It was an epic night for the outdoor industry last night as the much-heralded film Free Solo, which follows Alex Honnold’s two-year quest to do what many thought was impossible: climb Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Cap with nothing but a chalk bag.

Free Solo has earned more than $16M at the box office since it was released by National Geographic in September 12018.

Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi seemed stunned as they made their way to the mic to give their acceptance speech, along with colleagues Evan Hayes, Shannon Dillon and Honnold and his girlfriend Sanni McCandless. Indeed, they were up against some heavyweight contenders: Of Fathers and Sons; Hale Country This Morning, This Evening; Minding the Gap; and RBG, the biopic about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Chin let an “Oh, shit,” slip (it was bleeped out) and reminded his wife to breathe. Chai Vasarhelyi then thanked National Geographic for hiring women and people of color, as well as the couple’s two children, and Sanni McCandless. ‘You climbed your own mountain that day,” she said. “This film would be so boring without you, I’m just saying.”

Throughout the night, as they addressed the “Thank You Cam” and the Press Room after the ceremony, Chin’s surprise at having won the award is apparent and constant.

“It’s completely surreal,” he said on stage during the press briefing that followed the awards. “We’ve spent most of our lives climbing in wild landscapes around the world and to be embraced in this community, we feel like interlopers. But it’s been amazing…it’s because we threw our hearts into making this film. The high angle team, we know what heart is about. We climb because we love it we’re passionate about it and the wild places that we go. I think that’s reflected in in the film and I think that’s why people embrace the film.”

When a reporter asked Chin to describe a scary moment during the production, he replied: “Hanging off the wall, I couldn’t see Alex below and I just had to trust that he was being perfect. We also had to carry the weight of the entire production being perfect because if we made any mistakes it could have been catastrophic, so there was a lot of pressure at that moment.”

When Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi get nabbed by the “Thank You Cam,” Chin took a moment to plug the importance of public lands: “We are so fortunate to work in play in places like Yosemite places that give us inspiration and joy and beauty and we hope this film is a reminder of why its so important to protect and preserve our wild places.

Huge congrats to the whole Free Solo team.

Watch the film online through Amazon Prime VideoiTunesYouTube, and Google Play.

Related

Alex Honnold

How filmmakers shot 'Free Solo'

From holds the width of two quarters on their sides to Alex Honnold's big smiles throughout the climb, filmmakers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi planned a whole system to capture all the details of the feat. Hear about it in this latest video. If you can't get enough, ...read more

free solo cover

Watch 'Free Solo' filmmakers react to Oscar nomination

Watching Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi burst into cheers over "Free Solo's" nomination for an Oscar on Tuesday mirrored the pure joy of seeing Alex Honnold top out on El Capitan in the film.  "I’ve been waiting my entire professional life for this moment," Vasarhelyi ...read more

Alex Honnold climbs El Capitan in Yosemite

Sneak peek: Jimmy Chin's movie about Alex Honnold's epic free solo

Surely one of the most anticipated movies this year, "Free Solo" is the story of climber Alex Honnold's 3,200-foot ropeless ascent of a route on El Capitan in Yosemite. The dramatic National Geographic film was shot by world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, and ...read more

Alex Honnold

360 degrees of Alex Honnold

In National Geographic's new 360-degree video, watch Alex Honnold free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Hear the crunch of gravel under his feet as he approaches the formation. Hear the wind as he moves from hold to hold. The seven minutes of footage is narrated by ...read more

Alex_Honnold_june-17

Alex Honnold crushes El Cap in the route's first free-solo

Alex Honnold put one in the record books Saturday, after nailing the first ever free solo of El Cap, the iconic, 3,000 foot granite wall in Yosemite National Park. According to a National Geographic report, Honnold started his climb at dawn, and pulled himself up over the final ...read more

Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold talks free soloing with Jimmy Kimmel

"Before you do it, do you like, write a note to your mom or anything?" Jimmy Kimmel asked Alex Honnold Thursday night, of his recent free solo of El Capitan. "No, that seems overly dramatic," Honnold replied. In a segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Honnold explained his preparation ...read more

Kathmandu_Winter_NZ_Image

Industry Buzz: 'Free Solo' speaker series, REEL ROCK 13, Kathmandu, Vasque, CORDURA, and more

Keep up by reading Industry Buzz. Here are today's top headlines: Have a news tip? Email us at snewsedit@aimmedia.com In theaters across the country, Alex Honnold and Jimmy Chin will answer questions from the audience about the greatest climbing feat in history—Honnold's free ...read more

Emily Harrington shows wounds on her elbow in the hospital after bad fall

Climber Emily Harrington injured after bad fall on El Capitan

During an attempt to free climb the Golden Gate Route on Sunday, professional climber Emily Harrington took a 40-foot fall down El Capitan.  Harrington said in an Instagram post that she pin-balled down the rock and then hit the rope with her neck. She is "banged up, but gonna ...read more

Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold flex after topping out on the Nose in Yosemite

Behind the scenes: Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell's Nose speed record

On June 6, 2018, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold set the sub-two-hour speed record on the 3,000-foot Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The duo took the title from Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds, who set it at just under 2:20. The rivalry is captured in the hour-long ...read more