The Rapture Of Free-Soloing on Acid is a documentary on legendary climbing photographer 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.
Directed by Colter Johnson, this film can be viewed on Amazon Prime here.
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Yosemite West, 2009 I awoke into the darkness, dawn was still an hour or so away and I needed to get on the road to L.A. I was sleeping on the porch of Dean's shed, it was October the air was cold and still. I lounged in the warm sleeping bag enjoying my last moments of contentment before my 6 hour drive. Dean's deep voice broke the cool tranquility, "Coffeeee" I monkey called back, slipped out of the bag and into a pair of damp jeans, my wet shoes squeaked as I walked down the hill into the beautiful silence. Dean had been in Europe for about a month and we wanted to connect before I left, he was standing in the warm kitchen, all gangly and bird-like, making our coffee. "Winky! I missed you, when are you coming back to the Valley? I smiled and took a step closer to him, missed you too I mumbled and reached out for the hot cup of java he was offering me as Dean reached out and took the freshly rolled 50/50 tucked behind my ear. You've picked up some bad habits in Europe Sween, let's go out onto the porch and start and stop our day, his laughter followed me through the door. We greeted the gray Dawn with smoke, steam and plans for the future, now it was time for me to leave. "You didn't say when you'd be back" I'm not really sure, I was stammering now well you know I'm kind of waiting for a check and I got enough money to get down there but, I was embarrassed my voice trailed off as I looked away. Potter smiled and said "I got you Winky" then reached down and untied his 1" tubular webbing belt (worn in case he was soloing and needed to clip into a random pin to chill and depump) he worked the bic burnt ends open and wiggled out two $100 bills. "here, we have plans and I need you, around" I didn't want to take the money, i couldn't pay it back "no need to pay it back, we'll trade for photos" the fucker was reading my mind. I took the Franklin's and shoved them into my pocket, Sween, thank you, I turned to go, then stopped. Sween i have to know something. Why did you have $200 in your belt? Dean laughed and swung his big Raven-like head toward me "Because you never know, when they're going to be chasing you. . .fly free. . .d
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.”