Some people in the world seem built to do extraordinary things, and Alex Honnold fits that bill. The 37-year-old has broken record after record in the climbing world and has been recognized as one of the world’s best at the sport. And when it comes to free solo climbing, there is no one like him. Now, Honnold just made history again with his latest feat.
Most people — at least people outside of the climbing world — were first introduced to Alex in his Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo. The documentary followed Alex as he scaled El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without any assistance, the first successful attempt to do so. He made waves again when he climbed the Weiassipu tepui in Guyana on Explorer: The Last Tepui, breaking another record as the first person known to scale that remote rock face, to help a biologist collect information about previously undiscovered frogs.
National Geographic for Disney+ has now chronicled another incredible milestone in an upcoming original series from National Geographic entitled On the Edge With Alex Honnold (WT). The original series follows Alex as he makes the first-known ascent of Ingmikortilaq, one of Earth’s tallest unclimbed natural monoliths, all in the name of science.
The 3-million-year-old granite and gneiss cliff is a remote peninsula jutting into a fjord on Greenland’s eastern coast. The rock rises 3,750 feet out of the water, and no known person has scaled the rocks to reach the top.
Honnold’s climb began at the base of the rock from a dinghy because the rock jets right out of the water. He and climber Hazel Findlay slept in sleeping bags clipped to the rock as they progressed up the wall in cold and icy weather — free climb style.
After climbing for five days, on Aug. 16, the two reached the 3,750-foot-tall summit, approximately 750 feet higher than El Capitan, per a press release.
The Ingmikortilaq “ranks among the tallest big walls ever climbed,” according to a press release celebrating Alex reaching the summit, “and heretofore stood as perhaps one of the biggest unclimbed rock faces in the world.”
Of course, Alex would climb something like this for fun. Still, his decision to explore Ingmikortilaq was at least partly motivated by the need to study more about the climate crisis. “The scientific community desperately needs scientific data from remote locations like Ingmikortilaq,” according to the release.
On this expedition, Alex was also joined by Dr. Heïdi Sevestre, a glaciologist working with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, and Adam Mike Kjeldsen, a Greenlandic guide, to complete what has been called the “first true crossing of the critical Renland ice cap from the Pool Wall.” And with Alex’s help, the research team got vital information and crucial insights into how polar ice melts.
Lucky for us, there was a camera crew on hand to capture it all. The expedition was filmed for an upcoming original series from National Geographic entitled On the Edge With Alex Honnold (WT).
The Disney+ Original Series from National Geographic On the Edge With Alex Honnold (WT) will stream soon on Disney+. Learn more about this breaking news at NatGeo.com.