved through Human Endurance and the Dedication that these Athletes possess and Sport is their Oxygen.



They have classified the Way to Summit as 6 checkpoints, where The crew in the top is notified every time he crosses the Barriers. The Docu –movie doesn’t give you chills or the Playbook Motivational stuff (Southpaw, Never Back down), but the realities that Free soloing Climbers has to face, the attachments they have to sacrifice for the Moonshot they are trying to Achieve. The Deaths of people who are climbing Martyrs (due to free soloing Different Mountains) Doesn’t move Alex from his Goal.


Image Source: Buffalo Rising

The Physics behind free soloing makes (only less than 1 %) climbers trying to attempt it as it involves intricate Balancing and understanding of the load distribution through the fragile slabs(Especially in El Capitan).

Alex Weighs 70-72 Kg and the pull that he will encounter at say 2000 feet is (9.8*609*72) which is 316 pounds per feet he will experience (acting on the body), normally the tension is absorbed by the rope but in this case, his hands and legs act as springs.



Through the course of the documentary, Even the greatest minds had doubts in their abilities, so Alex suffers Injuries to his Ankles which is equivalent to Risking your Thumb in arrow Shooting, but still with his perseverance he creates one of the Inhumane Athletic Achievements(Much tougher than Roger Bannister 1 mile Barrier).


Though Alex is projected as Single Tough Individual, his friends Tommy Caldwell and his girlfriend Sanni help him navigate the frustrations and help him to achieve the improbable.

Verdict: A good documentary for sports enthusiasts. Available on: Disney+& Hotstar. Bingeopedia Rating: 3.25 / 5

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