“Reel Rock 12,” released by Sender Films and Big UP Productions, will premiere four short climbing films in their annual tour that promise to deliver action, humor and inspiration. This year’s lineup features Margo Hayes, the first woman to climb a 5.15 grade; Brad Gobright, an up-and-coming free soloist; the return of Chris Sharma to the deep-water soloing stage; and Maureen Beck, a one-handed climber who tackles tough overhanging boulders.
“The Reel Rock Film Tour continues to grow and evolve each year,” festival cofounder Peter
Mortimer said in a press release. “The films have always brought the climbing world together, but with the ever-increasing number of events now accompanying the screenings, climbing greats and fans alike can compete, network, socialize and give back to the community.”
The tour kicks off with premiere events in New York City, Seattle and Boulder in early November and will screen at over 500 locations worldwide, including Bozeman on Nov. 8. Below is a brief description of the documentary shorts showing during this year’s tour.
“Break On Through”
In high-end modern rock climbing, 5.15 is the top of the difficulty scale, a grade achieved by only a few men and never by a woman. Margo Hayes, a little known 19-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, is determined to change that. To be closer to the world’s hardest routes, she has moved to Europe, where she trains and climbs with the goal of succeeding on two of the most iconic 5.15 routes in France and Spain. But pushing her body and mind to the absolute limit, she risks injury and failure in her quest to be the first.
“Above the Sea”
Chris Sharma remains the world’s greatest practitioner of deep water soloing—climbing ropeless above the sea. Ten years after his generation-defining ascent of a majestic arch, Sharma returns to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca where he discovers a beautiful, sweeping wall with small holds running up its face. If he can link the moves, and endure the numerous heart-stopping plunges into the sea, he will establish what may be the world’s hardest deep water solo climb.
For most climbers, it’s safety first. But Brad Gobright is definitely not like most climbers. Fueled by day-old donuts and unhindered by a fear of falling, this young talent is pushing the limits of traditional and free solo ropeless climbing. Having survived a few big scares, Gobright is determined to make his boldest ascent yet—a first-ever free solo of an exposed and difficult route.
Maureen Beck may have been born missing her lower left arm, but that hasn’t stopped her from going hard. She pushes her “stump” to the limit, takes whippers on a 5.12, and crushes overhanging boulders, while shotgunning beers between burns. But she is not here to be your inspiration. “People say, ‘Look, a one-armed climber, now I have no excuses.’ I’m like, ‘dude, you never had any excuses in the first place.’” A fascinating profile of a fascinating rock climber.
The Bozeman showing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture in Bozeman. For more information visit reelrocktour.com.