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Free Solo (2018)

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I searched for this but couldn't find a topic on Free Solo. Can this be merged if there is one already?

Anyhow, most people probably have heard of it since it won an Oscar, but if you haven't. It's a documentary about about a guy who climbs a cliff (El Capitan) in Yosemite natural park without ropes. I just recently caught this on Natural Geographic. It is a really well done and hard to believe how they managed to film him doing this climb without distracting him and how much work really is involved in doing something like that. It's a crazy and edge of the seat kind of watch. It also dives into the mindset and the sociology of rock climbers, why do they do what they are doing. The interviews with the people, both the crew and other rock climbers involved is fascinating. Anyhow, I would recommend this to anyone especially people who like documentaries.

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I watched it last night.  It's a little vertigo-inducing to say the least.  I felt just like that camera man on the ground who just couldn't watch because he didn't want to see his friend die.

What was up with the guy in the bunny suit?  Did he sleep on the ledge?

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I also watched this yesterday! It was really, really good. I couldn't believe how much tension they were able to generate on that final climb, considering the audience KNOWS he survived. I was still on the edge of my seat saying "holy shit!" out loud.

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I quite enjoyed it. Absolutely gorgeous to look at. When I mentioned it to my sister she wondered if he survived because she didn’t want to watch it otherwise and I responded “well he was on stage at the Oscars.” 

I guess more power to his girlfriend because I could not imagine being in a relationship with him much less living in a van or a cookie cutter house in Vegas with him. 

Unrelated to climbing one of the main cameramen for the movie died last week.

Edited by biakbiak
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4 hours ago, biakbiak said:

I guess more power to his girlfriend because I could not imagine being in a relationship with him much less living in a van or a cookie cutter house in Vegas with him. 

Yeah, his girlfriend is the unofficial MVP of the movie.  It's sad that she has to center him so much, knowing he won't/isn't capable of being so devoted to her in return.

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On 3/9/2019 at 3:51 PM, meep.meep said:

What was up with the guy in the bunny suit?  Did he sleep on the ledge?

Yes, though who he was and why the suit I have no idea.  There was someone else with him to climb El Cap as well, just with gear.

I got a little laugh when Alex began the climb and one of the camera guys says "he's climbing!" because you know, he just did it, without announcing it.   Obviously it was the best way to get into the right head space. 

I can see why this won the Oscar - not just visually beautiful and of course the amazing feat of the climb, but a really interesting personal story about Alex and watching the relationship with Sanni develop.   Though at first I'm thinking, uh dude?  Don't let her belay you any more, she dropped you twice and caused an injury!  I did like when they interview her and she says he told her he wanted to break up with her after he got injured and she just asked him if that would make his life better.  Seems like the right move that he decided it wouldn't.

Still though, when she is discussing the talk she had with Alex about Ueli Steck and his death and how his wife was left behind - I think intellectually he understands that but for him, if he dies, well, everything else just keeps going on.

For me, the climb was fun to watch because you know he survives (so I wasn't tense) and the technical aspects were fascinating.  I was rooting him on out loud when he made that last crazy traverse and had his butt literally hanging in the wind. 

I climbed many years ago - nothing even remotely as difficult and always with gear! and it's a lot of fun and good for someone who focuses inward and on details.    Professional climbers are a different breed and Alex is a whole other type for sure - you have to do nothing but climb and prepare to climb.

I thought this was really well done and will watch Meru (made by the same documentarian) as well.  I love me a good human endurance/perseverance story.

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On 3/9/2019 at 1:51 PM, meep.meep said:

What was up with the guy in the bunny suit?  Did he sleep on the ledge?

It's a unicorn costume.  He routinely wears it when he's climbing, even though he says it doesn't breathe well and attracts bees.

https://www.rei.com/blog/climb/the-climber-in-the-unicorn-suit

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On 3/10/2019 at 11:22 PM, Brn2bwild said:

Yeah, his girlfriend is the unofficial MVP of the movie.  It's sad that she has to center him so much, knowing he won't/isn't capable of being so devoted to her in return.

I felt sorry for her, but then hardened a bit because she sought him out, so she knew what she was getting into.  She may not have specifically known he wouldn't return his devotion, but there was already plenty there that would give someone reason to tread carefully even before choosing to stalk him.

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On 3/9/2019 at 7:47 AM, blueray said:

It is a really well done and hard to believe how they managed to film him doing this climb without distracting him and how much work really is involved in doing something like that.

I saw it in a theater and after the movie they had a bonus feature thing, with an interview with Honnold and some discussion by the filmmakers about how they did it.  One thing they cleared up for me is that food and water were stashed all along the route.  Oh, and there was equipment available if he decided to stop.  During the movie, I was actually wondering about that--what if he doesn't fall but he can't go on? 

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On 3/17/2019 at 6:31 PM, raven said:

I thought this was really well done and will watch Meru (made by the same documentarian) as well.  I love me a good human endurance/perseverance story.

You'll like Meru.

If you want human endurance/perseverance, check out Touching the Void.  Holy cow.  These two guys were climbing and one fell in a crevasse and the other cut the rope to save himself (or something like that--I'm working from memory, and it came out at least 10 years ago), but one thing that is seared into my brain is that the guy in the crevasse knew he couldn't climb up, so he lowered himself deeper into the crevasse to try to get out.  I get nauseated just thinking about it.

The movie is a re-enactment of the event by actors, but the real guys are in it, too (so you know they survived).  It's unbelievable.

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Sanni did not drop Alex twice. The second fall he took he slipped on his own and he even acknowledges in his book that she was paying really close attention to him and prevented a far worse fall. 

The first fall is also arguably more on Alex than Sanni. They switched ropes with her parents and inadvertently got a much shorter rope so she lowered him off the end by accident. However, of the two of them, he was the vastly more experienced climber, with over twenty years experience to her nine months or so. He could and should have checked the rope and made sure there was a knot in the end. This would have been a good opportunity to teach her these basic safety checks but Alex isn’t known for his devotion to safety. 

Edited by Conotocarious

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Watching this now with my big wall climbing husband. I can’t look even though I know the outcome. Well done though, Oscar was worthy. 

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