/ Free Solo Channel 4 Thu 23 May, 9pm

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elsewhere 18 May 2019

Free Solo is on Channel 4 Thu 23 May, 9pm

elsewhere 22 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Bump as reminder.

deepsoup 22 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

I was going to post on FB about this, had a look on Youtube for a trailer to link to and found this 360 thing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRGF77fBAeM

Hadn't seen this before, holy moly it's impressive.

elsewhere 23 May 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

Watched it at the cinema - sweaty palms even though you know he doesn't die.

deepsoup 23 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Yep, real edge of your seat stuff.  Tense enough to watch knowing full well how it's going to turn out - I can't imagine how hard it must have been for the camera crew to film on the day.

The youtube link I posted there is to something slightly different though, worth a click even if you've seen the film.  It's a kinda-sorta trailer filmed with a "360 degree" view - you can pan and tilt the 'camera' in any direction while watching.  I've watched it half a dozen times, and kept pausing to have a look around.  Amazing really.

elsewhere 23 May 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

You're right. That 360 thing is jaw dropping.

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Shani 23 May 2019
pasbury 23 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Holy f*cking A. I watched for the first time. My balls are still lodged somewhere behind my sternum. The boulder problem!!!!

So far beyond my imagining.

1
Trangia 24 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Difficult to watch at times with my heart in my mouth. As has been said, real edge of your seat stuff. He is unbelievably cool and calm. Amazing photography and must have been terrifying for the film crew, knowing that at any moment a friend could plunge to his death. They actually discussed whether they would follow him down with the camera if the worst happened. I felt sorry for his girl, what a strain for her. Sensible that he sent her away so that she wouldn't have to watch.

Trangia 24 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

I wonder why the title is "Free solo"? It was another American, Thomas Jefferson , who famously quoted "Never use two words when one would do"

Post edited at 06:59
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DaveHK 24 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

> I wonder why the title is "Fee solo"? It was another American, Thomas Jefferson , who famously quoted "Never use two words when one would do"

Perhaps he was paid for it?

1
Trangia 24 May 2019
In reply to DaveHK:

Thank you! Now corrected

The Norris 24 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

To distinguish it from the other classic 'roped solo' my mate Dave did with his go pro down at Hobson moor quarry 😉

1
irish paul 24 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

I had heard it came out around the time of the Star Wars origin film Solo - and they changed the name to avoid confusion....

DaveHK 24 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

> Thank you! Now corrected

Perhaps he didn't get paid then? ; )

Post edited at 08:35
In reply to elsewhere:

Felt a bit sorry for his girlfriend, craving some...any emotional connection, probing and fishing for some warmth and constantly getting a robotic, blank, needle on spectrum rainmanesque response. 

5
ianstevens 24 May 2019
In reply to Trangia:

> I wonder why the title is "Free solo"? It was another American, Thomas Jefferson , who famously quoted "Never use two words when one would do"

Because using aid is so standard in Yosemite its worth distinguishing whether you've used it or not?

1
Shani 25 May 2019
In reply to ianstevens:

No. As above, it was to stop confusion with the Star Wars movie "Solo".

1
Wiley Coyote2 25 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Having watched it on the big screen and dvd I am surprised more is not made of the slab. The Boulder Problem is obviously desperately difficult but, as we all know, it is possible to have a move you find so hard that at first you can't even get off the ground but you persevere and eventually get it so wired that it not only feels quite comfortable but you can't imagine why you ever found it so hard. Honnold himself says he was 100pc confident he could do it and would not fall off.

The slab, however (where he turned back on the first attempt), seems horrendous. He says in the commentary that the handholds are so small there is no chance of recovering if a foot pops. So it is all on your feet and the footholds are either tiny nicks or mere depressions in the rock. Then, as if that was not bad enough, as you step up with one foot in mid-air you have just one p1ss-poor point of contact. I think I feel sick.

I agree it was amazing how the film-makers kept the tension going even though everyone knows he did it. It was a bit like the Tom Hanks film of Apollo 13. I knew they got back OK - I'm actually old enough to remember the real Apollo 13 mission on the news for days on end - but it still managed to be gripping edge of the seat stuff.

what the hex 25 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Recommended this film to two mates - One got back saying he thought Honnold was "selfish" the other said he was "callous"! Personally, I just thought he was focused, have no idea where the sour grapes from my friends come from.

Wiley Coyote2 26 May 2019
In reply to what the hex:

> Recommended this film to two mates - One got back saying he thought Honnold was "selfish" the other said he was "callous"! Personally, I just thought he was focused, have no idea where the sour grapes from my friends come from.


I don't think he is callous so much as largely oblivious to the feelings of others, particularly his girlfriend. I've no idea what the cause of that  is but I thought the study of his personality  and the backstory of his childhood was easily as interesting as the climbing and perhaps more so. It certainly set the film aside from the run-of-the-mill climbing videos of people just doing desperate moves and taking big falls. Certainly telling his gf she would just find someone else if he got killed was not the most sympathetic response to her worries. As an unreconstructed Northern bloke it actually made me feel positively Mr Touchy Feely in comparison.

1
Wilderbeest 26 May 2019
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

Watched last night and it’s true that the relationship with his girlfriend makes the film....her efforts to get him to meet her at least halfway....

he seemed a lot happier in his van than buying a home with her.

