Do you remember losing your breath and holding onto your couch for dear life as you watched Free Solo a few years ago? I know I do, because, Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan without a rope was single-handedly one of the scariest things I've ever watched. However, his new adventure in the National Geographic series Arctic Ascent with Alex Honnold takes things to another level. And after watching the trailer, my heart is already pounding harder than it was during the 2019 Oscar-winning documentary.
What Is Arctic Ascent With Alex Honnold About?
The climber will be attempting to summit Ingmikortilaq, "a virgin arctic seacliff rising out of the frozen wilderness, nearly 1,000 feet higher than El Capitan," the press release for the series stated. That alone is terrifying. El Cap is no small feat, and while he'll have ropes this time, Honnold and a team of climbers and scientists will be taking on this terrain that is harder to climb, and they'll be in more extreme elements.
On top of all that, the mission behind Arctic Ascent has a lot more meaning behind it. Free Solo was a physical challenge. This project is not only that, but an "opportunity to witness firsthand the impact of climate change." So, the research that comes from this series could also be groundbreaking, adding to the stakes.
Why It Looks Scarier Than Free Solo
When I watched Free Solo, which is one of the best documentaries ever might I add, I immediately understood that Alex Honnold is basically fearless. What would terrify most, didn’t scare him nearly as much – that’s why he was able to climb El Cap without a rope. Then, the trailer for Arctic Ascent came out, and the beloved climber said:
It looked like the scariest wall I’d ever seen.
That alone was enough to scare the living daylights out of me. If he’s openly admitting to how terrifying this climb is, you know it’s going to be incredibly dangerous and life-threatening. On top of all that, one of his team members said where the wall is in Greenland is one of “the most dangerous environments on Earth.”
Finishing off all of this, Ingmikortilaq has never been climbed. They’ll be in a remote area of the world, doing something totally unprecedented. That means resources will be sparse, and there’s no history to study how to take on the climb. Everything they do will have never been done before. Talk about heart-pounding.
Overall, this trip has a lot riding on it. It looks both physically and mentally a lot more challenging than Free Solo, which means I, once again, will be hanging onto my couch for dear life on February 4 as I watch the three-part miniseries with a Disney+ subscription or Hulu subscription.