20 Rock Climbing Movie Reviews
Below are 20 of the best rock climbing movies ever made. In no particular order, but each one is rated and features the trailer where available. Essentials include Reel Rock, First Ascent TV series and Asgard Jamming.
Reel Rock 9 is a climbing history lesson. This review of Valley Uprising is the first I have done in a long time. It took the boys at Sender Films to get me back into rock climbing movies with this rather grand film. And look who has figured out how to do clean screenshots 😉
Valley Uprising is all about a 1 mile square valley called Yosemite. It has the biggest and best walls, and has been home for many climbers over the years. They rough it by living in the boulders or in their vans, just to be near the rock.
The film shows us the beginnings with superb production by remastering old photos and footage from many decades ago, using excellent technique. If there wasn’t almost 5 minutes of rock climbing related advertising at the beginning, this would have been good enough content and production-wise to be shown on any TV channel.
This is the first Reel Rock film which feels complete and fully rounded.
It sets out to show us the history of Yosemite and does so brilliantly. The footage is all entertaining and just when you think it might get a little dull, they manage to switch scene and keep things interesting.
Much of the stories and characters will already be known to many climbers, but it is great to have everything included in this one place. The only downside is that Yosemite is becoming more restricted for climbers, with them only allowed to camp there 7 days a year. Plus the new free base climb-then-jump style is prohibited.
In terms of whether this is the best climbing film ever? I would say no, there are climbing movies which are more thrilling and meaningful to watch, for example, Asgard Jamming. The stories of in-fighting and conflicting personalities in Valley Uprising are a distraction from the climbing, although interesting for the most part.
You can buy Reel Rock 9 Valley Uprising and see more reviews at Amazon. It is available on DVD, Blu-ray or as a digital download. I recommend skipping the DVD version as the resolution is not as good as the other two.
My rating for this rock climbing film review took a lot of thought. On the one hand, this is now an essential piece of any climber’s video collection, it does use a lot of footage seen before though. In the end, I decided to take a point off for the adverts at the beginning, it is not fair to subject people to adverts after they have paid.
I was toying with a 4.5 rating which would probably be fairer, but I want to make a point about the ads, it is time they were placed at the end. Nevertheless, this is a must buy for any rock climbing fan. It would also make a great first buy for anyone new to the sport or anyone curious.
Considering this is a collection of existing footage, for the most part, I hope Sender Films make another climbing film before next fall. They are certainly the most talented climbing filmmakers, so more than one movie a year would be great 😉
4 out of 5 stars
Asgard Jamming Review
This is an awesome rock climbing movie. It follows 4 guys from Belgium and one woman (not sure from where) as they embark on a pretty long journey. The Asgard wall they attempt is in a beautiful and remote region of Canada. It seems to take them weeks of walking back and forth a 20 mile trip, to carry supplies and equipment before they even start the wall.
Ordinarily, that would make for pretty dull viewing but the guys are always in high spirits with plenty of joking around. They also play some pretty cool music together. The granite wall looks great and it takes them over a week to reach the summit. The shooting and editing are done in a way which keeps things interesting throughout.
This is the first of my rock climbing movie reviews that I will give 5 stars to. It is the best of around 10 climbing films I have seen so far. It is in French but the subtitles are easily readable throughout. This should be in your collection. You can buy it online on Amazon UK and Amazon France.
5 out of 5 stars – the best rock climbing movie ever made!
The Long Hope Review
The Long Hope is pretty much the opposite of the last DVD I reviewed, Thrutch. This is made to be a proper film with far less actual climbing. It is the story of a remote wall around 350 meters high. The climbing is varied and takes some turns so the route is longer.
It starts fairly slow with flashbacks to the past and writings from previous climbers read aloud. This is a heart felt story of one mans quest to complete the route in a day. Dave MacLeod painstakingly cleans the rock and the weather gets in the way too. The whole thing seems like a big nightmare. He even has a hard time finding a partner to do it with him.
I found this DVD to be a little boring really. It is an admirable attempt and I was certainly glad I watched it. But it won’t be getting a repeat play anytime soon. The Long Hope gets more interesting towards the end when most of the climbing action takes place. Until this time I hadn’t realised just how scary this wall is.
