National Geographic Explorer Series to Embark on Groundbreaking Scientific Expeditions

With National Geographic Explorer Mark Synnott Leading Expedition, Famed Climber Alex Honnold (‘Free Solo’) to Guide Team Up Approximately 7,500-Foot Summit to Fulfill Lifelong Dream of 79-Year-Old Biologist Bruce Means of Reaching the Unexplored Tepuis in Guyana

Renowned Caver Bill Stone to Attempt to Break World Record With an Expedition to the Bottom of Cheve Caves, 8,000 Feet Underneath Mexico’s Sierra Juarez Mountains

‘Explorer’ to Document Expeditions Exclusively for National Geographic

Famed Climber Alex Honnold will lead an expedition team up an approximately 7,500-foot summit to fulfill the life-long dream of biologist Bruce Means to reach the unexplored Tepuis in Guyana. Once they reach the towering over 1,300 foot sheer wall of rock, Honnold will take the lead to rope up the untested rock Ð a climb he believes is more dangerous and filled with more unknowns than his world-famous free solo up Yosemite’s El Capitan. (credit: Jimmy Chin)

National Geographic’s “Explorer,” a hallmark of Nat Geo storytelling since it first launched in 1985, is set to embark on two groundbreaking scientific expeditions for new single-topic episodes in winter 2022 – one above the earth and one below. Alex Honnold (“Free Solo”) made a surprise appearance announcing his month-long expedition at National Geographic’s session at the virtual winter TCA press tour. In a partnership with ABC News and Lincoln Square productions, both expeditions are in the field now.


An elite climbing team is on a mission to deliver 79-year-old biologist Bruce Means to the top of a Guyanese tepui, a mystical “island in the clouds,” in search of undiscovered species completely new to science. National Geographic Explorer Mark Synnott teams up with climber Honnold in his first notable climbing project since “Free Solo,” local biologist and climber Fuco Pisani will help Means in his life’s quest to search for new species which he hopes will be the proof that this amazing “lost world” must be preserved. Directed by National Geographic photographer and climber Renan Ozturk and documentary filmmaker Taylor Rees, Synnott will lead a trek from a remote indigenous village, hacking a trail through uncharted jungle beneath towering waterfalls spilling down from the clouds. Once they reach the towering—over an estimated 1,300-foot—sheer wall of rock, Means must put his life in the hands of the climbing team as Honnold will take the lead to rope up the untested rock – a climb he believes is more dangerous and filled with more unknowns than his world-famous free solo up Yosemite’s El Capitan – and lay anchors that will be used to hoist the scientist inch by inch to the top. If successful, Means will finally complete his lifelong quest to prove the tepuis are an undiscovered “Galapagos” of unique species that must be protected.


Dr. Bill Stone, the most experienced caver in the world, has a lifelong quest to hold the record for going deeper beneath the Earth than any human. Stone will lead an expedition to the bottom of the Cheve Cave, 8,000+ feet underneath Mexico’s Sierra Juarez mountains. The expedition has been compared to climbing Everest … but in reverse. The three-month underground journey is a dangerous and highly technical adventure requiring a team of more than 40 elite cavers. The dangers of the expedition are extreme into the furthest reaches of the cave, where there will be little chance of rescue. Stone and his team will map everything they see and create both traditional (2D) maps as well as CGI 3D models relative to the surface topography so that they can see where the cave is and where it is heading and anticipate capturing the world record of reaching the deepest depths inside the Earth than any human has ever gone before.

The newly reimagined version of this flagship series will be a truly multiplatform content initiative, in partnership with National Geographic Media and ABC News. Each stand-alone, hour-long episode immerses viewers inside unfolding expeditions around the globe and to the front lines of groundbreaking scientific, technological and historical discoveries, with ABC News talent serving as guides. “Explorer” will cover timely topics, a featured magazine story and more, further deepening viewers’ understanding of the world through provocative storytelling.

The new season of “Explorer” begins winter 2022. For Lincoln Square Productions, Jeanmarie Condon is senior executive producer and Drew Pulley is executive producer. For National Geographic, Bengt Anderson is executive producer; Matt Renner is vice president, Production, and Alan Eyres is senior vice president, Production and Development.

Lincoln Square Productions

ABC News’ Lincoln Square Productions (LSP) specializes in deeply-reported storytelling for multiple platforms including National Geographic, A&E, Lifetime, Hulu, ABC, Disney+, Netflix and PBS. Productions have included the death row docu-series “The Last Defense” from Viola Davis, National Geographic’s “America Inside Out with Katie Couric,” Disney+ original series “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2” about a year inside the Walt Disney Animation Studios and “Rogue Trip” with Bob and Mack Woodruff, the archival series “1969,” “The Genetic Detective” with investigative genetic genealogist CeCe Moore, Investigation Discovery series “The Truth About Murder with Sunny Hostin” and A&E’s “Shining a Light” produced in partnership with Pharrell Williams, John Legend and Alicia Keys and popular series “What Would You Do?”. LSP also develops scripted projects from fact-based stories and with partners including ABC Studios and A&E Productions. LSP has produced dramas including the ABC miniseries “Madoff” starring Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner and Lifetime’s “The Lost Wife of Robert Durst” starring Katherine McPhee.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 133 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest

Media Contact:

Jennifer DeGuzman

National Geographic