On January 15, the American climber Alex Honnold free-soloed the 1,500-foot El Sendero Luminoso in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. At a rating of 5.12d, it is likely the hardest, most sustained route ever climbed without a rope.
Honnold and a partner meticulously cleaned the route before climbing; one mistake or loose rock would equal death. Then, Honnold stepped up and sent a face that would stymie many roped climbers. He did it in just three hours.
A Camp 4 Collective crew was there to film it, and in this video, sponsored by The North Face, you get stomach-churning cinematography as well as some telling narrative.
“It’s kind of weird helping your friend do something that you know could potentially lead to his death,” said Cedar Wright, Honnold’s cameraman and climbing partner. “All it takes is you grab one small hold, it pops off, and you fall to your death.”
No holds popped off. Honnold lived. And be he a lunatic or a hero, the young climber now enters the history books accomplishing one of the most incredible feats in recent years. —Sean McCoy