The goal of this climbing expedition to Namibia was not only to find a way up an explored face, but also to delve deeper into the culture of southern Africa. Climbers Majka Burhardt, Peter Doucette and Kate Rutherford attempt a trip that is as much about experiencing a way of life as it is about feeling the adrenaline rush of adventure.
At the beginning of this terrific short, Renan Ozturk (director of the award-winning Samsara at Mountainfilm 2009) addresses how disconnected an expedition and a film can be, which happens simply because of the time that elapses between the two. So he and mountaineer Corey Bradshaw “go rogue,” as they call it, and file video dispatches from their attempt at the first ascent of Nepal’s 6,000-meter Tawoche Himal. The film takes these individual pieces and ties them together in one well-made film that lets a challenging trip unfold as it happens. This talented director also has two other films in this festival: Khumbu Climbing Class 2010 and Living the Dream.
Take a rope, stretch it taut across a yawning gorge, and then walk across it while tethered only by a leash and harness. This is the formula for high lining—an intense and highly exposed sport that athlete Robin Avery and friends practice over a precipitous canyon in this short film about heights, exposure and the relationship between man and a thin blue line.
Today, many climbers ascend Yosemite’s famous Half Dome in just a few hours. But how would they fare all alone with no partner, no rope and just a thousand feet of air between them and the ground? Meet Alex Honnold. He’s 23, tall, unassuming and kind of goofy. He’s also a calm, collected super-athlete who is pioneering new territory by free soloing big walls. Alone on the Wall, one of Sender Films’ First Ascent series, follows Alex as he completes two ground-breaking projects: free soloing Zion’s Moonlight Buttress and Yosemite’s Half Dome. In the world of climbing, free soloing is rare, and in the world of free soloing, nobody else attempts such big walls. His climbing is exceptional, but it’s his composure, focus and utter calm that make such an impression.