1
tjdodd 26 May 2019
In reply to what the hex:

I think selfish and callous are perfectly good words to describe Alex's behaviour.  He is clearly selfish in that climbing comes before all else and to be that focused and driven you have to have at least an element of selfishness.  I suspect many climbers (and anyone else obsessed with their hobby) would be considered selfish to at least some extent.  I think Alex takes it to another level though - I am sure most people consider it selfish to deliberately put your life at risk for no really good reason without regard for the implications on others.  Which takes us nicely onto why he is callous as well.  In being selfish in his actions he is also callous in his insensitivity to others, in particular towards Sanni.  I think this is obvious from his actions alone, but his words only reinforce this.  I suspect most people think callous is a pretty nasty word meaning cruel but it can just mean insensitive - I do not think he is being cruel but he is clearly insensitive.  I also think many people think being callous is a deliberate action - I think often people are callous without thinking and this is the case here.  So I think your friends are perfectly reasonable in their responses.

Saying this, I think Alex is very driven and focused and this is what makes him who he is.  He makes no pretense to be anything else and those around him appear to accept this.  In particular, Sanni appears to accept this enough to stay with him (when I suspect many others would have left him) and to try to change him slowly (I think the film does show him develop emotionally to some extent through the film).  Alex is certainly open and honest in his selfishness and insensitivity which I have to respect.

Post edited at 10:16
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Alex@home 26 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Watched this and Dawn Wall last week and thought both were outstanding. Largely this is due to points made above about the investigations into the people and the way the film makers managed to keep the tension going even though you know the outcome.

Wrt Honnold's relationship with his gf (based on what is in the film - no knowing what was edited out), she would have realised pretty early on what he was like and has chosen to stay with him. Why does she do that? Who knows? I could suggest a whole load of possibilities but they'd be no more than guesses so I won't. As for Honnold, he is on the spectrum and one of his things is he likes life to be simple and uncluttered so he can focus on the things he sees as important. Living in a van gives him that. Living in a house brings many more complications that I presume he doesn't want - or at least didn't think he was going to want. Unemotional? Yes, his amygdala doesn't really work. It can seem very callous to most people but his responses make perfect sense if you remove emotion from the situation  

DancingOnRock 26 May 2019
In reply to what the hex:

Of course he is selfish. All the top athletes are. It’s one of the qualities that you need to reach the very top of your game. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

1
what the hex 26 May 2019
In reply to DancingOnRock:

I think I agree, in the world of competitive sports (even if just competing with yourself) altruism needs to take a back seat, in this instance.

Rich W Parker 26 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

I couldn't believe it when C4 chucked an ad break into the middle of Enduro Corner!

Blue Straggler 26 May 2019
In reply to Rich W Parker:

> I couldn't believe it when C4 chucked an ad break into the middle of Enduro Corner!

Off on a tangent but C4 and FilmFour put ad breaks into their screenings of the film "Hunger"

Pan Ron 26 May 2019
In reply to tjdodd:

Seems harsh - expecting a certain type of emotional response from someone, especially someone doing what he is doing.  You wouldn't ask someone who has just lost a loved-one to "cheer up", yet people seem to be asking someone literally standing on the edge of a precipice to start talking about love and the feelings of others.  Making judgements about what he is perceiving, or feeling, because he doesn't come out with the standard responses seems well and truly off.  He was matter-of-fact and honest, yet he's callous because he doesn't say what he's supposed to say, and what a Hollywood film would have Leonardo Caprio say.  

He's clearly changed his life hugely around his girlfriend.  From years living in a van to the supposed domestic bliss of a multi-room house and furnishings - something that clearly holds little appeal for him personally.  Yet because he hasn't gone the whole 9 yards, some seem willing to making some pretty major negative judgements about his personality.  He says himself, he's learning but somehow supposed to be the emotional perfect boyfriend and the world's greatest climber.

As for "selfish", I think that is a complete bullshit.  He's further from selfishness than his own girflriend, asking zero of anyone else, putting his whole existence (his very self) on the line to do something that is ground-breaking for humanity.  

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Pefa 26 May 2019
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

Reading your post brought back the tension there for a moment. 

Well said. I seen a clip of this before and thought he must have some trauma from childhood that he has not faced up to and then when you see him top out with a massive smile and feeling like crying,I thought you don't have to put yourself in a death situation to get the same results Alex.

I could be very wrong though but I found it perhaps noteworthy when he hesitated as if unable to answer the question of whether he was depressed.He spoke of no hugs as a kid, never good enough and wanting to be alone as well as having armour which are significant which is why they are included in the film.

When I saw his feats before El Cap I thought he had a death wish but I got that all wrong;you could see his worried reactions when the skinny guy with the kids was telling him about all the friends he lost to climbing then the other guy with a face like a tree told him you gotta be doing it for the right reasons and that he couldn't do it with loads of people watching. Then he backed off which showed he could do it totally on his terms. 

I preferred the psychological study of it more than watching him up there with no back up tbh but the shots were breathtaking as was his climbing. Now he is a legend. 

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tjdodd 26 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

Not sure what you are getting at.  I do not expect any particular emotional response and am not making any judgements other than to pass positive comment on Alex.  I think using the words selfish and callous immediately provokes reactions of negativity.  Whilst they may be negative in certain contexts they may also not be - in their simplest terms they are just describing how someone is behaving towards others.

I think in the context of very high performing people that selfishness and callousness are positive attributes (but are not necessarily requirements for being high performing).  I think Alex's own words demonstrate insensitivity to others.  This is just the way he is with people.  I think the insight you gain into Alex is a really positive part of the film.  He is who he is and I pass no judgement on that.

I also reiterate that I think he is clearly selfish and this is again clear from his own words/actions - he solo climbs for his own personal pleasure and does not care about what other people think (to the point he most often does not even tell people he is doing it). So yes, he solo climbs for selfish reasons but actually that is a very positive thing - if he was not selfish he would not do all the solos he does and would not be the person he is.  And I certainly do not think he solo climbs to do something that is ground-breaking for humanity - again his words imply the complete opposite to me.  To me that would be a really negative thing to say and do.  He solo climbs because he wants to do it for himself (of course being a professional climber necessitates publicity and films like Free Solo to fund his lifestyle).

1
Pan Ron 26 May 2019
In reply to tjdodd:

I don't agree with your positive take on selfishness. He is just being honest with others. He maybe doesn't come out with gushing language, but that doesn't mean he is being selfish. You are essentially saying if he doesn't lie, doesn't make up a response that Carrie's an agreeable level of emotion, he is insensitive. Those are pretty negative traits and imply that he is in some way broken and should alter his behaviour.

At the end of the film he says he hopes his achievement inspires others. He's doing a massive amount for his charity. He does what he does without seeking fame. He comes across warm, welcoming and entirely pleasant to be around. I really can't connect any of that with someone who is selfish or callous.  If anything, he is simply introverted, shy, drawn to the mental freedom he gets from something he has mastery over, and not keen on over-emotion.  All admirable traits in my book and not at all like the true callousness, bordering on sociopathic behaviour, of some top athletes.

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kaiser 27 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Just watched it...

I found the 'Girlfriend & concerned filmcrew' stuff almost unbearable.  And that was most of the film...

But - I think he did too, & I liked that about him.

The chat with the guy who soloed The Rostrum 50 times was the most interesting and informative clip for me.

Ridge 27 May 2019
In reply to kaiser:

> The chat with the guy who soloed The Rostrum 50 times was the most interesting and informative clip for me.

Likewise. You saw Alex really open up and engage in something he was clearly passionate about.

As for the relationship with his girlfriend, he's clearly not empathic: "I saw people seem to hug a lot, so I thought I'd better learn how to do it". I'm no psycholgist but he seems to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum.

I actually wasn't over keen on the girlfriend based on the film, she'd be the last person I'd want wittering in my ear if I were trying to focus on something I could die doing if I wasn't concentrating.

5
Dogwatch 28 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> As for "selfish", I think that is a complete bullshit.  He's further from selfishness than his own girflriend, asking zero of anyone else, putting his whole existence (his very self) on the line to do something that is ground-breaking for humanity.  

Well, hold on.

By "for humanity", do you mean for the benefit of humanity? If so, that's nonsense. This is not a cure for cancer. It's basically a TV reality show hung off some impressive climbing.

Girl-friend aside, he's clearly asking a great deal of the film crew. It is very apparent they are emotionally conflicted by what they are being asked to do. Regarding ground-breaking, people have been soloing death-on-a-stick routes for at least a century. What's actually ground-breaking here is having it filmed for mass audience appeal with production values to match. Now why is he doing that when nothing indicates he finds that part of the process intrinsically appealing in the slightest? Clearly, the filming is for the fame and for the dollar. Now he's entitled to do it for the fame and the dollar but it raises questions that seem to me to be worth considering. Where does that leave him, what will he do for an encore? Where would it have left his financial backers if they had had a smashed corpse on their hands? Where does that leave us in getting our jollies watching it? I find all of those questions more than a little disturbing. Neither voyeurism nor the feeding of it seem admirable to me and yes I am now included in the cast of voyeurs.

I find myself wondering what the gender balance is of those commenting here. Women who watch it mostly seem settled on the view that this is a broken individual. You could ask how OK it is to put out a film that portrays someone in that light, someone who doesn't necessarily seem well equipped to process that portrayal.

The climbing is of course hugely impressive. The filming was beautiful. But the process of presenting the film for our entertainment strikes me as exploitative and repulsive.

3
what the hex 28 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

The Apollo landings were televised live and an equally risky venture was that exploitative too? Or is it natural to acquire an audience when attempting remarkable things? Or should we all be wrapped in cotton wool?

Robert Durran 28 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

I doubt Honnold's solos are as risky as plenty of lightweight high altitude super-alpine climbs. Honnold's solos are highly controlled with no unknown factors, almost devoid of objective danger.

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Pan Ron 28 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

> By "for humanity", do you mean for the benefit of humanity? If so, that's nonsense. This is not a cure for cancer. It's basically a TV reality show hung off some impressive climbing.

No, but it pushes the boundaries of what is possible.  It sets a new benchmark for what humans can set their minds to and achieve.  What he is done is utterly mind-boggling to nearly every human on the planet.  People striving to be their competitive best is what pushes human society. 

> Girl-friend aside, he's clearly asking a great deal of the film crew. It is very apparent they are emotionally conflicted by what they are being asked to do.

I don't think he's demanding anything of them though.  Just a "this is what I'm going to do, if you want to be part of it then by all means, come along and contribute"...and they do.  He is going anyway and is simply inviting people along for the ride - he is sovereign over his own life.

> Clearly, the filming is for the fame and for the dollar.

I don't begrudge anyone taking risks for a dollar.  He's going to climb it anyway.  Making money from it and packaging it so others get to share the experience is all good in my books.  Unlike others I don't think the risk was negligible - the very fact he grabbed a draw and backed out on the first attempt would indicate he had to be in exactly the right frame of mind to pull it off.

