Jason Momoa and rock climber Chris Sharma host "The Climb," a rock-climbing series on HBO Max.
The eight-episode season sees 10 amateur climbers tackle climbing challenges around the world.
Momoa and Sharma told Insider how their love for climbing led to the creation of "The Climb."
Jason Momoa recalls the first time he met legendary rock climber Chris Sharma.
The "Aquaman" actor was a gangly high-school junior, climbing rock formations around Hueco Tanks, a state park roughly 30 miles east of El Paso, Texas known for being one of the best bouldering sites in the world. Sharma, then 15 years old, was already a rock-climbing prodigy, nimbly scaling cliffs, banks, and peaks with utter ease.
"It was like watching someone walk on water," Momoa told Insider over Zoom on Sunday. "You'd never seen anyone climb something like that."
Fast-forward 25 years and Momoa is one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood, slated to appear as the "very flamboyant bad boy" (read: villain) in "Fast X," due out in May, and reprise his role as Aquaman in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" this Christmas. Sharma, for his part, is now hailed as one of the greatest rock climbers in history, having ascended Jumbo Love at Clark Mountain in California, the hardest climbing route in the US.
"We've accomplished so much in our careers," explained Momoa, who said their families spend quality time together, with Sharma teaching Momoa's children, Lola and Nakoa-Wolf, how to climb. "We'd just go, 'Let's go do this, and let's go dream up that.'
"It's cool to look back on when we were younger, just going around the world and traveling," added Momoa, before joking, "Now I get to see all these things that he's accomplished, and he gets to see my shitty films now!"
The duo wanted to take their mutual love for rock climbing and share that with the masses. The result: their rock-climbing competition series "The Climb." Momoa and Sharma executive produced and hosted the show, which debuted on HBO Max on Thursday.
The eight-episode season takes 10 amateur climbers of different ages and skill levels and transports them to scenic climbing challenges around the world that wildly vary in terrain and difficulty, from the limestone cliffs of Catalonia to Wadi Rum, a breathtaking desert valley carved into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan. The last climber standing walks off with a $100,000 cash prize and a sponsorship from performance apparel maker prAna.
"Of course, there's an element of a competition, and that's also natural in the human spirit to want to find out who's the best, but we also wanted to really share with the world how amazing the sport is that we get to go to these amazing locations," said Sharma. "They're also places that, when Jason's come out and visited me, that I've taken him to, and so they were very close to both of our passion for climbing."
HBO Max first ordered "The Climb" in July 2021, and while Momoa initially planned to be more involved in the show — 'My fucking passion is climbing. This was a dream job with one of my best friends" — the actor had to take a less active role due to a hernia surgery he received immediately after filming the "Aquaman" sequel.
"My belly button was sticking out like a thumb sticking out of my belly," recalled Momoa, who added he was passionate about joining the climbers in Jordan. "I'm the one that was like, 'bro, I'm doing Jordan. I'm in Jordan shooting 'Dune 2.' Let's go to fucking Jordan, and then I don't get to go to Jordan because of the surgery! So it's a bummer. Because you're like, 'I want to be there.'"
Despite that setback, Momoa is proud of the show's globe-trotting season and remains extremely hopeful HBO will greenlight the show for another season.
"I was surprised by what happens in the end," teased Momoa of the show's season finale. "Climbing is a sport that's not just like basketball or football, it's man and man. There's already enough fear, anxiety, and adventure with each style of climbing, but there are also so many mind games, and there's so much to break through in your own body. But it's really beautiful to see the support that comes through from these people, to see everyone of all shapes and sizes supporting each other to try to get through this competition."
Read the original article on Insider