It is a tough climb and I was almost proud of the climbers when they made it to the top. I think this is because they really showed us a human side to rock climbing. For example the old man who had a glimmer in his eyes as he revisited his old stomping grounds. This made for slightly dull viewing but was heartwarming at the same time. If you are bored of noisy bouldering films with no depth, then this is a nice alternative.
This DVD is available from http://www.davemacleod.blogspot.com/ which is the star’s own site. I’ve not been through it yet but it looks like he has an active blog and other DVDs too.
2.5 stars out of 5
Depthcharge is my kind of rock climbing film. Deep water soloing in a nice climate. The location is a part of Croatia with nice cliffs. There is a group of 16 climbers, mostly from the UK. The also have international climbers including Chris Sharma and there is a cameo appearance from Ozzy Ozbourne’s son Jack who they meet by chance.
The trip is obviously an enjoyable one for all the participants as they hire boats and explore the islands. This translates well to film and we see them having a laugh in between climbs. Deep water climbing looks the most fun because there are no height restrictions that come with bouldering and non of the ropes and other gear needed for traditional climbing. All that is required is a boat and a few pairs of climbing shoes and chalk bags.
As is so often the case with rock climbing DVDs, the music is awful at times. The sound and cameras are just OK. These things don’t matter too much really as we are privileged that they have recorded this for our enjoyment.
4 stars out of 5
Thrutch is a pretty basic rock climbing film. It does not have any sort of storyline or talking from the actual climbers. There are lots of different climbers all doing bouldering. The music is pretty bad, actually it is terrible. The camera poor quality. The scenes jump too quickly without exploring any problems in any real depth.
Basically, this is not great at all. Especially for an inexperienced climber like myself. Experienced climbers may have a different view and I can see some people really liking this because it is just pure rock climbing (bouldering). For me this took about 4 or 5 part viewings to get through the whole thing and to be honest I was happy when it was over.
Definition of the term ‘thrutch’ from about.com:
Description of awkward and strenuous moves, usually up a crack or chimney, when the climber feels like she is going to fall out and has to resort to whatever moves possible to keep on the rock. Another use is thrutching.
Usage: After getting up the Crack of Fear you remark, “Wow buddy, I didn’t think I was gonna get up that off-width section—it was a total thrutch!”
1 star out of 5 certainly not a contender for best rocking movie
Dosage 5 Review
It’s been about 5 years since I got my first rock climbing DVD which was Dosage 1. It was pretty basic stuff, and it seems that the Dosage series has kept to a similar format. The overall production and number of ‘doses’ has certainly increased and Dosage Vol. 5 is overall, a much better experience. The camera work, music and general feel is of a far higher quality.
Dosage 5 is a quality rock climbing film. There are 8 doses with plenty of bouldering and familiar faces like Chris Sharma. There is a great range of areas covered from China to Spain to Colorado (as usual). It’s always a joy to see somewhere new like China featured and the highlight of this DVD is when we see the locals applauding the first ascent of a boulder in the middle of a village.
This is a well-rounded DVD and everyone should find something interesting on it. There is a small amount of talking which feels just enough to give us a little insight here and there. The music is better than average which is a plus too. The DVD is ideal to be played in the background and I have a feeling this will be one I repeat more than most.
4 stars out of 5
Frequent Flyers Review
This is one of those reviews I had to write immediately. Frequent Flyers is a very enjoyable rock climbing film. It follows some guys as they take a trip around the world with the single intention of bouldering. They start in the States, then go to Europe and the Far East. Bouldering can be pretty boring on TV but this is packed with quality content. I got the feeling they had tonnes of footage and only used a fraction to create a quality bouldering movie.
The production is pretty low-fi with handheld cameras, but it was done well. It really felt like they put the extra effort into getting good shots. The editing was good too and I like the black and white cutaway scenes where the climbers gave us their thoughts. It was a nice touch giving us some snippets of the traveling too. The music is a mixed bunch, it starts pretty repetitively which is good as it blends in well, but there are a few dodgy tracks which were off-putting.
The highlight was certainly New Zealand which will surely go on many climbers’ bucket list after they see this. It looks like a beautiful place to indulge in a long bouldering holiday. The final segment in Japan also deserves a mention just for the vibes of the place and the enthusiastic locals. England looked like a bit of a nightmare (I’m British and can’t stand the rain) but France was a little better.