> Where does that leave him, what will he do for an encore?

Public speaking?  Which in turn earns money for his NGO.  That seems pretty selfless to me.  

> Where would it have left his financial backers if they had had a smashed corpse on their hands?

That is for them to work out.  They should be well aware of what they are potentially facing, just as a rope manufacturer is aware that their product may inspire people to undertake risky endeavours.

> I find myself wondering what the gender balance is of those commenting here. Women who watch it mostly seem settled on the view that this is a broken individual.

Which seems selfish in itself.  Honnold, by potentially having things in his life as important as a girlfriend who has only recently walked into his life, is broken?  Perhaps women watching it should consider the bigger picture rather than expecting him to, having relatively recently met a girl, put his entire life to one side for her.  Even his mother manages to be supportive of what he is doing.  If his girlfriend doesn't like it, she is welcome to leave - she isn't being held hostage.  Otherwise is smacks of people moving in to a house next door to a pub then, pissed off by the drinkers, demand it gets closed. 

> You could ask how OK it is to put out a film that portrays someone in that light, someone who doesn't necessarily seem well equipped to process that portrayal.

The film is being honest.  The reaction to that honesty is something I find more disturbing - it seems people are being incredibly judgemental, bordering on accusations that he is psychologically disturbed, when really he seems to be a personable, humorous, high functioning individual, achieving great things, and simply atypical.  He is being faulted for not conforming.

The reaction is in some ways not surprising.  People talk big these days about being accepting of humanity in all its hues.  Yet that seems to be within a very specif spectrum, and the demands to conform, to come out with set responses, and present a specific image seem as strong as ever.

> But the process of presenting the film for our entertainment strikes me as exploitative and repulsive.

Again, everyone is a willing participant.

1
peppermill 28 May 2019
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Otherwise known as 'Dating a Climber' ;p

Pefa 28 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> I don't think he's demanding anything of them though.  Just a "this is what I'm going to do, if you want to be part of it then by all means, come along and contribute"...and they do.  He is going anyway and is simply inviting people along for the ride - he is sovereign over his own life.

Did you not hear the film crew member say he hopes that nothing they do kills him? It is disingenuous to say the whole thing had no effect on them when you could clearly see that they didn't know if they would be filming the death of this young man who they were close to. Honnold wanted it filmed it's not as if they could be there or not as his wishes were for a film crew to be there. 

> Unlike others I don't think the risk was negligible - the very fact he grabbed a draw and backed out on the first attempt would indicate he had to be in exactly the right frame of mind to pull it off.

That gave me some hope that he wasn't being caught up in his own circus and would only attempt it when he was ready not anyone else. It was also noteworthy that when the climb was done the cameras at the base were no where near the start unlike when he backed off the first time. 

> Public speaking?  Which in turn earns money for his NGO.  That seems pretty selfless to me.  

How amazing is that to give a 3rd of his earnings to helping people? 

> Which seems selfish in itself.  Honnold, by potentially having things in his life as important as a girlfriend who has only recently walked into his life, is broken?  Perhaps women watching it should consider the bigger picture rather than expecting him to, having relatively recently met a girl, put his entire life to one side for her.  Even his mother manages to be supportive of what he is doing.  If his girlfriend doesn't like it, she is welcome to leave - she isn't being held hostage.  Otherwise is smacks of people moving in to a house next door to a pub then, pissed off by the drinkers, demand it gets closed. 

When she let him take a ground fall and he got injured I thought he was going to split with her tbh, after all his hard work but he didn't, she was giving him something he really needed at that time. 

> The film is being honest.  The reaction to that honesty is something I find more disturbing - it seems people are being incredibly judgemental, bordering on accusations that he is psychologically disturbed, when really he seems to be a personable, humorous, high functioning individual, achieving great things, and simply atypical.  He is being faulted for not conforming.

You can have psychological problems/unresolved issues and still be "a personable, humorous, high functioning individual," they aren't mutually exclusive. People see an individual who performs a death defying almost ridiculous feat that has never been done before in history and practically everyone would never dream of doing. So naturally they are going to look into what makes him so different, so willing to gamble his life on 100 different things that could go wrong from sneezing at the wrong time, getting cramp, injured etc on that climb and then it's party over. Fine if he is naturally just ultra focused, single minded and thinks of nothing else as you would expect but he showed signs from what he said about being scared of people as a youth, not mixing in fact that alone led him to soloing, but what led him to that? (Now it's no one's business, people's private lives, but he makes it our business by putting it out there) Withdrawing behaviour is a classic sign of a few different causes from mild autism to other matters I won't go into, coupled with his inability to answer if he was depressed and other factors he mentioned show someone brave enough to tell us his problems which I think would be wrong to ignore. 

I think his gf brought some well needed emotion into his life at a good time which started to make him seem a little more rounded as a person. Overall it was an incredible film, absolutely incredible and you almost feel as though you know him personally now, he gave away so much of himself even when the "armour" was up. 

Post edited at 22:36
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ena sharples 28 May 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Apart from the biggie of falling to your certain death if you so much as slip at any point. Apart from that, no objective danger worth mentioning.

1
Robert Durran 28 May 2019
In reply to ena sharples:

> Apart from the biggie of falling to your certain death if you so much as slip at any point. Apart from that, no objective danger worth mentioning.

But that is not an objective danger. It is a danger that, to his own satisfaction, he has, beyond reasonable doubt, eliminated by preparing thoroughly.

