What impressed me most was Alex's no-compromises attitude about his goals. I think there are a few different ways people can be funneled into this unflinching mindset, but the one i am most familiar with is a home where love is conditional on performance. This upbringing spawns two unshakable facts about life: 1) My feelings are irrelevant to my actions (so feelings don't matter so much) and 2) I can earn love and acceptance only through flawless performance.
The result is a human being who has difficulty connecting with people on an emotional level. Who can't understand the weight of their decisions on relationships.
I also believe that Alex has moved past seeking validation from outside sources. Instead, he's trying to find excuses to care about himself. Remember the scene when he reads the doctor's mental health questionnaire and the line about feelings of depression...? I don't know about you, but his lack of a response seemed telling.
As far as the general consensus among avid climbers goes, everybody I've talked to loved it. No disappointments whatsoever. Good story. Amazing climbing footage. lots of reasons to laugh and feel perplexed by our own ambition to climb. because at the end of the day, its a pretty useless way to spend out time in the big scheme of things.