Viewers continued to shake last night after watching the mountaineer Alex Honnold ascending to 3,000 feet of a steep rock face alone without ropes.
Alex, 33, from California, is the only person in the world who has climbed the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without the help of safety ropes or help.
The performance of the free climber was filmed for National Geographic documentary & # 39; Free Solo & # 39 ;, which was broadcast on Channel 4 last night.
Viewers stayed behind with sweaty palms at the climax of the film, which the climber saw more than 3000 feet from the ground, knowing that a single slip would almost certainly lead to his death.
Viewers were left in absolute shock by the performance of Alex Honnold, while they saw him climb 3,200 feet without ropes
One tweeted: & # 39; He did it! Damn it, I can breathe again. & # 39;
Another wrote: & # 39; At the same time, the free solo made me feel less functioning and fully alive. If I had half the determination, Alex Honnold has … my god … What a hero / idiot / hero! & # 39;
& # 39; So delighted, & # 39; said Honnold when he reached the top at the peak of the show, following his climb and his preparations for it.
Free solo climbing is an extreme technique that is only practiced by the most experienced climbers who scale mountains with their bare hands, and many die.
Many took to Twitter after the movie to share their shocks with the movie, with some calling him a hero and an idiot for trying the climb
Alex climbed all 3,200 feet of El Capitan without the help of ropes. Even the cameraman who filmed him felt unable to watch him when he made the final climb
Camera men on rope filmed Alex's incredible performance as he climbed the steep rock face
One climber quoted in the film put it like this: & Imagine that the punishment for Olympic athletes who failed to win gold every time they competed was dead. That is the reality for free climbers. & # 39;
Honnold was accompanied by a film crew that did use ropes that were arranged along the climbing path. A drone and two fixed cameras were also used for the parts that were too difficult and dangerous for camera people.
In some places the rock looks practically slippery and Honnold left nothing but seemingly invisible bumps and other irregularities in the surface of the mountain to get a support and lift himself up.
Sometimes he pinched his fingers in a crack or pinched his thumb in a small hole.
For a particularly awkward place, known as a & # 39; Boulder problem & # 39 ;, he had to perform a complicated set of arm and leg movements to keep moving forward.
The wrong movement at any time may have caused Alex to fall off the cliff and almost die
A cameraman in the film could not watch when he made the last climb and had to look away
In months of training, working with a rope, he learned to perform those movements to perfection.
On the day of the big climb, a cameraman looked away, unable to look, because Honnold struggled to cling to the granite wall.
Viewers were surprised at his performance in the film, and many went to Twitter to share their shock.
One wrote: & # 39; What an intense documentary, my hands just sweated watching it. This guy is crazy and his missus deserves a medal! & # 39;
Viewers recorded Twitter to glorify the film and admire Alex, with some saying it had made their palms sweat
Another commented: & # 39; I just watched Free Solo and no matter how I look at Alex Honnold's results, I can't stop myself from thinking he's just an idiot! & # 39;
After he finished the epic climb, another wrote: "Please sit down! All you need now is to fall off the damn summit! & # 39;
One commented: & # 39; The scariest thing I've ever seen. Even my feet are sweating. & # 39;
Another exclaimed: & # 39; I get free-rising nightmares. I'm struggling with escalators! & # 39;
Shocking photos released by National Geographic show the vertical, almost smooth rock wall that Alex Honnold climbed without ropes in June 2017
Alex Honnold makes the first free solo climb of El Capitan & # 39; s Freerider in Yosemite National Park, CA. Honnold underwent an MRI scan to determine whether or not he felt anxiety like a normal person would
During filming, the production team spent much of their time holding back their breath against the nightmarish prospect of a fall.
But Honnold himself seemed so calm that researchers wondered if there was anything else about his brain.
With this in mind, Honnold underwent an MRI in 2016 as he prepared for the climb.
That test, documented in the program, shows that a part of the brain that used to be commonly associated with anxiety – the amygdala – was not activated when it received violent or terrifying images.
Alex Honnold soloized the Scotty-Burke beyond the width of Freerider on Yosemite & El Capitan. Drones and fixed cameras were used to record his journey because it was too difficult and dangerous for camera crews to follow him in some parts
But according to the latest research, the amygdala is no longer considered to be the fear center of the brain. Instead, it is activated when someone sees something unknown – positive, neutral or negative.
And fear is expressed in the brain, not just the amygdala, according to Lisa Barrett, an emeritus professor of psychology at Northeastern University and the author of a recent article on the brain region.
Honnold himself said he knows what it's like to be scared.
& # 39; I am afraid of death, I am afraid of danger, I am afraid of pain. I used to be very afraid of public speaking, & he told AFP in 2018.
Alex Honnold on top of the cathedral with El Capitan in the background. El Capitan is a vertical rock formation located on the north side of Yosemite Valley. The granite monolith is approximately 3,000 feet from the base to the top along the highest plane
Alex Honnold sits on top of the El Capitan summit in June 2017 and has just become the first person to ever climb the rock without a rope
His explanation of how he overcame fear is simpler. & # 39; For me, it just shows what 10 years of preparation and practice and de-sensitization does & # 39 ;, he said. Hard work has taught him to tame his feelings.
For years he climbed El Capitan with the help of ropes and recorded all his movements. He was in good condition for the solo climb.