The climbing is pretty inspiring and the first real scene (of the girl in the yellow top) was awesome. Having so many completely different locations meant there was plenty of variety in the rock and the holds. They didn’t really stop to explore the problems on camera but that is cool as this was a tour de force of many different problems across the globe.
I couldn’t find a Youtube video for this one so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s highly recommended, especially if you love climbing mixed with travel, and of course bouldering.
4 stars out of 5
First Ascent Movie Review
First Ascent is an epic rock climbing movie. It really feels like a cut above the rest in terms of content and quality. There are various locations including Thailand and India. A lot of the action focuses on a Swiss climber called Didier Berthod and his quest to be the first up the Cobra Crack. There are plenty of spoken parts with some interesting characters. Its great to get a quick insight into these guy’s heads.
The climbing is pretty thrilling. It is all based around first ascents of course, which means very challenging routes that nobody else has climbed. Some of the crack climbing looks like a nightmare, but at the same time we get to see how rewarding it is when successfully climbed. There is a good variety including deepwater soloing and big walls.
There are two segments featuring a guy doing comedy sketches. The first is him as a teacher in a primary school while he gives the kids a lesson on the history of climbing. It is excellent and a really welcome change. The guy is very funny. The second bit he does is him pitching to Hollywood producers about him starring in an urban climbing show. It is also pretty amusing.
First Ascent is the first climbing film where I wrote down the name of the directors at the end. As soon as I have done this review I will be searching for anything else they have done and getting it. There was just something enjoyable about this one which will keep me coming back to anything else these guys do. It looks like they might have something do do with Reel Rock too which I loved and will review soon. There is also a First Ascent TV series to check out (pretty sure I caught an episode once where a climber dies in somewhere like China).
First Ascent is not my favorite climbing movie, as it perhaps jumps around too much. It has the best soundtrack I’ve heard on a climbing film, mostly sort of easy listening modern rock (or indie?) which fits very well. Also there are times when music is used to great effect to convey emotions like a success. This will be a DVD that gets more repeat watches than most and I highly recommend it.
4 stars out of 5
First Ascent TV Series Review
This is the first made for TV DVD I have reviewed on this site. After loving the First Ascent movie this was the next logical purchase. This is just as good if not better. Breaking things up into episodes is great. The production levels are obviously higher than most climbing films too, which means we get a no expenses spared selection of worldwide scenes and some awesome camera angles.
The first in this series of 6 episodes follows Alex Honnold as he free solos a 2,000 foot wall in Yosemite Valley. This is apparently quite a famous wall and it certainly looks like a daunting task. No one has free soloed (no rope) such a high wall before. It is a little strange to watch knowing that a fall means death. However, Honnold is a guy who seems to have a very clear head. There are mixed emotions watching this as I couldn’t help feeling that maybe it is being done for the screen. I think that is probably not the truth though. Compelling stuff!
This is a very moving story about a guy who wishes to scatter the ashes of his girlfriend in Patagonia. She was an avid climber from Brazil and her wish was to have her ashes scattered at her favorite mountains in Argentina. This is extremely well filmed and we are privileged that we get to see this special journey. It gets quite close to the end of the episode and there is bad weather. I thought they might not be able to climb after all. Fortunately, they make a first ascent on a single day when the weather breaks. I won’t ruin the ending but it is super cool. For the guy, who really took the death hard, this seems like the perfect way to move on with his life.
This one follows Chris Sharma up a very hard wall. It is a line first spotted 20 or 30 years ago, but has never been climbed. It is another great watch, this time a fun one with plenty of climbing. We also get to see a bit of Sharma history and how he lives in Spain. I’ve seen this episode before as part of a full-length movie. Perhaps it was one of the Reel Rocks? I have a feeling this episode is a longer version as I didn’t recognize some parts with his girlfriend in. The climbing looks like a 300 foot run of hard boulder problems. It is overhanging so we hear lots of Sharma screaming, which is quite funny when he falls off. This is a fantastic watch and full of powerful, difficult movements.
This is one I saw on the Discovery channel once. The fact that this TV format is getting rock climbing into the mainstream is great. I hope more climbing films are made in this format too. I prefer watching shorter episodes rather than a collection of many different places. Anyway, this is the story of 2 climbers and a cameraman who set off for a very ambitious alpine climb in China. It is a daunting task. It all ends in tragedy and this is a welcome reminder how dangerous this sport can be, especially with the rather extreme climbs in some of these episodes.
