Deep in the Amazon jungle, magnificent rocky tabletop towers rise abruptly from the foliage, often cloaked in thick clouds. They’re called “tepuis” (“house of the gods”), and their plateaus, or mesas, are completely isolated from the forest below. That makes them a tantalizing potential source for exotic new species. National Geographic is marking Earth Day with the release of a new documentary, The Last Tepui, featuring renowned biologist Bruce Means teaming up with elite climber Alex Honnold and a veteran NatGeo team to become the first people to summit one of these remote structures.
(Some spoilers below.)
Anyone who has seen the Oscar-winning 2018 documentary Free Solo will be familiar with Honnold. He emerged seemingly out of nowhere in 2007 with a free solo climb of Astroman and the Rostrum in Yosemite National Park and soon became a dominant force in climbing. Free Solo documented Honnold’s quest to become the first to complete a free solo climb of El Capitan—not without controversy, given the very real risk of Honnold dying in the attempt. (Spoiler alert: He survived, completing the climb in 3 hours and 56 minutes.)
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