Alex Donald, Donald Piece, Wang Theater discussed on Seeking Wisdom
Does and free climbing means that he climbs the sides of cliffs on mountainsides with no ropes. It is crazy right. And so when i first heard of alex i knew that i had to figure out a way to interview him and i got to do that at in. Two thousand nineteen at hyper growth boston. 'cause we talk about everything about free so and how you train. How the film was made why he lives in las vegas of all places and his foundation that he said up called the handled foundation which a lot of the work that he does goes to the proceeds go to ronald foundations and so many things that he does including his own personal social media habits. All right let me know what you thought of this episode. Alex donald mind-blowing episode so fortunate to spend time with him don't forget six only rating shouted out to our donald piece. We're in boston at the wang theater. Second nightclub it's got this music blasting if you don't hear that and we're getting ready it's eight. Am yeah that's the thing that makes a real barely had breakfast. And there's like club music and tons of people with glow sticks very high energy. Do you have breakfast. Yeah yeah yeah. I always do breakfast most important today. Really yeah scott actually Yeah it totally depends on where am doing. I had breakfast. But i've been up since four thirty jet lag site china's some sort of on an unusual program. It's crazy so you're coming back from a tour of promoting your movie free so low right in china. What were you doing. Just in beijing doing crafts for two days. It was just Yeah it was just the film premiere and tons of I don't really know. Honestly that's kind of the the the beauty. The interest of traveling. Asia's you just never have any idea what's happening. Just people telling me what to do with no real sense of why. I'm doing it or who's asking what's happening continuing that here. Yeah exactly exactly. This is definitely more surreal scene than than anything in beijing. That is funny. It's crazy you're going to be speaking today. At hyper growth young. What are you going to be speaking about today. I'm going to be talking a bit about my whole journey reselling gap. He's probably fair to assume that a lot of people here have seen the film but go a little bit deeper into some of the backstory and just the process. You know the things that the film doesn't cover well when you watch this film. What's the feeling you've got like the rest of us. No definitely not. When i watched the film. It's like flipping through a scrapbook like it helps me remember all the actual things that happen. You know. it's obviously i mean. The film is is incredible but the mostly for me. It just reminds me of all things because the film is ninety minutes long and it was shot over two years. I mean there's a lot a lot of life happened in that time you see you on the the film were there are really air is in the film. I mean you know it's all it's all. True documentary is all very thin. So there's nothing wrong with it but it's more adjoussou omissions. But not like not is just edited. I mean it's just ninety minutes instead of you know. I mean the the final climb in the film is twenty minutes long and it's incredible as beautifully shot as you know i i love washing it but actual climate four hours and i remember the whole thing. So we'll let you do want to do the movie like such a solo part of the reason that the movie was just because it it made it easier to work on the project. Sorta counter-intuitively bend the thing is. There's a lot of work involved in working on that. A lot of just toil carrying rope coiling arrives managing and so by doing a film and then my friends were busy. Getting paid to help me on my project so excuse for yeah and it's kind of a cover also in a way because if i was up there repelling down the same section of vocab over and over working on it anybody's he'd be like oh he's obviously parents sola it but because we were filming was actually more like oh. We're working on his nat. Go project if you be like oh cool. They're like. Oh maybe the shooting. A history of the south i wall which is the section of the wall i was on or it's like you know. Or maybe they're shooting because occasionally go. We're shooting from national parks. Recapping for najia sort of faye. You know true but not statistically yeah but so it gave a lot of flexibility it just kind of made sense. The people like the people on the cast actually filming where the actor friends of yours you. Yeah i've ever on the crew. Were close friends of mine. That i've climbed with over the years that i've been friends with for many years. Yeah i mean like jimmy chan the co-director we've traveled together twelve years or something so yeah i think so. I think i've known him since. You don't seven piney. We're both on the north face team on expeditions. All over like we've gone already together. We spent a lot of time together. Yeah how many years have you been professionally climbing since two thousand seven okay. That's quite a journey and so all of them are real primers. Yeah so a couple of the couple of the crew members were sort of verite film maker. So jimmy's wife tribe mazzarelli early in the director of the film co-director so she brought more of the verite background to it with She's not a climber but she's a gifted filmmaker and then she brought her team members people that she'd worked with in the past who were a little bit more focused on on the baroness but yeah basically anything is. After two years of all together you wind up being pretty good friends with