Free Solo

I wanted to signal boost the award-winning documentary Free Solo from last year, which shows the process Alex Honnold went through to climb El Capitan…with no ropes.


It’s also a perfect analogy for the creative process we all find ourselves on.

We all have our own El Capitan we’re trying to summit. The process rarely looks like a straight line. We’d find that to be boring anyway if it were.

What creative mountain are you climbing right now?

Like Honnold, who at one point has a choice to make between two different but equally difficult routes, we often find ourselves feeling stuck, unsure. What choice do you make at that moment? How does it feel when there isn’t a clear path laid out in front of you?

I mean…this guy is a bit insane, right?

Alex chose a path that was uncertain. He had to practice numerous times WITH the safety of the rope to make sure he could do it safely without.

He had a number of friends and mentors there, companions on the path, to cheer him on, act as a sounding board, help him through it.

Who are your companions on the path?

At one point he attempts the Free Solo without telling anyone. He got up early and started. So much of our work happens that way. In the dark, unknown, with no fanfare or support. Those moments define us. How much work are you doing that’s just for you? The work that has to be done that isn’t glamorous or inspiring?

Could that be the work that will one day set you apart?

We also resonate with his drive, his desire, his passion. Why would anyone want to Free Solo El Capitan? I don’t know, but it’s adjacent to our desire to write a book, take a daring photo, make a movie, or sing a song for an audience who has never heard it.

The only way to climb that mountain is one – often perilous – step at a time. You will fall. You will stumble. But if you keep going despite the setbacks, you will get there.

What are your thoughts? DO you agree? What other comparisons to our creative journey did you see in this film? Please share in the comments!

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