Anyway, thanks for replying to my post rather than just giving me a mystery dislike!

Post edited at 23:20
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ena sharples 28 May 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

Fair enough. If we accept the traditional distinction between subjective and objective i.e. between those factors either without or within your control.I think what i was trying to say was that although a shed load of prep can help, actually doing what Honnold did for real is not something you can actually prepare for in the sense that he went somewhere, both physically and mentally, truly unknown.

Post edited at 23:42
Pan Ron 29 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> Did you not hear the film crew member say he hopes that nothing they do kills him? It is disingenuous to say the whole thing had no effect on them

Of course it would have an effect on them.  But that is a burden they all balance and shouldn't be used as something to criticise him.  My sadness at his potential death is my issue alone and not his - its not my place to dictate the rights and wrongs of his choices because I may be emotionally impacted by it.  Otherwise it would become grounds for demanding every risk-taker, every racing car driver, every climber, every explorer stays at home and watches tele instead.   

> Honnold wanted it filmed it's not as if they could be there or not as his wishes were for a film crew to be there. 

That's ridiculous.  Of course they had a choice!  As it was, the boulder problem was filmed by a camera on a tripod.  He specifically states he doesn't want people watching him.  But clearly he recognises there is an interest in it.  

By your rationalisation, there would be something equally morally wrong in watching manned space-flight launches because they are risky, coffins returning from warzones should be hidden because they discomfort, and we need to be wrapped in cotton wool and insulated from the harsh realities of the real world.  In this case, no one is being forced to watch anything, everyone is there by their own volition, so I see nothing to criticise when it comes to the activities of consenting adults.

> How amazing is that to give a 3rd of his earnings to helping people? 

Sarcasm?  How much have you given?  Honnold has come from pretty modest and hardly auspicious beginnings. He could be excused for giving away nothing given the tenuous nature of his income.  That he has already started up a successful charity is nothing short of impressive.

> You can have psychological problems/unresolved issues and still be "a personable, humorous, high functioning individual," they aren't mutually exclusive.

Of course.  But the desire by a fair number of people to pathologise his personality is pretty unpleasant.  The very people who are usually all for "accepting people as they are" and embracing an ever greater range of personalities within what constitutes "normality" seem determined to pigeon-hole him into a diagnosis of mental abnormality. 

Why not accept that he is simply a very private individual (which based on his upbringing is hardly unsurprising), extremely focussed and extremely capable?  A hell of a lot of amateur psychology seems to be going on instead.  He may be mildly autistic.  But making that the takeaway point about his personality (based on pretty skant evidence) seems unfair.

> he was depressed and other factors he mentioned show someone brave enough to tell us his problems which I think would be wrong to ignore. 

Again, I think you are being played here.  He probably answered a hundred questions on that test.  Asked if you are depressed would probably give many people reason to pause - am I?  Is everything going well?  Have I just had an argument with someone?  Do I have unresolved family issues?  Am I sick of the attention I'm getting but due to sponsorship issues I can't say it?  Am I still sad about my father's death?  Does it bug me that people think I'm weird?  Am I frustrated or saddened by the fact that my girlfriend seems to I'm emotionally insufficent?  Am I bugged by the fact that she dropped me?  Does the destruction of the environment or the poverty of the people my charity serve hurt me?

He, like almost anyone else, has many grounds to stop and think when faced with that question.  The honesty of allowing cameras in and giving that response is refreshing.  I suspect however he might just want people to ignore it and would rather not have people poking around at every nuance in his emotional responses.

The camera crew of course milk that for all its worth, in the same way they milk the relationship with his girlfriend.  And unsurprisingly it has people jumping up to make all kinds of judgements about his character which come across incredibly uncharitably.

> I think his gf brought some well needed emotion into his life at a good time which started to make him seem a little more rounded as a person.

I find that kind of comment pretty patronising and not far removed from saying a woman doesn't amount to much unless she has a husband.  I don't think you or I should consider ourselves in a position to say what Honnald "needs" or make presumptions that he is lacking anything.    Lots of people out there don't believe in showing endless emotion or acting like they're on a daytime TV.  They aren't lacking anything because of that and claiming they are is pretty shoddy.

Post edited at 10:01
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Dogwatch 29 May 2019
In reply to what the hex:

> The Apollo landings were televised live and an equally risky venture was that exploitative too? Or is it natural to acquire an audience when attempting remarkable things? Or should we all be wrapped in cotton wool?

In the Apollo missions all reasonable steps were taken to minimise risk, whereas soloing intentionally raises the risk. So your analogy doesn't align with my unease with the film or my reaction to myself and others in choosing to watch it, which is the voyeuristic element in seeing someone take a high level of risk, apparently for the fame and the dollar. As far as the latter goes, not only by Honnold, which I can respect as a choice, but also by the producers of the film, which I find pretty repellent.

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Dogwatch 29 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> The reaction is in some ways not surprising.  People talk big these days about being accepting of humanity in all its hues.  Yet that seems to be within a very specif spectrum, and the demands to conform, to come out with set responses, and present a specific image seem as strong as ever.

You make an interesting point. Actually I think the world has become far more judgemental as to behaviour over recent decades. Increased tolerance has respected only identity, not behaviour.

> > But the process of presenting the film for our entertainment strikes me as exploitative and repulsive.

> Again, everyone is a willing participant.

Does that necessarily make it OK? It's easy to point at instances where participation in media events such as reality TV has damaged those involved in ways they were perhaps not equipped to anticipate. This film has strong elements of reality TV with some impressive climbing thrown in.

