Elite climber Alex Honnold leads the first ascent of one of the highest unclimbed rock faces on Earth
Expedition filmed for National Geographic’s upcoming original series, ON THE EDGE WITH ALEX HONNOLD (WT), airing soon on Disney+
Honnold joined a leading scientist to capture critical climate measurements and ice sheet data
Learn more about the hike at NatGeo.com
Ingmikortilaq stands at 3,750 feet and dates back three million years, but that didn’t stop there. @AlexHonnold of climbing 🧗♂️
See the first known ascent of the rock #At the limitstreaming soon #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/lRZIWRnpCV
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) August 18, 2022
Photo by Matt Pycroft, National Geographic for Disney+
“4000 foot wall that came straight out of a fjord”
WHO/WHAT: While filming National Geographic’s upcoming original series for Disney+, ON THE EDGE WITH ALEX HONNOLD (WT), world-class climbers Alex Honnold (“Free Solo”) and Hazel Findlay made the first known ascent of ‘Ingmikortilaq, one of the highest unclimbed natural monoliths on Earth. The cliff, composed of 3-million-year-old granite and gneiss, rises 3,750 feet from a remote peninsula jutting into a fjord on Greenland’s east coast. The team began the ascent from a dinghy at the base of the formation and camped in what is known as a “chill bivvy” – spending the night with their sleeping bags securely attached as they advanced by the face Honnold and Findlay were able to free climb the entire route of the 3-million-year-old rock. During the last 150 feet of the climb, they were able to disconnect from their ropes and walk safely to the top.
In the lead-up to Ingmikortilaq (pronounced Ing-mick-ort-till-lack), which is Greenlandic for “the separated one,” the team joined Dr. Heïdi Sevestre, a glaciologist working with the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, and Adam Kjeldsen, a Greenlandic guide, to complete what could be the first true crossing of the critical Renland ice sheet from the wall of the pool. While traversing the Renland ice sheet, Sevestre and the team dragged a special radar that took real-time measurements of the depth and density of the snow and ice below.
WHEN: After a 5-day climb battling freezing weather conditions, Honnold and Findlay reached the summit of the granite and gneiss rock on Tuesday, August 16.
WHERE: Sitting at ground zero of the climate crisis, Ingmikortilaq, a 3-million-year-old monolith of gneiss and granite, rises directly from the Nordvestfjord in the Scoresby Sound region of East Greenland. It is among the highest great walls ever climbed and until now was perhaps one of the largest unclimbed boulders in the world.
WHY: In addition to summiting the never-climbed rock wall and providing a window into that experience with audiences for the upcoming series produced by Plimsoll Productions for National Geographic, Honnold was motivated by the climate crisis. The scientific community desperately needs scientific data from remote places like Ingmikortilaq, according to glaciologists like Sevestre. Through the Greenland expedition, and with Honnold’s team helping to fix ropes for her, Sevestre was able to measure the depth and density of the ice caps, begin to capture crucial insights into the rate of ice melt polar and more.
HOW: The team approached the “4,000-foot wall that came straight out of a fjord” ocean-style, according to Honnold, meaning they rowed a boat from a base camp nearby terrestrial to the monolith and began their spectacular ascent. From there, Honnold and Findlay expertly navigated a route up the steepest and highest section of the wall, reaching the 3,750-foot summit on Tuesday, about 750 feet higher than El Capitan, and nearly three times the height of the Empire State Building.
MUST MENTION: National Geographic’s Disney+ Original Series ON THE EDGE WITH ALEX HONNOLD (WT) is coming soon to Disney+. Learn more about this breaking news at NatGeo.com.