What if He Falls? The Terrifying Reality Behind Filming “Free Solo” | Op-Docs

What if He Falls? The Terrifying Reality Behind Filming “Free Solo” | Op-Docs

In 2017, when Alex Honnold made his stunning free-solo ascent of Yosemite’s El Capitan, he was taking an unimaginable risk: nearly three thousand feet of climbing without any ropes or safety equipment. But was the climb made even riskier by the filmmakers who accompanied him?

In “What if He Falls?” filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin take us inside the process of documenting Honnold’s quest for climbing glory — and the ethical calculus of filming a friend who could, with the slip of a finger, plummet to his death.

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50 Comments

  1. Petar Gačić on November 25, 2021 at 9:45 am

    I spent half my life on a jungle gym so i reckon i could do that ez

  2. ibrahim abdulsamad on November 25, 2021 at 9:45 am

    I can’t even imagine standing at the top without feeling dizzy

  3. Aidan on November 25, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Gotta be on the look for Vugs of Smokey Quartz while your climbing those granite cliffs

  4. TheDalaiDrama on November 25, 2021 at 9:48 am

    I rewatch Free Solo about once every 6months just to be reminded of how absolutely insane this was.

  5. Young Black King 👑 on November 25, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Cool climb that takes a lot of fearlessness, and determination. Doing this for no reason is stupid though, but whatever floats his boat. Also I never unstood how these people who produce documentary’s can say with such certainty that nobody else has ever accomplished a feat how do they know?!!

  6. Erica Kate on November 25, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Now they need to make another film to feature the making of Free Solo

  7. Mike Hancho on November 25, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Pshh not impressed. I do this in Assassin’s Creed almost daily!

  8. Dbchillin on November 25, 2021 at 9:52 am

    The mindset of a conqueror

  9. :D on November 25, 2021 at 9:55 am

    This is how an ant feels after climbing a school bus

  10. Amy G on November 25, 2021 at 9:57 am

    In the Arnold arboretum in Jamaica Plain, I once free climed a 70 ft ledge and got stuck about 12 feet from the top. I couldn’t climb down so I climbed the remaining 12 ft of sheer wall. . When I got to the top I knew I had narrowly escaped death. As soon as I got to the top , I couldn’t run faster to get away from the edge as it was so traumatic. I felt euphoric for a day.

  11. Rhys on November 25, 2021 at 9:57 am

    There is such a thing as overdoing “narrator voice”

  12. Lee on November 25, 2021 at 9:58 am

    What a remarkable person, since watching Alex for the first time I’ve became addicted and I listen or watch anything about him. When I see him sitting on the ledge 2.55 I can’t help to think there’s really something sad going on.

  13. Eenzame Vriend on November 25, 2021 at 9:58 am

    He inspires me to overcome my fears and I’m grateful he exists and survived this!

  14. bernard mauge on November 25, 2021 at 9:59 am

    I had to rope myself on my recliner. I nearly lost my balance reaching for the Nachos.

  15. Daniel Parker Smith on November 25, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Nope! The only thing I’m free soloing is climbing into my bed.

  16. drWIki on November 25, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Markiplier

  17. s10blazzing on November 25, 2021 at 10:03 am

    I had sweaty palms watching this video

  18. Sarah D on November 25, 2021 at 10:07 am

    How is this different from what Lynn Hill did 20 years ago?

  19. Ria on November 25, 2021 at 10:09 am

    It doesn’t matter how many times I hear this man’s story it honestly is awe inspiring. There are certain people that come and go from the world that are really special…he is one of them.

  20. JMG ENTERPRISES on November 25, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Pretty silly. The reward is not worth the risk. Losing your life just to say you climbed a mountain without safety equipment is just lame in my opinion. But to each their own. It’s his life and he can do with it what he wants.

  21. Televised Records on November 25, 2021 at 10:12 am

    5:25 🧗🏻

  22. Balvindesigns on November 25, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Why though?

  23. tencolagy9GTG on November 25, 2021 at 10:15 am

    this is a piece of cake easy i’m a pro in climbing and i’m climbing with ropes

  24. Brian Y on November 25, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Does anyone else find it nerve-racking just watching this video?

  25. Marco Fedeli on November 25, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Any time a professional athlete complains for the burden of work or whatever please make them watch this video

  26. ibrahim abdulsamad on November 25, 2021 at 10:17 am

    I am having anxiety watching the climb

  27. Zachary Matthew on November 25, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Lmao 90% of this video was them talking about how they all had anxiety trying to film him. “All of them”

  28. Osama Bon Jovi on November 25, 2021 at 10:19 am

    dont you mean bouldering or am I on drugs

  29. Newbroken on November 25, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Humans is not made for climbing… They are made to be on the ground!

  30. ou8124me also on November 25, 2021 at 10:20 am

    The Ultimate hold my beer guy!
    Alex is the greatest athlete in human history!
    In control of every molecule in his being!

  31. james jeans on November 25, 2021 at 10:21 am

    absolutely amazing, out of this reality, out of this world. He is a Super Man, he is Super Man.

  32. MadGames on November 25, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Jimmy Chin one of the dirrectors has also been in another climbing documentry called Meru, were it took him twelve days with two other climbers to climb Shark Fin’s Peak on Meru Peak, and they were the first ones to ever do so

  33. Bryton Duropan on November 25, 2021 at 10:22 am

    she called it one of the most impressive feats in climbing history. this is one of the most impressive feats in human history.

  34. A. M. M on November 25, 2021 at 10:24 am

    A different kind of human

  35. Manuj Madan on November 25, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Why do this though

  36. Jacobe Parsels on November 25, 2021 at 10:26 am

    All of his doors probably have finger tip imprints from this guy’s grip strength

  37. Crow on November 25, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Didnt know Nathan Drake changed his name and got a makeover.

  38. Balvindesigns on November 25, 2021 at 10:27 am

    🤣

  39. Jose Fernandez on November 25, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Humans can do very incredible things but risking my life for fun I will never do it life is a gift from GOD and we need to respect it.

  40. Christopher Kimber on November 25, 2021 at 10:30 am

    How does this guy do this with all that weight he’s holding up? You’d think balls of steel and titanium would be heavy as…….well….you know.

  41. My Phone on November 25, 2021 at 10:33 am

    Omg.😱😱👍👍

  42. charls saavedra on November 25, 2021 at 10:33 am

    My palms are sweaty knees week arms are heavy thres vomit on my sweater already

  43. Cruz Olivarez on November 25, 2021 at 10:34 am

    He’s not human

  44. Heidi on November 25, 2021 at 10:35 am

    He had a brain scan. He doesn’t process fear properly. Anyone who thinks what he’s doing is ‘amazing’ and leaves praising comments is very misguided. You may as well go and hand a syringe to a drug addict. He could complete these climbs with a rope, that would be far more admirable in my opinion.

  45. GameVids NStuff on November 25, 2021 at 10:36 am

    What would happen if he needed to sneeze?! Or if a bee flew into his nostril.

  46. AIELEMENT on November 25, 2021 at 10:36 am

    This is one of the craziest things anyone has ever done! 🤯

  47. Unlucky Leprechaun on November 25, 2021 at 10:38 am

    dude is rock climbing like he was playing minecraft hardcore

  48. Televised Records on November 25, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Imagine climbing down ?

  49. Tony Elberg on November 25, 2021 at 10:42 am

    He bloody nuts but I take my hat of to him

  50. Chaq on November 25, 2021 at 10:42 am

    sweaty hands (still)

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