CREDIT: Jimmy Chin/National Geographic

I saw Free Solo on a December night, yet the sight of Alex Honnold scaling thousands of feet of bare rock without any supports was enough for my palms to leave a big wet spot on my shirt. Of course, I was inside and simmering in room temperature as opposed to the seasonal cool, but even so, I don’t usually get sweat saturation while merely sitting down this time of year. Anyway, if you haven’t heard about Free Solo, it’s about this guy who climbs massive rock formations without any protective equipment or partners, which has, according to him, low risk but high consequences. That is to say, the risk is low because he’s among the best in the world, but the consequences are high because one mistake means almost certain violent death. Watching this documentary is sure to make many wonder about the ethics of simply bearing witness to a fundamentally dangerous endeavor. But if there weren’t a film being made about him, Honnold would surely be scaling the highest heights anyway. Might as well record it to capture the triumph or to help pick up the pieces if something goes wrong.

I give Free Solo 3000 Feet out of 4000 Climbing Notes.