The film suggests that Honnold & # 39; s determination borders on obsession, to the point that he neglected his girlfriend, Sanni McCandless. She calls him & # 39; brutally honest & # 39; and a & # 39; weird guy & # 39 ;.
She remembered how he casually responded to the news that a climbing man had died in a fall.
A climber quoted in the film presented himself as the fine for Olympic athletes who failed to win gold every time they competed – that was the reality for free climbers
Sometimes Alex can pinch his fingers in a slit or stick his thumb in a small hole. A particularly tricky place is known as a & # 39; Boulder problem & # 39 ;. Here Honnold has to perform a complicated set of arm and leg movements to continue
Alex Honnold gets his haircut from his girlfriend Sanni McCandless before he tries his free solo from El Capitan in June 2017
& # 39; What did she expect? & # 39; According to McCandless, Honnold asked about the wife of the deceased friend. Honnold himself said he did not understand how his own death would affect other people.
& # 39; This is the life he wants & said the director of the documentary, Chai Vasarhelyi, who co-directed it with her husband Jimmy Chin, a climber and photographer. & # 39; He has thought deeply about mortality. He has built up his entire existence to have this life. & # 39;
There was one thing Honnold worried about: falling in front of the camera.
He said it would be nice & # 39; if I am alone & # 39; but & # 39; a bit confused & # 39; when it happened in the presence of his friends. & # 39; Nobody wants to see that, & # 39; he said.
Alex Honnold at the foot of El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park. The & # 39; Free Solo & # 39; of National Geographic & # 39; s documentary was released in the US in September and will be marred in British cinemas on Friday, December 14
Honnold and his girlfriend Sanni McCandless can be seen last month. They are the subjects of National Geographic & # 39; s documentary, Free Solo
Alex Honnold cleaning his van in Yosemite National Park, CA. In months of training, working with a rope, Alex learned to perform the movements he needed to climb El Capitan
In October 2017, Honnold shared a note written to his youngest 18-year-old self on CBS This Morning, for the regular feature film & # 39; Note To Self & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Your lack of social skills is part of the reason you are soldering for free, without climbing yourself up without a rope. But don't worry – you will ultimately feel at home in the climbing community, surrounded by close friends and partners for life, & says the note.
& # 39; Right now you are scared of so many things: strangers, girls, vegetables, until you die. That's fine; fear is a completely natural part of life. You will always feel fear. But over time you will realize that the only way to truly control your fears is to broaden your comfort zone, & Honnold writes.
The note concludes: & # 39; Climbing is a lifelong journey; use it to learn and grow. And Alex, don't forget to enjoy the view. & # 39;
In this photo of National Geographic & # 39; s documentary Free Solo, Alex Honnold writes the climbing event of the day in his climbing diary
Famous climber Alex Honnold shared the advice he would give to his younger 18-year-old self in a note written for a segment at CBS in October
Climber Alex Honnold & # 39; s note to his 18 year old self
You are currently an 18-year-old loner lost in a sea of indifferent faces at UC Berkeley. You spend most of your first year, not in class, but on a local boulder, crossing the rock face back and forth with headphones. You prefer that you go to the climbing hall because you don't have to talk to someone. Surprisingly, this is the start of a path. You leave the school, go to a van and dedicate yourself to climbing.
Your lack of social skills is part of the reason why you play for free, climbing without a rope. But don't worry – you'll eventually feel at home in the climbing community, surrounded by close friends and lifelong partners.
You have always loved the physical movement of climbing. There is a certain joy in waving around, pushing yourself up, the fluency of motion. Whether you climb trees or buildings as a child or climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park as an adult, you will learn to appreciate the tension in your arms and the burning of your muscles. You will experience this joy-climbing throughout your life; No matter how many routes you climb, it will always be the core of your ride.
The idea of free solo El Capitan, the iconic 3,000 meter high wall in Yosemite, will become a comprehensive dream for a large part of your climbing moment. During the first five or six years you will be too scared to try – too scared to make any effort for a possible solo. Right now you are afraid of so many things: strangers, girls, vegetables, until you die. That's fine; fear is a completely natural part of life. You will always feel fear. But over time you will realize that the only way to really manage your fears is to widen your comfort zone. It is a long, slow process that requires constant push, but in the end you will feel pretty good, and you will climb large walls just like this.
You will almost have missed and often think about death. It will change your perspective and small annoyances will melt away. There will always be people who call you crazy or assume that you have a death wish – that's fine. They do not see the amount of time and effort in preparation or your drive to do something difficult, especially if it has never been done before.
But you will always find the goal to explore your own limits. Don't let someone else's opinion enchant you. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks: live your life in the way that you find most satisfying.
For years climbing will be the most important thing in your life. You will climb for everything else. But keep an open mind. Eventually you will have a great girlfriend and a charity foundation.
Eventually everything comes back to El Capitan. It will give your life direction for almost a decade. It will be your muse, the reason you get up early to train and stay out for long days in the mountains. The day you finally release El Cap solo will be one of the most satisfying of your life. It will also serve as an important reminder that no top is more important than the long process of getting there.
Climbing is a lifelong journey; use it to learn and grow. And Alex, don't forget to enjoy the view.
Source: CBS News
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