On Wednesday September 29, 350 rock-climbing enthusiasts packed themselves into the Tower Theater for a showing of 6 rock-climbing films—First Round First Minute, The Hardest Move, Origins: The Hulk, Down and Out and Under, Fly or Die and the Swiss Machine. This is the fifth time that the Reel Rock Tour has visited Salt Lake City, and the fan base in the area has grown a tremendous amount. Tower Theater was packed to the gills.
The first film was First Round First Minute, an overview of the latest goings-on of Chris Sharma, who moved to the rock-climbing mecca of Catalunya, Spain. Sharma’s climbing was some of the most visually stunning climbing I’ve ever seen on film. Next up was The Hulk. This film recorded Peter Croft and Lisa Rands’ ascent of one of the most challenging faces in the Sierras. This film is a must-see, as the height of The Hulk and the intensity of Rands’ climbing will keep you on the edge of your seat. Fly or Die was the third film that was shown. This one was by far my favorite of the night. Dean Potter has taken rock-climbing to a scary new level by combining his love of rock-climbing and BASE-jumping into one sport: Free-Base. Basically, Potter climbs multi-thousand foot walls with no rope, only a parachute. I strongly suggest this film to anybody, rock-climbing fan or not. Down and Out and Under was a weak film. I first realized I wasn’t enjoying it when three minutes had passed and I hadn’t seen any actual rock-climbing. Of the little climbing there was in the film, it was pretty cool to watch what climbing Australia has to offer, but that’s about as far as it goes.
After the intermission, the last two films were shown. The Hardest Move is a film chronicling the competition of two bouldering gurus, Daniel Woods and Paul Robinson. Although the sport itself is a lot of fun, this film was rather repetitive. Showing the same moves over and over gets dull very fast and I wish there would’ve been a more diverse set of locations. Lastly, Ueli Steck stars in the Swiss Machine. This film features Steck’s fast-paced climbing as he takes “the fast light alpine style to big, really technical faces.” The Swiss Machine follows Steck as he climbs various faces in the Alps, and on to Yosemite Valley in California with fellow speed-climber Alex Honnold.
Whether you’re a rock-climbing fan or not, be sure to catch the Reel Rock Tour next year as they tour through Salt Lake City as they have a variety of films you are sure to enjoy.