Pan Ron 29 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

> In the Apollo missions all reasonable steps were taken to minimise risk, whereas soloing intentionally raises the risk.

The space programme was, and still is, a hugely risky endeavour at the cusp of human ability and with a million things that can go wrong.  Free soloing by expert climbers appears to be safer, with no less efforts to minimise risk.

> So your analogy doesn't align with my unease with the film or my reaction to myself and others in choosing to watch it, which is the voyeuristic element in seeing someone take a high level of risk, apparently for the fame and the dollar.

I don't know how you come to that conclusion.  My impression is Honnold free-solos entirely independently of monetary reward and fame, has done so for a long time and gets great enjoyment from it.  He states as much and his history shows as much.  The film should make you uneasy by its nature.

Its entirely understandable that people want to watch the spectacle of it and that climbing laymen appreciate the aesthetic of an unroped ascent.  It is human to appreciate great endeavour and too witness other humans pushing their limits.  Everyone watching will know he survives.  I see nothing sinister in it whatsoever.

> As far as the latter goes, not only by Honnold, which I can respect as a choice, but also by the producers of the film, which I find pretty repellent.

I'm certain Honnold could chose not to climb it at any point and expect the producers make it entirely clear to him that there is no pressure to complete the climb.  All the pressure seems to be of his own volition.  This was quite literally his project and his desire.  The film crew are there to document it and are no more responsible for what he undertakes than a cameraman on Shackleton's voyage.

Pan Ron 29 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

> Does that necessarily make it OK?

In my view, yes.  Honnold exemplifies free-agency.  That is one of the things that makes him so interesting and refreshing - he's his own person, largely shrugs off the strictures of daily life, the expectations of others, and presents himself as he is with no affectations.  He lives his life with a freedom that few of us can dream of, from the solitary existence, the life in van, to being alone on the wall without even ropes putting everything on the line in that moment.

I found the signs that he was having to do things he didn't want, under the subtle emotional pressure of his girlfriend, to be quite sad and didn't actually enjoy the film anywhere near as much as his others as a result.  Him and Cedar Wright on the road together came across as much more enjoyable and relaxed.  This is something we would have celebrated not so long ago but nowadays appears to be worthy of criticism.  His crime apparently being to not show the right emotions.

He will likely stop free-soloing at some point, and probably soon.  Why not simply accept his own, candid, explanations for what he does now without feeling the need to judge him negatively?  He is doing what he enjoys.

It seems pretty cringeworthy that one of the key complaints against him coming out after this film has been one of self-centeredness, with the resulting claim that his mistreating his girlfriend.  

1
Jon Greengrass 29 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

I've not seen all the film, I chose to fast forward through all the footage of free soloing. From what I've read the footage is spectacular, whatever that means, but without it an extraordinary piece of film making remains. Not a film about climbing, but a film about making a film that leaves the makers more harrowed than the protagonist.

1
Dogwatch 29 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

>  Why not simply accept his own, candid, explanations for what he does now without feeling the need to judge him negatively? 

I'm baffled why you think I'm judging him at all. I think I've made it clear that I am not.

I think you are entirely mistaken in believing Honnold led or controlled the film making process. This isn't a home movie. It was an 18 month project led by well-known documentary directors with involvement from National Geographic. Big business.

Dogwatch 29 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> The space programme was, and still is, a hugely risky endeavour at the cusp of human ability and with a million things that can go wrong.  Free soloing by expert climbers appears to be safer, with no less efforts to minimise risk.

On a protectable climb such as this, it's pretty easy to reduce the risk of a solo. Use a rope. The comparison with the space programme is specious.

Pan Ron 29 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

Perhaps you aren't, but the thread in general and a surprising amount of social media commentary about the film seems to critique his personality in a negative manner - things that hadn't even been on the radar until this film was made.  Nearly all of it seems to revolve around his "treatment" of his girlfriend which, whether intended or not, comes across as incredibly judgemental and unfair commentary.

While there was no doubt big money behind the film, I'm sure the film-makers would have been clear throughout that he could back out at any stage and no undue pressure should be exerted.  The reputational risks for the likes of Nat Geo, had he fallen, and fingers almost inevitably been pointed, would have been huge.  I expect there are hours of unused footage which shows the degree to which this was very much his own undertaking and the discomfort of those taking part.  They seemed to make that point in the film itself and I'm sure enough amazing footage exists that even if he had backed out of the climb for good, it would still have made interesting viewing.  Honnold's other films are as much about celebrating failure and suffering as they are all feel-good stories so I doubt he'd be fussed.  Its not as if anyone would begrudge him for deciding not to go ahead with it and just the training and prep is fascinating enough.

Pan Ron 29 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

> On a protectable climb such as this, it's pretty easy to reduce the risk of a solo. Use a rope. The comparison with the space programme is specious.

Roped climbing is a different fish though.  It goes from being extreme risk to almost guaranteed safety.  Granted, it still looks impressive visually.  But being able to climb a face without any protection is ground-breaking.  As an example of the power of mental compartmentalisation, of mind-over-matter, as a peace-time endeavours go it is second to none. 

Blue Straggler 29 May 2019
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> I've not seen all the film, I chose to fast forward through all the footage of free soloing. From what I've read the footage is spectacular, whatever that means, but without it an extraordinary piece of film making remains. Not a film about climbing, but a film about making a film that leaves the makers more harrowed than the protagonist.