This is another fantastic story which follows two brothers, one of whom is paralyzed from the waist down. We seem them climb the famous El Capitan in Colorado first. Then they really take it up a notch and attempt a difficult alpine wall in Alaska. This is a heartwarming triumph over adversity. It is not the most exciting episode but it shows us a nice human side with a great love for the outdoors.
What a great way to end this series. This is about a madman who combines free soloing with base jumping. It is really exciting stuff. He is able to attempt difficult climbs. If he falls he swaps the worst thing in the world to the best thing “dying to flying”. This has instantly gone to the top of my bucket list. Pretty sure I have seen this before too, so it could be part of one of the Reel Rocks or something else. It was a delight to watch it again and this episode will get many more replays. Crazy but brilliant!
This is an essential collection for any climber. I really can’t pick a fault with this fantastic selection of stories. This is the second 5 star rated DVD on this site. It has turned me into a big fan of Sender Films who also made the movie of the same name and the excellent Reel Rocks. Visit www.senderfilms.com where you can buy their productions and get more information.
5 stars out of 5 the best rock climbing films collection ever!
E11 climbing film review
E11 stars Dave MacLeod who is a Scottish climber. He also starred in The Long Hope and others like the BBC’s Great Climb. E11 is all about his first ascent of a very difficult line. We get to see some pretty horrendous falls which look extremely painful (see the clip below). There are plenty of scenes with him sharing his thoughts. There are also clips from his wife and shots in his home. This is all a nice touch, although I couldn’t make out all of the words. I’m British so I’m guessing those from the States and elsewhere will have a hard time too. This might be best watched with headphones or on a good sound system.
This film is fairly short at around three-quarters of an hour, but that feels about right. There were some moments when I lost interest a bit, but that was probably due to not being able to make out all of the talking. I would have liked to of seen some more footage of the actual holds, the only one we really got a close up on was the final hold at the top. Some explanation of the moves would have been welcome. I found this lack of focus on the actual climbing a little frustrating, as I did on The Long Hope too. There are some nice cutaway scenes, the highlight being the comedy weather reports which had me laughing out loud at the line “as sticky as shit to a blanket”. The music is mostly British hip hop which makes a nice change.
2.5 stars out of 5
This is a collection of various climbing videos in very different situations. There is unsurprisingly a segment for Chris Sharma, where we see him climbing some tough walls in Spain. There is a section featuring some quality young climbers who focus on very hard boulder problems. An experienced climber ascends a big wall and shows us his passion for the sport. And last but not least Ueli Steck attempts to break the speed record at Mount Eiger.
As you would expect from Sender Films, the production is great. They really seem to go the extra mile to bring us quality footage. For example traveling all the way to Tasmania off the coast of Australia, to try some new climbs in a very isolated region. There is a shortened version of Dean Potters Fly or Die which also features in the First Scent Series. Normally I wouldn’t be happy about seeing something repeated on another DVD, but this is a great little free base film (climbing massive walls with a parachute instead of rope), which is worthy of repeat watches.
This is a well-rounded DVD with video segments to please most tastes. My personal favorite part was the last section which had some beautiful shots at the end, as Steck reached the summit on his speed ice climbing of the Eiger. It doesn’t matter if you are into alpine, big walls, bouldering or adventure. This is quality stuff and highly recommended.
4 stars out of 5
Return 2 Sender Review
Return 2 Sender is an older production (2003) from Sender Films (who I am fixated with at the moment). It doesn’t have the smooth production of the newer releases. It is altogether a more casual affair and this is a good thing (initially). The movie is made up of various short films like Sender’s future releases Reel Rock and First Ascent.
The first film Parallelojams, is all about hard crack climbing. It looks painful but this segment really made me appreciate this style. We get up close and personal with the holds and there are some excellent explanations from the climbers. The whole film is brought to life by the climbing world’s Mr Funny Timmy O’Neill, who makes fun of his peers and generally monkeys around. This combination of comedy and excellent footage makes this one of the best short climbing films I have seen.