friends out of me and no one me. Two years is a long time somebody that they'd be married and you got married during no no no number number okay. So just Seem yeah we what we moved in. After the first week or some- executant cars. Just move into replace. Come to stay. But that actually happened during the filming. Yeah so i met my girlfriend after we'd already started filming free solo. Yeah so i'm yes. Our entire relationship plays out you know. Yeah it's crazy yes. Yeah so what. Start all this. I just pursued declining. Yeah i mean. I've just always left on. I find since. I was ten years old. So it's like my entire life is just invested into this one pursue. Yeah yeah and then. If you're going to do what you wanna do it well. You want to be as good as you can. And so you know have put a lot of effort and over the years and what do you how do you think about that. You're next thing now. They used that you've done this. I don't know. I mean honestly. That's the hardest thing every single you know cuny do with audiences any event. I do errands like what's that sort of. I don't know it's hard think that way. Do you think like like from the outside looking at what you've done. Seems like his always pursuit of what's next. What's next how to get better to refine well. The thing is how to get better. No so i am always a how do you get better. What is the next thing. I want to work on the thing. Is that audiences when ask you. What's next they're like when he working free solar to and the reality is that there's never going to be a free solitu- there no other objectives like that in the world. There's you know it's a unique and it was a beautiful confluence of the perfect objective with the right crew. The right you know the right motivation me like it. All came together to make this incredible experience. And you know that's never going to happen again and so you hate to disappoint people with with the light while this is a unique one off. Yeah yeah watching over you know but the thing is i'm still trying to get better climbing on things. I have tons of personal projects. But they're just not ever going to be academy award winning films. They're not interesting in that way. And so I don't know it's hard to be like well. You know the rest of my life will just be back to the the quiet toil way. Yeah exactly exactly and do you have that. You consider like that was a perfect line. I mean free saw. You're pretty close to as good as it gets for me. Two years work for a big climates. Yeah and it went as well as a good hard was. It seemed like almost impossible. Even the people actually filming. It seemed like doing when you were doing climb. That's pretty difficult even having people on the wall and keep them a wall. I don't know. I mean you've spoken to jimmy as well. I mean i'm sure. He said the same thing that that they spent. You know all the time that i spent working on the climb they spend well. They spent documenting my practice for that awesome ended. They were up on the wall practicing as well and so by the time. I actually did the climb. They knew exactly what they were doing in the same way that i did. Yeah and so you know by the end. It wasn't really a challenge at all to have have all of us up there. You know we all knew exactly what to do how to do it. Which did you grow up Sacramento california good ole sack. Is there any climbing intact Not not really. Though it's it's close to the sierra nevada close like clergy seventy. I grew up camping and all that. But it's I basically just had the good fortune of climate. Jim opening near my house and i was a kid so i was able to just start climbing the climate gin and and really. That's as good a place as any to learn. This surprised when i was watching the movie that you you moved to vegas like land knowing anything about vegas. Everybody assumes that they just gambling is actually the best four season climbing in the country. There's rock all around it. There's there a lifetime supply of hard time around. Vegas and vegas really. I think makes us really the best in the country and there's climbing at all elevation so you can climb the winner. You climb the summer plans. Rainfall like every other city in the country has You know seasons where you can't clown. Yeah i would assume my colorado or like just yeah exactly. Everybody thinks says she's not really the case. And even some of the places that are considered mountain town like boulder. Colorado is the heart of finding. Yeah but the reality is when you're in boulder dr the climate twenty twenty five minutes drive up into the canyons yet and from my house in vegas you can be climbing in the same amount of time but but it's better it's crazy and you always been like a climbing area in vegas who's becoming since the nineties. Yeah actually i would say it's becoming more and more it actually so. I bought a house her three years ago. I guess and then another professional climber about hustler. A couple of years ago think the climbing community is definitely blossoming. A little bit. Yeah like. I don't think it was ever quite on the map for for high end hard climbing. And i think it's becoming more so now but was indeed a free solo bump now i mean i haven't seen we'll see the real the real bummed seeing people at the climbing gym climbing in the same shoes that i saw in the pump for like. Oh cool you took you into the gym and you bought like even though they're not designed for them they're totally different. You should be like. It's not what you should come the gym but But that's kind of what. I what i noticed any year yourself your own like make your oh now. So one of my sponsors backed on signature series harnessed talkback benefits foundation and then actually. My rogue sponsor maximum. They also make your series for of the medicine. Basically all my sponsors have kind of gone on board to to support the asia through through random product. But but i don't make anything myself. 