“It’s terrifying,” said Heidi Rodenhizer, Associated Students Outdoor Center trip leader and avid climber. “My hands were sweating the whole time…that’s not the sort of thing I ever want to do.”
A film showcasing Alex Honnold free soloing – climbing without ropes – to the top of El Capitan, a peak in Yosemite National Park, is something Rodenhizer remembers most from attending the annual Reel Rock Festival.
The AS Outdoor Center is hosting the Reel Rock 7 film festival again this year. The night is a showing of three-to-five films that showcase the best and most exciting rock climbing and mountaineering footage of the year, said Angela Tsui, marketing and resource coordinator for the AS Outdoor Center.
“It’s new every year, and it’s always really ground-breaking footage,” Tsui said. “[There’s] new routes, high action, high adrenaline… [it’s] really exciting.”
In its seventh year, The Reel Rock film festival will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 in Arntzen Hall 100. Admission is $5 for Western students and Whatcom Community College students and $7 for community members.
The film festival, sponsored by Sender Films and Big Up Productions, travels across the world hosting the festival. The showcasing of the adventurous climbs that individuals go on is exciting because climbing and mountaineering is not a mainstream sport like football or basketball, Tsui said. Climbing is not televised to the extent of other sports even with the excitement that goes with watching the footage.
“It’s something that people might not think about as a spectator sport, but if you’re watching for the adrenaline and entertainment value, it’s real[ly] inspirational to see what people can do with just their bodies and rope,” Tsui said.
With the large climbing and mountaineering interest in Bellingham, the AS Outdoor Center continues to host the film festival. People like seeing the new footage that is exclusive to the Reel Rock 7 film festival, Tsui said.
Having students and community members coming out, having a good time and getting excited about a sport they may or may not have a lot of contact with is what Tsui looks forward to with the film festival, she said.
“I really enjoy watching professional climbers do what they do,” Rodenhizer said. “It also kind of inspires me not to do stupid things that they sometimes do.”