Next up is a 10-year-old girl who has a strong passion for hard bouldering. This makes a refreshing change and it is great to see a youngster with such enthusiasm and talent. Then surely a world first, pregnant climbing. This part is just a few minutes long and my guess is that the woman is the director’s wife?
The next film is about Michael Reardon free soloing. It features some good narration from Reardon but this type of footage makes me a little uneasy. So much so that I Googled his name and was disappointed (although not surprised) to discover that he had died climbing, in Ireland. Click here to view the Wikipedia entry.
After a couple of minutes watching dogs climb, we get to see some cool footage of base jumping. Most of which is in a massive hole in the ground. The final section features Timmy O’Neill again, who is attempting a big wall in Greenland with another climber. It is a great location but this one just doesn’t translate well to video. Lots of cutaway scenes and Timmy being silly and no real climbing.
note: Return 2 Sender is worth buying for the first film Parallelojams, which lasts 40+ minutes and is worth 5 stars.
“one of the best short climbing films I have seen”
3 stars out of 5
I was delighted when flicking through some of my new rock climbing DVDs when I realized Pilgrimage was set in Hampi (South India). Sometimes it is nice to watch a climbing film in an exotic setting. Hampi certainly qualifies as an exotic setting. This is a place I went to 15 years ago and I loved it. Although climbing never crossed my mind, the place was etched in my mind as a beautiful area, with a unique landscape of boulders.
Pilgrimage follows Chris Sharma and two other climbers around this region in the South of India for a few weeks. It is a very well made DVD with excellent music. The climbing scenes are interspersed with some welcome cutaway footage of the scenery and climbers talking. Some of the talking parts are inspiring, particularly the moving section with Katie Brown, explaining her rediscovery of her love for climbing.
Having been to (and loved) Hampi I may be biased, so I’ll look for negatives. Perhaps some people will find the bouldering only style here limited. Some even might find it a bit too “hippie” with meditation shots. I guess the production of the film isn’t perfect either. For me, none of this mattered. This was an enjoyable slice of “something different”. It made me want to brave the poverty and “Delhi belly” of India and re-visit the area to join in.
4 stars out of 5
Reel Rock 2011 Review
Reel Rock Film Tour 2011 starts with a beautiful, magical looking piece on ice climbing. The overhanging wall is covered in massive icicles. The two climbers are obviously loving being there and setting up the route. I often think ice climbing looks like a bit of a nightmare, but this really changed my perspective.
The second film goes hardcore with really nasty, cold conditions in Pakistan. This is the type of alpine climbing which is enough to put anyone off. Terrible cold and isolation. But it is a fantastic piece which is helped by the characters on the adventure. The filmmaker narrates with his own doubts which helps us realize the severity of such a task.
Then it is familiar ground as two guys attempt to free climb El Capitan. This means lots of falls and close ups on tough sequences. Although it feels like this wall features a lot in movies, it is nice to see a new twist.
“extraordinary climbing with excellent production and a great bunch of climbers”
9 year old Ashima is next up. This is a wonderful segment. It is really cool to see someone so young have such a natural talent. She is coached by an ex climber (Obe Carrison) who got burned out. His teaching is really important to both of them, as we get to see his love of climbing rekindled through inspiring someone else.
Next up is speed climbing on the Nose of El Capitan. There is quite a history to this one and we get to relive it, plus a present day attempt to break the record. This is a slight downturn in Reel Rock 2011, I found it a bit trivial or something. The attempt to break the record and the story is pretty entertaining though, especially on the first watch. Finally there is something a little different with slack lining, which is a pretty cool watch.
Most of this movie is about extraordinary climbing with excellent production and a great bunch of climbers. There is a perfect combination of focus on the problems and interaction with the climbers themselves. And this is all tied together with great filming and music. It did tail off for me a little towards the end, hopefully the next Reel Rock will really be perfection throughout.
4 stars out of 5
Western Gold Review
Western Gold is one of the more chilled out rock climbing movies. It has a vibe of it’s own. It feels very current with a quality picture and sleek production. It does feel like a low budget film, but a very well made one.
The music is kind of ambient with beats behind it to keep the energy up, on it’s own the music wouldn’t be very good but it fits in very well here. It is the sort of DVD that I imagine would be perfect playing in the background at a climbing store.
