My plan to go to my first Reel Rock Film Show was a bust: all tickets for the SF and Emeryville showings were sold out. In lieu of going to the show, I watched First Ascent, a six-episode documentary on free soloists – pro climbers who scale enormous cliff-sides and mountains without ropes or parachutes.
If you find yourself feeling consumed by the sport, First Ascent will pump you up even more. Free-soloists are death-defying rockstar climbers, risking certain death with every climb they make without anything to break a fall (except the ground).
Take Alex Honnold, 26, of Sacramento, Ca. He’s the guy on the cover of the First Ascent disk set. Only less than 1% of all climbers attempt a free solo ascent, and some do fall to their deaths. Luckily (if luck as anything to do with it), Honnold has been successful in all of his conquests, making him a rockstar in the climbing community.
Watching the film did get me more excited about climbing, but it also got me thinking about what kind of animal you have to be to scale solid walls of granite. Only having been climbing for about two months, I’m nowhere near as skilled as even a few of the climbers I meet at the rock gym. However, I already find myself seeing the things around me differently. When I saw a crack in a wall of a building yesterday, I thought to myself, “nice. no need for a ladder to get the second floor.” That might not be normal but the point is that climbing seems to change perspective on life and surroundings, and maybe the reason Honnold is able to free-climb 2,00-feet of granite on his own is that he doesn’t think like the rest of us.
There’s another showing of Reel Rock in Walnut Creek on Thursday. I might go, and you should think about going too.