No one ever succeeded in doing the Fitz Roy “seven-peak traverse,” though it’s well-known amongst climbers drawn to daunting firsts. No one until Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold traced “A Line across the Sky.” That’s the name of the film from the footage they shot while accomplishing this first.
The Teewinot (Shosone word meaning many pinnacles) stand jaggedly, lording it over the Snake River’s meander through the moraine below. Many have “conquered” this iconic Grand Teton range in the Rocky Mountains. Compared with the seven-peak lineup in the Patagonian reaches of the Andes Mountains, the Tetons is a weekend jaunt.
The classic look of the Fitz Roy ridgeline also deserves the term iconic except, or because of, how off the beaten track it is at the southern end of South America.
Talk about iconic, Alex Honnold is almost beyond iconic. As a climber, he puts poise, like nobody else, into nutsoid superlatives. For some insight into what the Fitz Roy ridgeline meant to Tommy Caldwell, he named his son Fitz. Even though Caldwell had more mountain climbing experience than Alex, he knew that Honnold’s “big wall” chops would be a boon to nearly 8,000 feet of cumulative vertical ascent. Tommy could temper Alex’s disinclination toward snowy, icy places.
The two of them attacked the challenge fast and loose. Their filming style was fast and loose – and quite personable. The result is not only a classic notch in the record books. It’s a classic notch in the film realm of mountain-climbing adventure.