When Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell are involved, you know that you’re in for a good time. Rock climbing’s most iconic duo have wrapped up their latest adventure, which involved 2,300 miles of biking from Colorado to British Columbia, a sailing trip to Alaska, and finally, a traverse of the famous Devils Thumb skyline.
Details remain scarce, with Caldwell posting only a quick summation of the trip on social media Tuesday. He and Honnold were accompanied by a film team from National Geographic TV, which will air a documentary of their latest hijinks. There’s no release date just yet, but it’s likely the special will eventually be available for streaming on Disney+.
In recent years, climbing’s favorite odd couple has pulled off epic accomplishments in Patagonia and Rocky Mountain National Park. This time around, they seem to be using their climbing fame to shine a spotlight on the environment.
“On a personal level, this has been an incredible journey of friendship and elective hardship. But in a broader sense, it’s been about finding our role in protecting nature and becoming better stewards of our planet,” Caldwell wrote on Instagram. “I believe that combining deep personal stories with environmental awareness is a formula that will move people to care about the places and do the work to protect them.”
Climbing Devils Thumb
Regarding technical difficulty, a traverse of Alaska’s Devils Thumb skyline was likely a walk in the park for Honnold and Caldwell. But it’s unclear if they followed the same route as Colin Haley and Mikey Schaefer, who completed the Diablo Traverse in 2011, rating it 5.10 A2.
“This was a fantastic climb in a beautiful area,” Haley wrote for The American Alpine Club at the time. “It is higher in quality than difficulty and is certainly a traverse that I’d recommend to others.”
Regardless, Devil’s Thumb is steeped in climbing history. It’s been summited just 50 times since the first ascent by iconic dirtbag Fred Beckey in 1946, according to Alaska Public Media. In 1978, the mountain was featured in an essay by Jon Krakauer, the outdoorsy raconteur who would later write “Into Thin Air” and “Into The Wild.”
“My life in Boulder was degenerating into drudgery, affectlessness, and chaos for want of a meaningful focus,” Krakauer wrote of his solo attempt of the mountain’s north face in an essay for The American Alpine Club. “The intensity, the concrete and tangible problems and rewards of a serious alpine climb would provide an immediate spirit-saving focus, even if only a very transient one. Or so I theorized.”
So, how did it go for Honnold and Caldwell? We’ll likely have to wait around for their National Geographic documentary to find out. But given their track record of compelling films and buddy-comedy chemistry, any movie with these two is unlikely to disappoint.