The Atlantic

Free Solo Is Not a Life Lesson

Alex Honnold’s historic climb is too extraordinary to become a story of motivational-poster determination.
Source: Ted Soqui / Getty

, the Academy Award–winning documentary about Alex Honnold’s quest to climb the 3,000-foot face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, has transformed a well-known rock climber into a global hero. El Capitan isn’t difficult for an experienced climber, but Honnold scaled its granite face without ropes or harnesses—an unprecedented, extraordinary feat. The ascent required

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