Alex Honnold Tackles a New Free Solo Challenge in Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin Premiere

·3 min read

Rock climber Alex Honnold is defying the odds again in the first episode of Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin.

In the premiere of National Geographic's newest show, mountaineer Jimmy Chin, 48, will be following Honnold, 37, in his free solo climb in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco.

In the trailer for the episode, Honnold shares some of his thoughts throughout the steep climb. "I definitely feel fear," the rock climber says, "I mean, if I didn't feel fear I wouldn't have to do all the prep work; I'll just go up and do the route."

Honnold adds, "The correct way to manage fear I think is to gradually broaden your comfort zone until your comfort zone includes things that seemed previously impossible."

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Alex Honnold free soloing "Heaven" in Yosemite National Park. (photo credit: National Geographic)
Alex Honnold free soloing "Heaven" in Yosemite National Park. (photo credit: National Geographic)

National Geographic Alex Honnold

Honnold is joined by fellow world-class climber Tommy Caldwell as they slowly climb the towering limestone walls.

"Some climbers remember every movement of every route, I'm definitely not gifted like that," Honnold says in the trailer. "I knew the hardest parts pretty well but the rest of it was all a bit of a question mark. A lot of the lower climbing, I was thinking about it as I did it."

At one point in the climb, Honnold gets his fingers stuck in a crevice. "One of the classic ways to f-- yourself when you're soloing," the athlete says to the camera.

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Honnold also notes that climbing with the cameras around felt "very different."

Alex Honnold hikes through the Las Vegas desert. (National Geographic)
Alex Honnold hikes through the Las Vegas desert. (National Geographic)

National Geographic Alex Honnold

For Chin, filming it was also a challenge. "Shooting a big wall free solo was terrifying," Chin admits. "We spent days rigging on the route trying to imagine someone climbing it without a rope," he says, adding that the research only made his team more "nervous."

In the trailer, Honnold also reveals most of his free solos are done in "private" away from his family and friends. "[It] doesn't feel good to make your friends and family worry about you," the athlete explains, noting that he never wants to "burden" them.

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Along with the episode on Honnold, Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin will show pioneering adventure athletes as they recount the most consequential moments of their lives. From top big wave surfers to polar explorers, the 10-part series will give a deep dive into everything that goes into the most record-breaking adrenaline rides.

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In the show's second episode, which will premiere right after the first with Honnold, big mountain freestyle skier Angel Collinson, 32, will be looking back at her accident while skiing in Alaska. The two-time Freeskiing World Tour champion talks about how tumbling 1,000 feet down the side of a mountain triggered a new phase in her life.

Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin's first episode premieres Monday, Sept. 5, at 9:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 CT. The show's second episode will premiere just after, at 10 p.m./9 p.m., and all episodes will available to stream on Disney+ on Sept. 7.