The Most Popular Climbing Films – Part 3


Based around the events that occurred in the 1996 Everest disaster this outing from 2015 shows the horrors that can occur when humans are well out of their natural environment. The star studded cast here features big hitters like Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington and Jake Gyllenhaal who work their collective acting skills together to make for a truly dramatic and convincing depiction of what happened here. The story tells of a group ascending the great mountain under the supervision of Rob Hall the leader of the expedition who is so certain of his return that he leaves his pregnant wife behind assuring her he will be back in time for the birth. With a bunch of others including both professional and amateur climbers ready to hit the trail upward, the group stomp over rocks and through snow to the top. But as we have seen before this is only half of the battle, soon a violent storm hits and makes the route back down deadlier than any of the group could have expected. This film remains a cautionary tale as several fatalities result as do the long term injuries that the survivors escape with.

127 Hours

This blend of both the Hollywood skills and budget mixed with the real life story and astonishingly close point of view style make this film hard to ignore. Veteran Filmmaker Danny Boyle tells the story of real life canyoneer Aron Ralston who faced disaster unexpectedly. The entire film centers around Aron who is played by James Franco, from the moment he wakes up to seemingly every minute that follows. While traversing over some rocks in a regular hike, Aron eventually stumbles through a hole and lands with a boulder crushing his hand. This then begins an opportunity for Aron to make a dairy with the camera he still has on him and simultaneously starts the countdown for his life. The shocking events that happen afterwards remain burned into the minds of viewers everywhere as Aron goes to great lengths to secure his survival. The cinematography, score and indeed almost solo performance here make this film a must see feat of human endurance.

Free Solo

This is the climbing film on everyone’s lips at the minute. After its win for best documentary at the Academy Awards, Free Solo is responsible for bringing climbing back into the mainstream once again. With climbers and filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin who were behind Meru now putting their skills into this feature, its no wonder that this film marks the time where someone attempts to best all previous efforts. This time Alex Honnold attempts the life threatening challenge of climbing the El Capitan free solo, which unlike before means no safety equipment. Of course, this immediately amps up the ante on this film which could go horribly wrong at any moment. With his family and girlfriend both torn between letting him live his dream and fearing for his life the climb commences and is tense every step and grab along the way. No doubt one of the films closest to disaster in this genre as any, Free Solo shows the extremes of what climbing and humans can achieve.