A new film called The Rapture of Soloing on Acid by director Colter Johnson follows the legendary climbing photographer and Stone Master, Dean Fidelman.
Fidelman was at the forefront of the free climbing revolution in Yosemite Valley and Joshua Tree during the 1970s, making photographs with John Bachar, Lynn Hill, Ron Kauk, John Long and many other talented climbers. Over the past four decades, Fidelman has continued to document the evolution of rock climbing as a sport and culture. This documentary takes a look at his impact and influence as a photographer and climber.
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I had always wanted to work with John Long, it was a dream of mine to make the StoneMasters book every since we were both teenagers Climbing with the crew. Our creative paths were very separate as Life progressed and the opportunity never really lined up to make it happen, but still, the dream. One very late night around 2002 I got a drunk-dial from John Bachar, he told me that I was the only one who could make the StoneMasters book happen and that I had to do it, why me I asked? “Because you’re the Artist, the Fidel-Man” I told him it would take all of us to make a book, especially this one as it would be my first. I spoke to Lynn Hill about the idea a few days later, she loved it and asked how she could help, can you give me Largo’s number? I called him that week and we chatted about things and stuff, but when I brought up the book he gave me the impression that the time wasn’t now. Over the next few years I would try off and to reach him, my calls went to voicemail. I was in Patagonia in 2005 when a Tango Dancer decided to be my Muse for awhile, I took this as a very good omen. When I returned to the US there was a voicemail from John, “Let’s make this Book” since 2009 I’ve co-authored 4 books with him, a couple of days ago we met for breakfast, there’s just something about, cheap diners, breakfast and making plans with writers that I love. . .tango lessons from life. . .df
In the 1970s, a group of young rock climbers in California were exploring new territory on vertical rock. They gained notoriety within the climbing community for outrageous first ascents, and for popularizing a style of climbing called “free climbing” in which climbers rely only on their hands and feet to ascend.
The group would eventually come to be known as the Stone Masters. This tight-knit family of climbers would not only revolutionize the way people climb, but also leave a lasting impact on the lifestyle and culture surrounding rock climbing.
“As a director I feel that my primary responsibility on a project is to share a powerful story,” said Johnson. “I always want to take the audience to places they’ve never been. I feel that Dean Fidelman is one of the greatest photographers alive today, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to share his story with the world through the medium of film. I hope that this project will inspire people to live free and follow their dreams, just as Dean has done all these years.”
Watch the trailer to the new film below. Viewer discretion as there’s some cursing.