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

Valley Uprising Review History of rock climbing in Yosemite
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Valley Uprising Review Reel Rock 9

Reel Rock 9 is a climbing history lesson. This review of Valley Uprising is the first review I have done on this website 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.

valley uprising review reel rock 9

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 of 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 at www.valleyuprising.com. 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.

reel rock 9 Dean Potter reviewed

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 film makers, so more than one movie a year would be great 😉


ps. What a funny coincidence I chose the exact same frame for my first image above as Sender Films did for the trailer.

4 / 5 stars