FIRST ASCENT is the groundbreaking 6-part series that takes you to the cutting edge of adventure. Produced for National Geographic by our partners at Sender Films (with some help from the crew here at Big UP), First Ascent follows great climbers and adventurers on their quests to redefine what is possible in the mountains.
Episode 1: Alone On The Wall
Alex Honnold is taking free soloing to new heights. A lovable goofball off the rock, Alex flips into invincible mode on the most impressive big solos of all time. Featuring mind-boggling footage of his solos of Moonlight Buttress, a 1200 foot 5.12d in Zion National Park, and the Northwest Face of Half Dome, a 23 pitch 5.12 that is probably the hairiest solo ever.
Episode 2: Patagonia Promise
Sean Leary and his two friends venture across South America on a redemptive journey to honor the memory of the love of his life, the Brazilian climber Roberta Nunes, who was killed in a car crash two years earlier. In Roberta's favorite place on earth, the wild peaks of Patagonia, Leary and company fulfill their mission, climbing a first ascent, and spreading her ashes from the summit, thus granting her dying wish.
Episode 3: Impossible Climb
Chris Sharma has spent over a decade slaying the hardest climbs on the planet, and now he's come up against his biggest challenge yet, a 250 foot line out the center of a massive limestone cave in California's Mojave Desert. Follow Sharma's training in Spain and his epic battle to make the first ascent of Jumbo Love, a 5.15b that could be the hardest route ever climbed. This episode was produced and directed by Big UP, and contains much of the same footage of Jumbo Love that was included in our feature film Progression, although it's presented somewhat differently.
Episode 4: Point Of No Return
Elite alpine climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash travel to a little-explored and treacherous mountain range near the border of Tibet to make a first ascent of a high-altitude face. When tragedy strikes, the dark and dangerous side of climbing is revealed. Much-loved in the climbing community, Jonny and Micah's disappearance (along with Wade Johnson from Sender Films) had a huge impact. This episode recreates the story of what happened to them, and pays tribute to their passionate lives.
Episode 5: Brothers Wild
Climber/Raconteur Timmy O'Neill and his brother Sean, who is paralyzed from the waist down, push the limits of adaptive climbing with an expedition to the Ruth Gorge of Alaska. An inspiring story about brothers working together to overcome a challenge that means much more than just the climb.
Episode 6: Fly Or Die
Dean Potter combines his passions for free solo climbing and BASE jumping to create an outrageous and visionary new form of climbing - The Free BASE. Climbing with no rope, and only a parachute to catch him if he falls, Potter climbs the north face of the Eiger, and Yosemite's Alien Roof. This episode is a jaw-dropping adrenaline fest, and a testament to Dean's imagination (and huge cojones).