While doing the rounds at Outdoor Retailer last week, I bumped into one of my favorite people on the planet, Billy Brown, who just so happened to have an extra pass to the Reel Rock film tour‘s advance screening of the new Valley Uprising documentary. The upcoming film release hadn’t even crossed my mind, so I was stoked to get to catch a sneak peek at it. I was expecting to just get a brief taste of the documentary, but we ended up being treated to the full (though not fully edited yet) film.
(Oh and I met Hans Florine – my opening line to him was “I can totally hold your cheese if you want!” Yeah. He didn’t let me hold it.)
The short story is: I left with sweaty palms, a full heart, and the immediate need to buy another van and go shred my hands on granite in Yosemite National Park. It was phenomenal. The long story is these eight reasons why you should absolutely attend a screening (or host your own):
1. Lynn Hill kicking ass.
I honestly don’t feel much of a need to elaborate on this one. If you’re a climber, you know who Lynn Hill is – and if you don’t you need to go hang your head in shame for a very, very long time. This documentary takes a look back at her roots, her historic accomplishments, and her crusade as the most influential woman in climbing.
2. Remember that time a plane full of weed from South America crashed in the Yosemite backcountry and climber’s salvaged all the reefer wreckage? Yeah. There’s that.
3. Get a little history lesson.
The number one problem with the new generation of climbers is that we don’t know enough about where “our people” came from. When you start climbing in a gym, you miss out on the tall tales and historical legends you hear out at the crag – and kids these days need a good dose of the past to fully be able to respect the future of climbing.
4. Learn some respect for your elders.
“We had a purpose: only through climbing can you find yourself
– and bullshit like that.”
Playing off the history lesson, Valley Uprising will make you realize how lame you really are compared to the real dirtbags who pioneered Yosemite. These folks were real bandits, evading the law and surviving off sustenance that would make your canned beans and rice look like classy cuisine.
5. Dean Potter saying things like “Climbing will always be an outlaw pursuit.”
6. Because, climbers are so rock & roll.
Fueled by adrenaline and alcoholism, these dudes were true rock stars. They pushed the boundaries of possibility, brought bottles of sherry up big walls, got arrested by park rangers, and left the ladies with enamored with their legendary lifestyles. I mean, they pillaged a drug-smuggler’s plane wreck to fund their shenanigans – it doesn’t get more rock & roll than that, kids.
7. Fall in love with Yosemite.
I know this is pretty much blasphemy, but I don’t always really love Yosemite valley. Nowadays there are too many crowds and too much concrete – and let’s not even talk about how the camping situation. I’m salty about Yosemite, but this film softened me to the core and reminded me why the valley is such an important place for every climber. The granite formations and pure magic of Yosemite are unlike any other place on the planet. Every inch of the park is teeming with history, beauty, and wildness (well, maybe not some parts of the valley, but you can still find wildness if you look hard enough). There’s a reason so many climbers have found themselves hopeless addicted to Yosemite throughout so many decades.
8. It’s unlike any Reel Rock film before.
Unifies multiple generations of climbers and stories though a single place. The cinematography is superb. The editing is some next level wizardry that brings old photos and video footage to life with movement and emotion.
Not convinced yet? Check out the trailer: