Climbing Films and the Future

It’s prime time for climbing on the big screen. Free Solo just won an Oscar, and most of us have yet to come down from The Dawn Wall. The treasure trove of content that the video and production teams were able to capture in these films in simply stunning. National Geographic, Sender Films and so many other organizations are out there capturing amazing moments and sharing them with the world, and new generations of climbers are getting fired up to begin their climbing careers.

Who knows what will happen with climbing in the coming decades. Technology has already had a drastic impact on the sport, and not just the cameras and drones that make this new genre of videography possible. The evolution of climbing shoes with sticky rubber and strategic edges has made routes that were once though impossible, very possible. Advancements in rock protection - lighter, faster, safer equipment - has opened up new possibilities in traditional climbing. Interestingly enough, while free soloing involves no technology other than rock shoes, preparing for free solo attempts involves all of the technology.

One fun question that pops up in conversation from time to time is “What happens when we have biotic arms?” (or some similar variation on the question. “Would you take them so you can climb harder, or would reducing or removing the physical challenge make the sport less engaging and rewarding?” Thoughts like these definitely get the wheels spinning. In the meantime, check out Free Solo, The Dawn Wall, and don’t forget about Meru, Valley Uprising and all the rest. Cheers to the future!

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Ryan Cavender