'cause i just i'm not. I'm an unsurprising. All your big year guy. I'm not like way into it. I was like. I don't have strong opinions. I can use whatever that led to the huddle foundation like starting it. I mean that was just yes foundation sports solar projects now and And i mean. I guess i i started in two thousand twelve. I guess because. I was just looking for something useful to do you know i was starting to earn more than i needed to live with my band and i just felt like i should be contributing somewhere. Yeah and so. Yeah and actually. That's been the one great thing about free solo taken off crazy way because the film the foundation is has really thrived the last year. That's awesome which Yeah which is great because you. Don't what motivates you to keep doing this like what you're telling me to some extent yeah You know it's not like the quality of my life all by being more famous like like honestly every time i fly. Now it's actually so the last four or five as step off the plane. I'm like shell nice headphones during a haggard. You're sleeping like the very first version sees like are you the free solo guy. And you're like oh man. Come on like you're in the men's room. And the like come on mentioning. That might be my biggest. Beavis people stop in the men's room. Yeah it's kind of like when you're when you're working out in a gym or something you're sort of like You know you're not supposed to do something in the weight room. Let people finish their says like the like. You have a timer going. You got a bunch of weight hanging off you and you're like doing stuff and you're sort of like. Is this the time like you got a job right now and be like old hat in vegas now or do people still stop you in that community. it's more anywhere that i spent time routinely as way more joe. Yes so like my old. Jim in sacramento. My job in vegas are definitely a lot more relaxed. But it's funny because people will start climbing vegas like someone new to the gym and they'll be like. Oh my god. What are you doing here. This incredible and i'm like this is my home jam. Cover four train your all the time and they're like well. It's my first time and i'm psyched and that's cool. I mean i'm totally into that. You know and. I like the enthusiasm. Newcomers like it's great that you know it's good for the sport. It's it's all great but you know it just yet ground down a little bit. You're like it's not. It doesn't like make life any better by nation is thriving and i'm able to actually like a couple of weeks ago. That project the reporting in detroit and was hoping with his this translation on on the home there. And when you meet the homeowners when you see the projects when you see all the good income that i mean it is pretty satisfying sort of like. Oh it's worth having all the weirdos during you like us autographing. What are the best things that one of my favorite things like in the movie just watching you and other videos is how much focus you put on training right because like for most people seem like they would just see the end result and it just seems like magic like you are just whatever like you can just like spider man climbed things but like you feel watching youtube video and they'd have to just walk up to a cliff and climate. How do you know where to go. And your walks. I find it a hundred times before practice. Different two years not member as the moves. And i'm trained and yet i know i know it's funny because climbing is i mean well you know you have been climbing. There's just no. It's not easy to be a good climber like there's just they're no real short guys like you just. It's just hard and so young. Put a lot of work into it's crazy. How do people Keep keep up with you online I mean i'm on all the social media lab one southside alex okay but But it's funny. Because i've been i've been racing all the apps off my phone and then i installing stream like once we got like maybe post something that racy app again consol just a bit too much time and not no no. I think i've just been a little too public last year. A little like you know. I think one of the things. We're social as you have to want to share some of yourself. And i think when you're doing too much sharing to begin with like i don't i don't need to like post more you know. I'm trying to struggle with that from every once in a while. Just like doing the same deleting all those apps yeah. They're trying to see how i can go with them whether it's like twitter instagram. Whatever then i add them back then. I removing them. I had movement stuff like that. And i feel like for what we do. Obviously like we do a lot on social media. And i do a lot on social media but i feel like if it wasn't for this like i would just be like gone or this i mean that's that's the thing to me you know because i'm trying to promote the film. I'm kinda you know. Be good for my sponsors. Or i'm trying to promote my nation or share the things that i care about sharing environmental. She's public lands and she's the opposite the things that matter to me. You know like i. I appreciate having the platform and having having a way to share ideas but at the same time. We're like sometimes you just want to sit by yourself in a closet. Not not there so thank you for doing this..