Reviews of Rock Climbing Movies. Reviews by a beginner level climber with a fascination for quality climbing films.

review Reel Rock 7 2012

Reel Rock 7 (2012)

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 Grippping Ficks 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:

Adam Ondra in Reel Rock 2012The DVD starts in Spain with “the world’s number 1 climber” 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.

Alpine climbing in Reel Rock 7Next 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, lets 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 life long dreams. Inspiring and thrilling stuff.

Off size crack climbingThe 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.

Alex Honnold The Triple 2012Finally 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 / 5 stars