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The 6 Best Rock Climbing Films To Get Your Climbing Fix

Rock climbing fans, don’t miss any of the movies on this list of the best rock climbing movies ever made! Sit down and get ready to enjoy Free Solo and other amazing rock-climbing films, climbing documentaries, basically everything you could want related to rock-climbing!

Free Solo

Free Solo is an absolutely amazing, Oscar award-winning rock climbing documentary about rock climber Alex Honnold. 

After many years of contemplation, Honnold realizes he will, and he must climb a 900-meter vertical rock face in Yosemite National Park, California – without any ropes. Alone.

What Honnold sets his sights on involves risk of death so great (duh) that even the most hardcore rock climbers wouldn’t dare attempt this wall without being belayed. But lets face it, this guy it totally nuts. Very brave, interesting and awe-inspiring, but totally nuts.

The film provides an intimate look into Honnold’s mind- how he prepares, how he thinks, even how he dates. It becomes clear Honnold eats, sleeps, breathes climbing, and he has no qualms about living in a shabby van if it means he can climb. The audience also watches as Honnold’s girlfriend (who frankly deserves an award) supports him along the way.

The story of Alex Honnold’s free solo climb is a downright riveting must-watch rock-climbing movie, even those who aren’t rock climbers will find it totally evocative.

Age of Ondra

Age of Ondra is a rock climbing film featuring the lesser known Adam Ondra. But Ondra is widely recognized to the rock-climbing community as one of the strongest rock climbers of 2010 (if not the strongest!). Having successfully climbed a large number of the most difficult routes in the world, watch this 25 year-old Czech native as he prepares to push himself further than he ever has before.

If you thought Honnold was a bit strange, just watch this guy as he does all kinds of weird things to prepare for his epic climbs. For example, he is seen lying on the ground, imitating movements he would do as he climbs, and screaming a lot while he’s at it. But hey, judging him feels pretty stupid when you see the rock faces he scales afterwards.

Nicknamed “the weirdo” by Alex Honnold, watch his outbursts as he sets out to climb Reel Rock 5.15 in a single attempt. This film is a must-see for true climbing fans, as Ondra barely touches anything below level 9 routes, the highest level of difficulty there is. 

Africa Fusion

The next stunning rock-climbing movie to watch is Africa Fusion. This is another Alex Honnold fan club piece. It’s hard to escape the guy when it comes to rock climbing, but he’s so brilliant to watch, it’s much more enjoyable to stay captive.

Watch Alex Honnold and his climbing partner, Hazel Findlay from the United Kingdom jet off to South Africa for the climbing adventure of a lifetime. Chasing wall faces all over South Africa and Namibia, Alex Honnold continues to do what he does best, free rock climb without ropes. Maybe that’s why films featuring Alex Honnold are such nail-biters- he’s always just on the brink of death.

Fully aware of the risks he takes, like a fish to the water watch Honnold climb stunning cliffs, tackle the SpitzKoppe in the desert, and explore the jungle of Waterval Boven. 

The Dawn Wall

This epic rock-climbing film focuses on one particularly ominous section of El Capitan, which is brightly illuminated each day by the morning sun. Hence has been given the name, the Dawn Wall. But this section of rock is so steep, and so technical, not one climber had attempted it before the film’s star, Tommy Caldwell, and Kevin Jorgeson.

For starters, two of Yosemite’s most difficult pitches are located right in the middle of the Dawn Wall. The wall also lacks large vertical crack features, which climbers can easily use to stick their hands and feet into as they ascend up a wall.

In order to prepare to climb the Dawn Wall, Tommy Caldwell spent two years drilling bolts by hand into the rock at 45- minutes a bolt. He also had to spend that time remembering the sequence of the route to a tee in order to plan out how he would link up each and every move. 

The thing is, Caldwell is no ordinary dude. After a rock climbing trip in Kirghizstan, he and his group were taken hostage. Ultimately, Tommy Caldwell had to push his captor off the side of a mountain to escape. And that certainly didn’t leave him unscathed.

This film is am award-winning, must-see, riveting look at Caldwell, and his amateur climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson, as they ascend the stunning Dawn Wall. 

Meru

Meru is an American rock-climbing and mountaineering film documenting the first ever ascent of Shark ‘s Way on the Meru peak, located in the Indian Himalayas. The film was produced by Veteran climber Jimmy Chan and his partner Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, and stars Conrad Anker. Meru also won Audience Award for Best American Documentary at the 2015 Sundance Film.

This section of the mountain is considered as exceptionally difficult, and involves incredibly technical rock climbing skills near the peak. Heavy climbing gear must also must be carried to the summit. Often considered as the most coveted line in the entirety of the Himalayas, this film offers a raw look at the realities and dangers of climbing rock faces such as these.

One can’t help but wonder why on earth these people feel the need to do this. But passion has a way of taking humans to their limits and beyond, and this film accurately shows just how deep those passions run on Meru peak.

Assault on El Capitan

This rock-climbing documentary follows 42 year-old Ammon McNeely and his partner, 22 year-old Kait Barber as they make the second ever attempted ascent on the Wings of Steel route on El Capitan.

Wings of Steel is known to be the most controversial climb on El Capitan. This 305-meter section is basically a giant vertical slab, categorized as a grade VI big wall, on the Southwest Face, left of the Dihedral Wall. But much like great surf spots, local climbers are highly possessive of this route.

In 1983, the initial climb was made by Mark Smith and Richard Jensen. The two were harrassed relentlessly. The climbers had never made any climbs this difficult before, so their presence felt unappreciated and disrespectful to Yosemite valley natives. The harassment was severe- they were attacked and cornered in parking lots and grocery stores. Threats were made to blow up their vehicle and implications made they would be murdered in the forest. Talk about territorial!

Assault on El Capitan follows the pair as they bravely take on this forbidden route. The documentary dives deep into the lives of the next generation as they attempt to climb this difficult wall, while simultaneously confronting the controversy within the climbing community 30 years in the making.