"I felt raw and humbled."

By Arielle Tschinkel
August 07, 2020
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Brie Larson attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California
Credit: Getty Images/Jeff Kravitz

By now it's no secret that Brie Larson got into superhero strength to play Captain Marvel (remember her insanely heavy 400-pound hip thrusts?!). Turns out, she secretly capitalized on that strength by scaling a nearly 14,000-foot high mountain—and she's only just now sharing the news with fans, a full year later.

In a new video on her YouTube channel, Larson documented her year-long journey to climbing the Grand Teton—a 13,776-foot high mountain in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park—last August.

Larson revealed that after Captain Marvel wrapped, her trainer, Jason Walsh (who has also worked with Hilary Duff, Emma Stone, and Alison Brie, among other celebs) invited her to test her newly-earned superhero strength in potentially the most terrifying way possible: by joining him and professional climber Jimmy Chin on what the Oscar winner called a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to climb the Grand Teton. (Related: Brie Larson's First Workout In Quarantine Is the Most Relatable Thing You'll Ever Watch)

Despite feeling confident in her strength at that time, Larson admitted she "had no idea" if she'd actually be able to climb the Grand Teton. "I don't think that I am a superhuman," said Larson. "I know that I play one in a movie, but like, there's a lot of CGI and wires involved."

Still, honoring the fierce Marvel warrior was important to her, continued Larson. "It didn't sit well with me to play a strong character without actually being strong," she said.

Though Larson had already tackled indoor rock climbing as part of her Marvel training, embarking on a six-week training plan to conquer a literal mountain was no easy feat. With guidance from Walsh and Chin, Larson said she trained by spending "hours, hours, hours, hours" every other day at a climbing gym. (Related: Brie Larson's Insane Grip Strength Is All the Workout Inspiration You Need)

When it came time for her first outdoor climbing experience, Larson appeared visibly shocked that she was able to complete the climb. "Getting thrown into some things just felt impossible," Larson recalled of that first climb in her YouTube video. "It was way, way, way harder than I thought. It was just like full-on survival mode, and so much [to process]. I felt raw and humbled."

Chin continued to test Larson's strength by throwing her into "the deep end" with her next climb, explained Chin in Larson's video. "I prefer to know how she reacts to really challenging situations on this climb than up on the Grand Teton," he said. (Related: An Adorable 3-Year-Old Is Now the Youngest Person to Summit This 10,000-Foot Mountain)

Naturally, Larson conquered that climb, too. But it took just as much mental strength as it did physical, she shared in her video. "Because my job requires me to have a really deep understanding and control over my mind, I've had to spend a lot of time digging into myself and understanding the different avenues and pathways I can get into, and the ways I can allow myself to feel things, and the ways that I can hold it back," she explained. The key to navigating stressful moments during climbing, she continued, was "training" her mind to be able to access that same open, "spacious" state she inhabits when acting.

Chin even commended Larson multiple times throughout the video on her "impressive" composure during her practice climbs. "She has that mental strength and discipline to be like, 'Okay, I need to get focused, I need to be in the moment,'" he said of the actor.

Of course, her mental, and physical, strength were put to the ultimate test when it came time to climb the Grand Teton. The multi-day journey included sleeping and climbing in "constant" 60 miles-per-hour wind gusts, carrying all her own food and water on her back, and running on minimal sleep, Larson shared in her video. (Related: Want to Try Rock Climbing? Here's What You Need to Know)

When she, Chin, and Walsh made it to the top of the Grand Teton, Larson said she hardly knew how to describe that moment. "You get so deeply rewarded with that view," she said. "I was just so moved and so at peace."

Rocking climbing is no doubt a fierce workout that can improve both mental and physical strength in spades. "A climber will naturally build balance, coordination, breath control, dynamic stability, eye-hand/eye-foot coordination, and they will do so in a disguised form of exercise, which is probably the greatest thing about it," Emily Varisco, head coach and certified personal trainer at The Cliffs, previously told Shape.

Plus, climbing really does help you learn more about yourself, pro climber Emily Harrington told us. "The process teaches you so much about yourself—your strengths and weaknesses, insecurities, limitations, and more. It has enabled me to grow a lot as a human."

As for Larson, climbing the Grand Teton "felt like years of therapy in a week," she shared. "These last couple of years, through gaining strength and confidence in my body and learning how that connects to my mind, [it] has just been so eye-opening to me."

Ready to start conquering mountains like Larson? Start with these strength exercises for rock climbing newbies.