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Must-Watch Climbing Films This Fall

From legendary climbers to hard sends and climate change, there are a lot of great films hitting the screens this upcoming season

As we head into festival season, several new climbing films will be making the rounds. Here are a few to watch out for. We’ll be bringing you a list of new films every week until the Banff Film Festival at the end of October.

My Upside Down World with Angelika Rainer: Angelika Rainer, born in Merano in 1986, is a three-times world champion in ice climbing and receives recognition around the world for her sporting skills. The Merano climber was the first woman in her family able to decide for herself what she wanted to do with her life. After the world championship titles and 10 years of international competitions, the time has come for Angelika to steer her career in a new direction. The film came out in 2021 but will be screening in North America at several film festivals.

Spindrift with Barry Blanchard: A short experimental documentary following world-renowned mountain climber Barry Blanchard who has had an accident and suffered a serious brain injury. In this unconscious state he reflects on his life and tries to resolve what has happened, why his life of adventure, love and tragedy has led to this, and whether he will wake up from this shattered dream.

Piton: The Pat Callis Story: This story follows climbing legend, Pat Callis (83 years old), as he revisits his early first ascents around Montana on ice and rock. Featuring interviews with Jack Tackle, Gayle Callis, and Terry Kennedy, the film follows Pat to a variety of Montana rock and ice climbs, some he pioneered when first coming to the state and others he helped developed over the years. Each climb is a reflection of a time in his life – sparking stories reflecting on the early days of climbing and within these stories his insight to drive and motivation, community, history, family and wisdom.

The Scale Of Hope: A one-hour film about Molly Kawahata, an alpine climber and former climate advisor to the Obama White House. Kawahata’s personal struggle with mental health has given her a profound understanding of how to harness the power of the mind to create change. The film follows her as she prepares for a climbing expedition in the Alaska Range and works to create a new climate narrative centered on hope. The film also documents Kawahata’s trip to the Topaz Internment Camp in the Utah desert. As Japanese-Americans, Kawahata’s grandparents and family were unjustly imprisoned during World War II on their own soil, a period regarded as one of the worst civil rights violations in American history. “That whole thing happened because of a guy who signed something in the same building I worked in at the White House,” Kawahata says in the film. “That was a policy. Policies change everything.”