UPDATE with photo: Nat Geo just got its Hollywood ending. Rock climber Alex Honnold today pulled off the first-ever free solo climb of famed El Capitan’s 3,000-foot vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park, with National Geographic Documentary Films shooting the historic feat for a new docu feature.
Tentatively titled Solo, the pic is from filmmakers Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi, the team behind the 2015 Sundance audience award winner Meru. The pic will get a theatrical release followed by a global broadcast on National Geographic channels in 171 countries.
The magazine today called it the “moon landing of free soloing,” a style of climbing sans ropes, gear or a partner. Hannold completed the climb — considered the highest, most dangerous rock-climbing route ever attempted — in 3 hours 56 minutes with Nat Geo cameras rolling. The docu will follow the free-soloist climber as he trains for the feat.
Solo is being produced by Itinerant Media and parkes+MacDonald/Image Nation for National Geographic Channels. Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi are producing with Evan Hayes, Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, and Shannon Dill. Nat Geo’s Matt Renner is executive producer.
“Alex’s passion to push himself to the edge of what is humanly possible, to continually redefine the limits set for him, encompasses everything we represent at National Geographic,” said Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production at National Geographic channels. “He is a true explorer in every sense of the word, one who fully embodies the pioneering spirit we have championed at National Geographic for more than 129 years. Alex’s feat is nothing short of historic, and when people see the extreme preparation and indomitable human spirit we captured for our upcoming movie they will truly be in awe.”