I saw it at the cinema, so no fast-forwarding, but overall I agree with the second half of your post. I actually didn't engage with the climbing footage to anything like the extent that almost all other viewers have (everyone on here talking about clenched fists, teeth, buttocks, sweaty palms etc "despite knowing the outcome"; I didn't feel any of that. Maybe I am wired like Alex ) but the whole narrative around it was fascinating - as you say, a film about making the film. 
(and if you do like that kind of thing, watch Les Blank's "Burden of Dreams" on set documentary of the making of Fitzcarraldo!)

Jon Greengrass 29 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

> In the Apollo missions all reasonable steps were taken to minimise risk

they didn't rope up to descend the ladder?

deepsoup 29 May 2019
In reply to Pefa:

> When she let him take a ground fall and he got injured I thought he was going to split with her tbh

You've touched on one thing that really quite annoyed me about the film - that accident was a team effort.  She's racked with guilt that she dropped him and there's never the merest hint of a challenge to the narrative that it was entirely her fault.

She lowered him off the end of the rope though, ie: the rope was not long enough to lower off that route and it didn't have a knot in the end.  Either one of them could have tied a knot in the end and/or made sure the rope was suitable before he left the ground.

Sure, there's a chance that a super-alert belayer might have caught it in time, but once he'd set off that accident was more or less inevitable - so how was it any more Sanni's fault than his own?  Particularly bearing in mind he is by far the more experienced climber of the two of them.

Iamgregp 29 May 2019
In reply to elsewhere:

Couple of points worth noting here...

On the subject of whether he did the solo for money/fame/whatever he said that Actually Jimmy and Chai had already got the go ahead and funding from Nat Geo before he decided to do the solo (it was just going to be a general Honnold film). 

After the film was green lit he then decided to go for it.  Of course it made it a bigger and better film and you could argue it made his mind up that he was going to do it as the film was agreed, but personally I don't think that figured much for Alex.  He doesn't seem to care much for fame, or require much money to be happy.  Who can ever know though?

Secondly in the Q+A after the premiere he said no more big free solos, he'd done with this kind of challenge now.  Whether he sticks by his word we'll see, but he seemed to have made his mind up that this was as far as he wanted to push it.

Dave Garnett 29 May 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Whether he sticks by his word we'll see, but he seemed to have made his mind up that this was as far as he wanted to push it.

Well, that's excellent news.  I can't see that pushing it much further than soloing Freerider is likely to end well...

In reply to elsewhere:

I usually sh*t myself watching people soloing, but I didn’t find it too bad, apart from near the end of the route, the exposed moves around the arete. Wild, palm-sweatingly wild! 

Good film. Wanted to hate it. Didn’t.

However I did prefer The Dawn wall.

Pefa 30 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

> Of course it would have an effect on them.  But that is a burden they all balance and shouldn't be used as something to criticise him.  My sadness at his potential death is my issue alone and not his - its not my place to dictate the rights and wrongs of his choices because I may be emotionally impacted by it.  Otherwise it would become grounds for demanding every risk-taker, every racing car driver, every climber, every explorer stays at home and watches tele instead.   

But when someone said it would have a strong effect on the film crew you said it would place no demand on them, that is what I replied to, it clearly had a big "demand" on them. Your analogies are not good ones as you don't see these incidents in the same way you would if he fell from 3000ft.

> That's ridiculous.  Of course they had a choice!  As it was, the boulder problem was filmed by a camera on a tripod.  He specifically states he doesn't want people watching him.  But clearly he recognises there is an interest in it.  

I didn't say they didn't have a choice so why are you saying I did? what I did say is that someone had to film it as he did want the attempt filmed. Honnold had worked and climbed with the film maker for 10 years. 

> By your rationalisation, there would be something equally morally wrong in watching manned space-flight launches because they are risky, coffins returning from warzones should be hidden because they discomfort, and we need to be wrapped in cotton wool and insulated from the harsh realities of the real world.  In this case, no one is being forced to watch anything, everyone is there by their own volition, so I see nothing to criticise when it comes to the activities of consenting adults.

Where did I say it should not be filmed? Or any death situations should not be filmed? I didn't,so why say I do? You have gone off on one because I rightfully corrected you with respect to it having an effect on the film crew. 

> Sarcasm?  How much have you given?  Honnold has come from pretty modest and hardly auspicious beginnings. He could be excused for giving away nothing given the tenuous nature of his income.  That he has already started up a successful charity is nothing short of impressive.

Uh, How on earth could you interpret my comment as sarcasm? I am full of admiration for someone who would do that as anyone would be. Your interpretation is curious. 

> Of course.  But the desire by a fair number of people to pathologise his personality is pretty unpleasant.  The very people who are usually all for "accepting people as they are" and embracing an ever greater range of personalities within what constitutes "normality" seem determined to pigeon-hole him into a diagnosis of mental abnormality. 

Why do you think he would not be "accepted" by people even if he does have mild autism or unresolved issues? It doesn't make you abnormal as most people have some matters they have needed to deal with that have affected them in adulthood and the choices they make. 

> Why not accept that he is simply a very private individual (which based on his upbringing is hardly unsurprising), extremely focussed and extremely capable?  A hell of a lot of amateur psychology seems to be going on instead.  He may be mildly autistic.  But making that the takeaway point about his personality (based on pretty skant evidence) seems unfair.

