Articles - Beginner's Guide: Climbing Films
Jamie Maddison - Posted on 07 Sep 2009
And so, if you a new to climbing or climbing films, we have listed five of the best that you positively have to see; whether you beg, plead, borrow or just buy to watch them.
Hard Grit (1998)
The film that changed the world: Hard Grit is regarded by many as 'the' climbing film. Chronicling the elite gritstone ascents of the late 1990s, Hard Grit inspired a whole generation to the merits of traditional headpointing in conquering routes thought too hard or too dangerous to otherwise be climbed. Not as sleek or as sexy looking as it’s modern counterparts, Hard Grit remains a timeless classic regardless; one that every climber should watch at least once in their lives (unless they do not wish to lose the onsight of Gaia!).
Further Information: http://www.slackjaw.co.uk/climbingfilms/hardgrit.html
If Hard Grit’s core message was of the merits headpointing and repeated practice, Onsight makes the powerful counter-statement on the need to return to ground-up, onsight climbing. Superbly shot, edited and created by visionary director Alastair Lee, Onsight is a modern classic; one that will have your palms sweating with sheer the anticipation about what is going to happen next. Superb.
Further Information: http://www.posingproductions.com/product.php?form_action=detail&product_id=186
A modest film in the extreme, E11 largely avoids grand moral commentary on the ethics of climbing and instead focuses solely on one climber’s life and on his one, albeit exceedingly hard, project. E11 is a touching account of the sacrifices, and also the rewards, gained from living a life obsessed with climbing the hardest that you could possibly climb. It is a film that I think all climbers can relate to.
Further Information: http://www.hotaches.com/films.htm
Stone Monkey (1987)
Stone Monkey couldn’t be more 80s if it tried: horrendous spandex outfits, comic acting and really, I mean really, cringe-worthy music. And yet, this short film (only 25 minutes long) is a slice of living history. Stone Monkey is like the video equivalent of looking at an old pre-war climbing photograph; it chronicles a time that today’s younger generation have no knowledge of, when climbing held a completely different set of social and ethical values. If ever there was a film to remember the important achievements of that decade, Stone Monkey is the one. It also features Johnny Dawes being Johnny Dawes, which, if you know of the man, always makes highly entertaining viewing!
Further Information: http://www.johnnydawes.com/
First Ascent (2006)
Perhaps an unlikely candidate for the top five, First Ascent is an American film that features all the typical American stereotypes; ‘rad’ lines, ‘gnarly’ cracks and enough trash-talking, power-screaming Yanks to make us European-types cringe with embarrassment. And yet, First Ascent’s brilliant cinematography and happy-go lucky ‘climb-hard-and-see-what-happens’ attitude will eventually win you over. A film to put on when it’s bucketing it down outside and all options of a day’s cragging have gone out of the window.
Further Information: http://www.senderfilms.com/