Reel Rock 14: Mountain Film Festival

I can’t start writing this post without a mention of the tragic news in the climbing community of the death of Brad Gobright, a talented free solo climber who featured in the Film festival we saw only a few days before. On film he seemed to be a truly genuine guy with a passion for climbing. Without doubt it will reinforce some of the need for safety procedures in climbing as well as the pursuit of being the best, fastest, most daring in the sport. A true inspiration and not to be forgotten.

We recently attended Reel Rock film festival in Milan, that had been screened across cities in Italy and globally. Organised by our friend Mozerella Max, who won the prize for having bought the most tickets, we packed in to an old fashion theatre to see some of the most up and coming films of the moment.

The first documented the climber Nina Williams and her pursuit as a woman of free solo routes around North America. She was daring, some might say insane, scaling 40m rocks without rope. Her van life seemed like every climbers dream, although her boyfriend seemed more stressed than most!

The second short film was a heartwarming tale of how the climbing community bonded with a tight knit mormon town in Joe’s Valley, Utah. The discovery of fantastic bouldering in the 80’s disrupted a very secluded and reserved town. Believing the ‘mattresses’ that were carried on the ‘dirtbags’ backs were out to attack their town, hostility between the two parties grew. One climber took the initiative to participate in a town clean up, which left the residents delighted and happy to arrange further events. The town is now a hub for climbing, selling gear, food supplies and rental items in the local supermarket, while one couple converted their front room to provide a much needed quality coffee. Such an admirable story of how climbing can bring people together.

The final film documented the legends Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell in their pursuit of the fastest speed climb of the nose, a face in the Yosemite national park, the first summit of it took 7 days. They were attempting a sub 2 hour route, after two newbies, Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds had shot to fame with their record breaking risk and speed. The planning was precise and involved a lot of risk vs time gain analysis. With Tommy a father and Alex a relatively risk averse climber, the two struggled at first to attain the time set by Brad and Jim Reynolds. The film then sees them beating the record and finally surpassing the sub 2 hour mark. Much to Tommy’s wife’s delight, they won’t be attempting any quicker any time soon!

The combination of independent climbing films inspired us and energised a need to improve our climbing level to strive for exciting future trips. It was also great to revel in the achievements of the climbing community, both within the sport and in building communities. I would definitely recommend for future tours!

Do you know of any other independent climbing films? Have you been to any similar festivals? Drop me a message!

Love Zo xx

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