First Ascent: The Complete Series DVD£29.95, added Mar/2011, see all Sender Films news & reviews
Reviewed by Dominic Green
There are some gems hidden in here. In the wonky, crazy-paced narrative of 'Alone on the Wall' we are watching Alex Honnold have a complete meltdown in the middle of one of the greatest free solos ever done. Seeing him get himself back into the mindset to finish the climb, standing on a ledge which peters out into blankness 1800 feet up on Half Dome. Any climber who has had a hairy moment in their own climbing could only watch with admiration as Honnold pulls himself into the space he needs to be in and finishes the route - epic.
All the films give us glimpses of great things. Whether it be the agony of losing a life partner ('Patagonia Promise'), the strength of brotherly love ('Brother's Wild') or the stellar climbing career of Chris Sharma in the "Impossible Climb'. The poignance of the film the 'Point of no Return' is powerful.
But, frustratingly the music all too eagerly rushes in to tell us that it's all OK and we don't need to worry too much, the film makers are at too great pains to spare our feelings. The presentation is impressively slick, the subject material really interesting.
You get the sense that this is still grass roots film made from within the community of climbers attempting to make sense of the breadth of the sport for a non-climbing audience.
This is the kind of DVD that makes for a decent watch with a few mates over a pizza and beer. If your climbing gets shut down on a wet weekend in Llanberis bring a laptop and chuck this on for a watch.
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