The Hamilton Outing Club recently brought the 10th annual installment of the Reel Rock Film Tour to campus. Reel Rock is a traveling film festival showcasing some of the year’s most outstanding feats of rock climbing and climbing cinematography.
Reel Rock 10—the show that played to a packed crowd in the Bradford Auditorium—consisted of five short films, each with a unique focus. One documented a grueling alpine first ascent deep in Patagonia while another delved into the world of “highball bouldering” where climbers tackle strenuous routes as much as 45 feet above the ground with only pads to break a fall, should they make any missteps. A tribute to the late Dean Potter (a well-known climber and BASE jumper who passed this summer), a piece on a 24-hour endurance climbing competition held each year in Arkansas, and an extended preview of a forthcoming documentary covering Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson’s historic accomplishment of climbing Yosemite’s Dawn Wall this past winter rounded out the offerings.
The films of Reel Rock are consistent crowd pleasers and this year was no different. “I thought it was really fun,” commented Michael Nelson ’16, himself a climber and staff member at Hamilton’s climbing wall. “It was super cool to see a lot of people interested in climbing come together and watch some of the best athletes in the sport perform,” he added. The tone and subject matter of the film shown in Reel Rock change each year as the festival evolves. “This year focused a lot more on the emotions and stories behind climbing than just the physical feat,” said Nelson. “You could really see that for the people in the films, climbing was more than just a fun thing but a way for them to engage with their thoughts and their fears.”
Reel Rock will return next year. In the meantime members of HOC eagerly anticipate a visit from the Banff Mountain Film Festival this coming winter, a perennial favorite where the films extend beyond climbing into films covering everything from fly-fishing to the environmental impacts of dam removal.