WTF, how do we still not have a Rock Climbing category on here, and we have one for Rodeo? Ridiculous.

Anyway, I just got back from a screening of "King Lines", a documentary by Josh Lowell following Chris Sharma around the world. Chris is considered by many to be the best rock climber in the world, and at this point has the luxury of just traveling the world via boat, plane, car, whatever he wants, to find consistently more challenging climbs. The documentary covers his work on a giant 70-foot arch over deep water in Mallorca, bouldering in the Buttermilks, some wacky boulders in Venezuela that took days of hiking through jungle to reach, and a bunch of other stuff.

Sharma's attitude towards his sport is really amazing. He seems like a total aberration: He doesn't get competitive against others, he acknowledges his frustration and irritation when he's stuck on a problem, but also calmly recognizes them as good training in humility, he describes his whole process (pick a climb, obsess about it, finally send it and celebrate just a little bit, but then move on to the next thing) and overall just seems extremely balanced for a high-end professional athlete in what is definitely a competitive sport (the movie shows him competing in a bouldering comp in Spain, too.)

It's a refreshing change over some other pro athletes who seem fixated on victory for its own sake or on rivalries or whatever.

The scenery and cinematography in this movie are striking. It must just be something Josh Lowell and co. do for the love of the sport, because I cannot imagine they're making much money on these. They sell the DVDs on their website but otherwise show them in very limited theatrical release. I saw it here in Austin at a showing put on at the Alamo Drafthouse by the Austin Rock Gym, and you couldn't even get tickets through the theater, you had to do it through the gym. So it's relatively clandestine.

I recommend watching it. It's too bad they don't have the budget to put out a high-def format, because it was really breathtaking.

Here's the movie's main website.

And here's a link to the trailer.

It's probably more compelling if you are a climber, and can look at the moves Chris does and just be like, "Holy shit, he just stuck a giant dyno onto a hold the size of a postage stamp," but even if you aren't a climber, watching him work is commanding and, again, the locations they shot and the attitude he espouses are alone worth the price of admission.