A private individual? one who has put his personality out there for the public to see which isn't really what you would do if you were truly a private person. You say there's "A hell of a lot of amateur psychology seems to be going on", then you say he might be "mildly autistic". So it's OK for you to see this and not others? That's hypocritical. Naturally people wonder why someone would risk their life when the chances of failing are so high which makes us wonder why he would do what we would never do and even Caldwell stated he would never do El Cap without a rope. He didn't have to say that he had never had a hug in his entire childhood or show his dad as having the same obsession for travelling as Alex does for climbing or how nothing he could do was ever good enough for his mum, but he did. He is the one putting his intimate personal history out there so it would be be wrong to ignore what he has chosen to show us and rather than see him as being an incredibly brave, super fit athlete, the best rock climber in the world and a living legend we can also see the ordinary more human side of him to. 

> Again, I think you are being played here.  He probably answered a hundred questions on that test.  Asked if you are depressed would probably give many people reason to pause - am I?  Is everything going well?  Have I just had an argument with someone?  Do I have unresolved family issues?  Am I sick of the attention I'm getting but due to sponsorship issues I can't say it?  Am I still sad about my father's death?  Does it bug me that people think I'm weird?  Am I frustrated or saddened by the fact that my girlfriend seems to I'm emotionally insufficent?  Am I bugged by the fact that she dropped me?  Does the destruction of the environment or the poverty of the people my charity serve hurt me?

Coupled with all his indications and stating that "A bottomless pit of self-loathing is a motivation in some soloing", after talking about never being good enough for his mum it would take a big effort not to see all the clear messages he is showing us here. 

> He, like almost anyone else, has many grounds to stop and think when faced with that question.  The honesty of allowing cameras in and giving that response is refreshing.  I suspect however he might just want people to ignore it and would rather not have people poking around at every nuance in his emotional responses.

His honesty is telling what he wants to communicate. 

> The camera crew of course milk that for all its worth, in the same way they milk the relationship with his girlfriend.  And unsurprisingly it has people jumping up to make all kinds of judgements about his character which come across incredibly uncharitably.

Again its what he wants us to see. 

> I find that kind of comment pretty patronising and not far removed from saying a woman doesn't amount to much unless she has a husband.  I don't think you or I should consider ourselves in a position to say what Honnald "needs" or make presumptions that he is lacking anything.    Lots of people out there don't believe in showing endless emotion or acting like they're on a daytime TV.  They aren't lacking anything because of that and claiming they are is pretty shoddy.

Let me just show my comment that you are replying to there - 

" I think his gf brought some well needed emotion into his life at a good time which started to make him seem a little more rounded as a person." 

How in any stretch of the imagination can that mean women are nothing without a man?  And why on earth would I say that? It is actually pretty unhealthy if you don't express your emotions Ron that is not to say you should be over the top or gush endlessly, there is a healthy in-between you know? You can clearly see him opening up more when he is with her and being a bit more tender and showing a emotional side that isn't just a guy with his pals, this rounds the whole film off for me personally. 

Post edited at 00:50
3
DubyaJamesDubya 30 May 2019
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> I've not seen all the film, I chose to fast forward through all the footage of free soloing. From what I've read the footage is spectacular, whatever that means, but without it an extraordinary piece of film making remains. Not a film about climbing, but a film about making a film that leaves the makers more harrowed than the protagonist.

Are you a climber? Why would you FF through the climbing scenes?

Dogwatch 30 May 2019
In reply to Pan Ron:

>  But being able to climb a face without any protection is ground-breaking.  

No it's not ground-breaking, people have been soloing big and difficult faces for a long, long time. This was harder and longer by all means but that's an incremental change on what's been done before, not "ground-breaking".

2
DubyaJamesDubya 30 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

> >  But being able to climb a face without any protection is ground-breaking.  

> No it's not ground-breaking, people have been soloing big and difficult faces for a long, long time. This was harder and longer by all means but that's an incremental change on what's been done before, not "ground-breaking".

Given that it is an extension of the big solos he has done before what is your issue with this ascent?

Dogwatch 30 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Given that it is an extension of the big solos he has done before what is your issue with this ascent?

Nothing at all. It is the film we are discussing.

Dave Garnett 30 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

> not "ground-breaking".

No, it's not generally the ground that breaks.

Jon Greengrass 30 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Yes I am a climber, I FF the free soloing scenes because I didn't want to watch them in my opinion filming such activities is ghoulish where the protagonist is not doing the solo purely for the cameras.

DubyaJamesDubya 30 May 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

The other solos were also filmed (seen them on youtube) why is this worse? (or is it?)

Pefa 30 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> The other solos were also filmed (seen them on youtube) why is this worse? (or is it?)

Every other solo climber has said its too dangerous and not done it and Honnold did to for years. 

Iamgregp 30 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

No they weren't - when he did the other big free solos (Half Dome, El Sendero Luminoso, etc) he did them first, alone, without telling anyone that he was going to do them (he actually mentions that in the film).  They then went back and he recreated certain parts of the routes for the film by soloing them again, then getting back into a harness when he finished the pitch or got to the next ledge or whatever - he didn't solo the routes from beggining to end on film. 

EDIT: Actually he might have done for Sendero?  Not the other Yosemite solos...

Post edited at 16:32
DubyaJamesDubya 31 May 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

So the problem people have with this climb is based more on their being able to see it and the belief that doing so gives them some sort of ownership of the event.

Iamgregp 31 May 2019
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I haven't a clue to be honest, I was just telling you how they filmed the stuff you see on YouTube :shrugs:


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