Alex Honnold managed to get in not one, but two REEL ROCK 10 films this year—A Line Across the Sky and Showdown at Horseshoe Hell.
Rock and Ice caught up with Honnold for a phone call to hear his thoughts on this year’s REEL ROCK.
Q&A with Alex Honnold
Are you back in California?
Yeah. I’m actually riding a bike right now, but I can make it work.
You get to star in two REEL ROCK films this year, how does that feel?
Yeah, it’s just one of those things, not intentional, you know? But kinda cool.
What do you think of the films?
I thought that they were good—it was like a little comedy show. I don’t know, I guess my experience is different than the average viewer because I’m too close to it, you know what I mean? It’s harder for me to get lost in the adventure of the films since I already lived it.
For me, the best part is seeing how the audience reacts—what parts they laugh at.
Do you have a favorite?
I hate to say my own film, but I think Line Across the Sky was definitely the most epic.
But I haven’t seen the highball bouldering one yet—they didn’t show it at the sneak peek. I think I would be most inspired by that one, since that highball shit scares me and those guys are climbing harder than I ever could. And it’s different from what I usually do, you know?
At the sneak preview in SLC, you said that after you returned from Patagonia, you felt like you didn’t get much footage of the Fitz Traverse for A Line Across the Sky.
Yeah, Tommy Caldwell and I got about 20 minutes of footage on the actual traverse. We were simul-climbing the whole time and you can’t really film, but we went back up after and climbed some of the easier sections with a guy filming, and another getting long shots. The film uses a lot of those shots.
It’s pretty remarkable that they were able to make a 40-minute film out of 20 minutes of footage.
Which was more miserable: 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell or the Fitz Traverse?
[Laughs] That’s a good question, I don’t know. I think Horseshoe Hell was more mentally miserable, since you didn’t have to be doing it and could always give up and go take a nap.
But the Fitz Traverse was much more committing, like once you’re up there, you got to finish. But we could also just stop and camp anywhere. Like on the last day, we had one of the easiest 5.9 pitches left, but we decided to stop and camp for the night since we were so tired. We were mostly worried about the descent—rappelling and crossing glaciers in the dark and when we were that tired.
We called the Fitz Traverse an ‘extreme camping trip’ since it was kind of like backpacking—we were just out for an adventure.
Do you think you’ll stick with alpine climbing?
Well I went back down [to Patagonia] the year after the Fitz Traverse, and I’ve done some other stuff since. I’ll never be a true alpinist but I’m good for at least one alpine trip a year.
Overall, what’s your favorite part about REEL ROCK?
I love how it’s such a community event and brings out the whole climbing community. I remember going to the first REEL ROCK and just being really stoked to see the films. It’s grown so much since then and now it’s really huge. And the whole production and craft of the films looks so much better now than it did years ago—they’re so good.