Watch Free Solo Climber Alex Honnold Scale El Capitan Again — at a Record Pace — in New Doc Clip
There’s no record Alex Honnold is afraid of facing down.
The famed professional adventure climber — whose ascent of the 3,000 ft. El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park without a rope was highlighted in documentary Free Solo — is a film star, once again.
This time, Honnold returned to El Capitan to climb the nose and regain the speed record. The climb was documented in the new movie The Nose Speed Record, which is part of the Reel Rock 14 Film Tour.
In the film, Honnold is joined by climber Tommy Caldwell to establish a new speed mark — and PEOPLE has an exclusive clip from the documentary.
“There aren’t that many potentional partners out there for speed climbing the nose, there just aren’t that many people who can physically climb 3,000 ft. really fast and to me the most obvious choice is Tommy Caldwell,” Honnold says in the clip, before Caldwell admits that he’s “never aspired” to speed climb.
In the climb, Caldwell falls at one point — but was still “reasonably safe,” he later assures.
Filming with the pair took place in May and early June 2018, with the doc’s team shooting on location in Yosemite for about six weeks, executive producer Zachary Barr tells PEOPLE.
“It’s a special project to me because the premise is just so simple,” Barr says. “As a sport, climbing is usually difficult to understand. The techniques, terms and rules have been developed over the years by climbers themselves — there’s no official rulebook or overseeing organization. There are many insider-y terms, and customs and principals specific to the sport that require a lot of explanation.”
That, he says, “can be a challenge in filmmaking.” Still, Caldwell and Honnold’s pursuit of the nose speed record is “simple to understand.”
“How fast can a team of two climb the mountain?” Barr tells PEOPLE. “Making a film about this unofficial competition strips the sport down to its basics and allows the characters, scenery, and athleticism to shine.”
Barr adds: “It’s also special to me because the protagonists are the two best big wall climbers in the world. Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell are not only transcendent athletes, they’re tremendous people.”
The pair supports each other at every turn, he says, “and have embraced being role models for regular, everyday climbers everywhere.”
“Honnold and Caldwell graciously allowed us to document their partnership and process in reclaiming the most coveted record in the sport — fastest on El Cap. Competing in this game — only a handful have ever really taken part, over the past 4 decades — demands an almost magical combination of athletic skill and mental fortitude to pull off.”
The Reel Rock Film Tour showcases the best new climbing films. There are screenings of The Nose Speed Record across the world through the new year.