The settings are beautiful with luscious greenery and boulders besides rocky rivers or in pine forests. There are lots of good boulder problems on show here from 5 areas in the West of the USA. This appreciation of the surroundings and chilled pace make this a pleasant watch. If you have had a hard day of activity this would be a good choice for some pretty relaxed viewing.
This is one of the more impressive bouldering films and is especially recommended for lovers of boulders in scenic areas. It is visually very attractive and runs smoothly, so I think most people will enjoy this one. The picture looks especially good on a high quality screen. You can get it from http://savagefilms.net/store/. It looks like this is the first DVD Savage Films has created, hopefully there will be lots more to come.
3.5 stars out of 5
The Players Review
The Players follows the familiar format of short climbing films collected together in one movie. This release does it better than most. There are the expected bouldering films set in places like Colorado. But the real bonus here is that there are also some cool locations abroad too.
The China segment is interesting but a little short. The Vietnam deepwater soloing film is my favorite part. I’m a big fan of climbing videos set in exotic locations like this. It looks like the perfect climbing holiday. Hire a boat and explore, and what better area than Halong Bay in Vietnam which is famous for it’s natural beauty. I like the little invention of golf gloves with rubber on for deepwater soloing, wonder if it will catch on?
Anyway back to The Players. The climbers are obviously all talented and there are some familiar faces like Chris Sharma, Lisa Rands and Daniel Woods. They all explain why they are “players” in climbing which is a good excuse to get them to tell us about their passion, and their place in the climbing world.
For me, this is the perfect type of movie because it is all about the climbing, which is complemented perfectly by narration from the climbers and cool music. There are lots of difficult and powerful moves. It also features a good deal of variety which keeps it interesting all the way through.
4 stars out of 5
Reel Rock 7 (2012) Review
The Reel Rock 7 Tour was a world wide success, with more climbing fans turning out than ever before. Sender Films took the tour to many countries across the globe. Now they have released the DVD, which features four climbing films. The past two years saw 2 very good movies released which weren’t quite great. This time they have done it! Reel Rock 2012 earns 5 stars from Gripping Flicks for being as close to climbing film perfection as you can get.
The difference is that there is now a true focus on quality over quantity. There are just 4 films this year compared to 6 in 2011. This means no veering off the main topic with base jumping, slack lines or anything else. Each of the four films is devoted enough time to really shine. It is a far cry from Sender Films old release Return2Sender, which was a mis-mash of lots of different sized pieces which just didn’t quite flow right. Reel Rock 2012 is a collection of four excellent pieces which all stand alone as excellent reels. Lets take at look at them all:
Chris Sharma and the man who could be set to take over the “old man’s throne”. Sharma lives in Spain trying to set up ever harder sport routes. It is great to see him pushing himself and the sport to new levels. Adam Ondra is the new kid on the block who climbs on breaks from school. It is cool seeing the baton being passed over from one master to another. Ondra is not used to defeat which he must accept on the super hard route. We see him learn from the old master (he’s only in his early 30s lol). Ondra’s frustration looks like it is making him crazy, but he learns that patience is the key from the relaxed Sharma, who is obviously climbing for fun rather than competition.
Next up we get to witness an amazing film covering two ascents of the Shark’s Fin in India. The Himalayas is a magical place and the Shark’s Fin is known as the center of the world for Indians. This is an epic tale of triumph over adversity. This film could easily have been a feature-length movie. It is jam-packed with adventure, background story and a beautiful location. Without wanting to spoil the story, let’s just say that this is a true gripping flick. Dangerous, challenging and ultimately rewarding for the climbers who are willing to put it all on the line to achieve lifelong dreams. Inspiring and thrilling stuff.
The third segment is the one that sticks out as something a little different. We follow two Brits as they attempt to break into the ultra-tough world of off-size crack climbing. These youngsters have no rock to practice on in the UK, so they set up a kind of torture chamber in their basement to practice on for 2 years. Crack climbing is thrilling to watch because it is so difficult, off-size cracks are even more difficult as these are the ones which don’t fit your hand in. We see some hardened American veterans stating that these young Brits don’t have a chance. Next, we see the Brits fly over to try their hand at it for real. They begin by failing miserably. But they soon get into their groove and the veterans are soon eating their words.
