Thursday, February 28, 2008

King Lines

"The line that's just calling out to you, beckoning to be climbed. That's the king line."

I don't really know why, but before I begin, I feel the need to let you know that I'm no rock climber. I've climbed three times, the same day, the same rock. I've heard myself say that it was the scariest thing I've ever done. I'm not sure if that's entirely true, but it very well could be. Every cell from the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet was shaking. And yes, it was also thrilling, to survive. I was literally clinging to the rock by sheer friction. I say all this, yet one of the most memorable films I've seen in the past couple of years was a climbing film by Peter Mortimer. It was called Return2Sender. It was a little caffeinated and CooCooBananas, but in an entertaining and inspiring sort of way. There was a super doggie climber and an amazing 10 year old girl climber in it; and did you know climbers use their elbows to wedge themselves in cracks in the rock?!

Last week was the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) and Peter Mortimer showed a new film titled King Lines. I'm not about to write a film review, but I'm still inspired by Chris Sharma who came onto the climbing scene as a young teenager and zipped up some crazy hard routes with which experienced climbers were struggling. He's now 26 years old and has been at it for just over a decade. King Lines documents his quest to find the world's most difficult and beautiful LINE. Sharma mentions beauty many times. That's part of what makes his person interesting to me. He isn't just a climber, even though that is who he is, all of what he does. This quote, from the article linked below, says it well, "The struggle crushes many, weeding out the strong-fingered charlatans from the lifers." Lifers, an interesting distinction. Sharma was at the showing of King Lines in person and answered a few questions after the film. He's definitely a 'Lifer'. Even if you're not able to catch the film in your part of the world, you can get a sense of his being, and perhaps be inspired by watching this short video or reading this good long interview with him. Both are excellent.

As is the film ... superb cinematography and good balance between words, climbing scenes and story.

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