King Lines

WINNER OF THE 2007 GRAND PRIZE AT THE KENDAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL AND THE 2007 BEST CLIMBING FILM AT BANFF MOUNTAIN FESTIVALS

Groundbreaking producers Josh Lowell of Big UP Productions and Peter Mortimer of Sender Films have teamed up to create KING LINES, pushing climbing films to a new dimension (and winning an Emmy Award in the process). Filmed on location in Spain, France, California, Venezuela, Greece, Utah, and Mallorca, KING LINES captures Chris Sharma's most outrageous ascents and visionary projects, and explores his fascinating lifestyle as a nomadic professional climber and global citizen. Dani Andrada, Dave Graham, Ethan Pringle, Melissa Lacasse, Jibe Tribout, and other outstanding climbers are also profiled.

includes:

  • The first ascent of Es Pontas, a spectacular free-standing arch in the Mediterranean, and the hardest deep water solo in the world.

  • Fantasy bouldering on top of the mystical tepuy mountains of South America.

  • Sharma's current project, Mutant Message, which will be the hardest sport route ever climbed.

  • Plus: Multi-pitch madness in the Verdon Gorge; Searching for sea cliffs in Greece; Highball bouldering in Bishop; Big-wall trad climbing in Zion; Smoking the competition in Barcelona; and much more.


King Lines dvd 01 Crikey, the media world moves quickly these days! Here I am writing a review of King Lines when it seems to have been around for ages. As soon as anything happens in the climbing world it's discussed and dissected in forums the world over, seemingly within minutes. In the case of DVDs the publishers and producers themselves add to the hype with trailers and tasters before launch date in which, invariably, the films look good with fast paced action and faced paced music to get us excited. It's rare for the final film to live up to the excitement of these tasters but I'm happy to report that King Lines does.

Pornography is supposed to show the sort of sex life we would be having in an ideal world. On film sex is always more exotic, involves better looking people and is more readily available than in our own hum drum worlds. So it is with this film, this is pure climbing porn and offers us a glimpse of what our climbing lives would be like in a perfect world. The film starts with Chris Sharma being flown about in a private plane to scope out new lines in Greece! After duly finding an unclimbed cave our hero steps off a speed boat to begin the climb, and such are the production values of the film that only the absence of a tuxedo reminds us that we are watching a climbing film and that Sharma hasn't actually morphed into James Bond. As he inches higher up what looks like a five star route in a five star location the build up, Sharma's flamboyant climbing style and his power screams all combine to draw the audience in so that we find ourselves willing him on and breathing a sigh of relief as he latches the final jug. This sort of viewer involvement is a rare feat in climbing films and is one of the things that sets this film apart.

It looks like pure fantasy but this is the life Chris Sharma actually leads and this film is as much about him as it is about the routes he climbs. We see him flying from location to location, effortlessly dispatching routes, chatting up chiquitas at airports and generally being incredibly gifted and popular. There is a mini biopic midway through which borders on the sycophantic. And yet, despite my arch cynicism and seething jealousy, I couldn't help but warm to Sharma and even found this section enjoyable, although I'm not sure it would bear repeated viewings.

Although King Lines is in the plural in the film title the recurring theme of the film is the Es Pontas arch in Majorca, a project which neatly succumbs in the last section of the DVD. Before the successful redpoint we get to see him making many committed attempts with lots of spectacular falls into the sea from a high dyno and an even higher crux. These sequences are notable not only for the spectacular footage but also the degree of effort Sharma puts into the route – truly inspiring. Between attempts on the route we see lots of fantastic footage of Sharma climbing a new, superb looking route on Ceuse, going bouldering to an undeveloped area atop a tepuis in Venezuela, winning a bouldering comp in Spain and working a truly breathtaking project on Clark Mountain. If you haven't seen pictures of the latter then this section is worth the admission alone. Again the massive whippers are entertaining and the sheer exertion he puts in to each attempt should be enough to motivate anyone to try that little bit harder when they next visit the crag.

When the Es Pontas project is finally put to bed I was left feeling that it was a well deserved success for both climber and film maker, this is a brilliant film, up to the high standards Big Up productions have set themselves and anyone without a copy already should be hoping Santa puts one of these in their stocking on Christmas Eve.


View the King Lines trailer here

Read more reviews by Ashley Lewis at UKClimbing.com; Higher Ground: here and Swedish Meatballs: here

Read more climbing DVD reviews at our Gear Review page: here

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4 Dec, 2007
Maybe the James Bond analogy is a stronger one than the porn metaphor, but then who knows what sort of porn Ashley watches...
4 Dec, 2007
Top DVD nevertheless - even better on HD (sadly only on the computer as our TV is decidedly LD).
4 Dec, 2007
Oh and it was rather disarming Sharma stating that he realised how lucky he was essentially living on the support of the overall climbing community - even if it was thought out and scripted, still nice for general punterdom to get an acknowledgement. I now feel like one of the main contributors to Sharma's success, do I get to tick Es Pontas I wonder, I'd settle for Realization I guess.
4 Dec, 2007
It was good, beautiful photography and production but too much limestone, too much Sharma and not enough Dave Graham to see frequent reapeat viewings.
4 Dec, 2007
I picked up a copy in Tokyo last week and was lucky enough to watch it first on the large widescreen (maybe HD - not sure?) in my hotel room. Visually really stunning, particularly the intense colours of the stuff shot in Bishop and Mallorca. I wondered whether the footage had been enhanced after filming in some way to enhance the colour - anyone know? Excellent review by Tyler also. Echoed most of what I thought.
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