Finally, we get to see Honnold 3.0 which is an amusingly fitting name for this film. Alex Honnold is a fascinating character and we see a transition from “climbing geek” to a man with a girlfriend. It is nice to see that he sucks at bouldering, which should prove inspirational for those who feel in awe of the likes of Sharma.
With Honnold, it seems to be his lack of fear and amazing precision which are his best attributes. When he tries the higher bouldering problems he comes into his element. It is the impossible which he is so capable of doing. Of course, it isn’t called Honnold 3.0 because he has a new girlfriend or because it is the third film with him.
It is called 3.0 because he is attempting to climb “the triple”, 3 big walls in Yosemite, in a day, without a rope. It is not free soloing because he does make use of bolts, but he is constantly switching between the safety of the bolts and nothing. Will he fall? Will he fail? Will he Make it? Check out the DVD to find out. Reel Rock 2012 is available from the Sender Films website here.
5 stars out of 5 one of the best rock climbing movies ever made
Odyssey is a British climbing movie which follows a small group around England.
Odyssey really shows an appreciation for the English countryside. The camera work is excellent and there is a real focus on location rather than just climbing. It feels very well crafted and is visually very pleasant to watch. The pretty chilled out music is perfect as it just adds to the atmosphere.
There is plenty of talk about the British way of not using bolts. This gives the film a solid theme all the way through. It makes a nice change to see so much trad climbing in great locations.
This is quite a slow-paced watch. Don’t expect super difficult climbing. Instead, this is a great change of pace from the standard format of lots of bouldering and loud music. I highly recommend this, it has certainly provided me with a new enthusiasm for films from the UK.
3 stars out of 5
King Lines Review
The standard format for climbing movies is to bunch together a collection of short films of different climbers in various locations. Some movies go down the route of a person or group of climbers on a single route. King Lines combines these two as it follows one man in various locations around the world. That man is the world’s number one climber Chris Sharma. We get to see a little history including his family home and his first climbing instructor. We hear the story of how it all began for him and see his “job”. The job is basically enjoying hard adventure climbing everywhere and anywhere.
King Lines starts with some deep water soloing in Spain. The locations are beautiful and Chris focuses on a very attractive arch above the water in Mallorca. We see him compete in a competition too in Spain, as well as attempt a really big overhanging wall. Later he climbs a big wall with his friend and original climbing instructor in the States. This wall features crack climbing which is always exciting to watch. Towards the end, he sets off on a trek to a spectacular, remote region of Venezuela. They experience a lot of rain but it looks like a really cool place to discover new boulder problems.
The movie was produced by Big Up Productions and Sender Films. It was released in 2007, so it isn’t quite as polished production-wise as some more recent flicks, but it is still excellent. The music compliments the scenes well. Sharma is a pleasant, humble character who keeps things consistent. The climbing itself is difficult and powerful, which makes it fun to watch. There is plenty of variation in disciplines too. This is one of my favorite climbing DVDs and I highly recommend it.
4.5 stars out of 5
The Scene Review
The Scene was released in August 2011. As the title suggests this climbing movie is all about climbing scenes in different places for different people. It starts well with remote areas of the USA and the people who live there to climb. Later we see competition climbing in Austria. Finally, we check out the Spanish scene.
Production wise it is pretty good, not on a part with Sender Film’s polished releases but certainly better than average. I did feel that there was a lack of camera angles in some parts and I was bending my head sometimes to get my bearings on the walls. On the Spain film I found it very annoying that the subtitles were often white on a white background, how hard can it be to make them readable?
The movie features plenty of interesting characters and the concept of getting them to explain their own climbing world works brilliantly (although I felt that I have seen the Chris Sharma story in Spain on other DVDs). It really makes this more than just a collection of climbing clips. It was filmed in HD and can be purchased on Blu-ray (maybe if you watch it in this format on a quality TV those subtitles will be readable). The director also made Pure and Core, two DVDs on my to-buy list.
3.5 stars out of 5
Which is the best rock climbing movie of all time?
Simply put Asgard Jamming is the greatest rock climbing movie ever made. It combines great characters with a real sense of adventure and enjoyment.
The First Ascent TV series wins the award for the best collection of rock climbing films.
Sender Films always produce great content with Reel Rock 7 being a standout from their climbing archive.
Finally, don’t forget the short climbing film Parallelojams.