In 10 Downing Street, a phone rings. A tall bespectacled man answers, fear in his voice
Hancock: "Hello, Matt Hancock here, UK Minister for Health."
Carter: "Sir, it's General Nicholas Carter, head of the UK Armed Forces. We have a situation of national security."
Hancock: "Tell me, General Carter. What is it - another virus? Foreign agents in our midst? Zombies?"
Carter: "No, sir. It's worse. It's the climbers. They're going crazy, sir. They can't cope with the self-isolation."
Hancock: "Dear God. Is it bad?"
Carter: "The worst, sir. They're like house pets that haven't been given enough exercise - they're starting to act out. They're climbing on door frames, placing cams behind radiators. Some of them - dear god - some of them are even using their fingerboards."
Hancock: "Dear god no, not the ornamental fingerboards! Quick, we need a solution, and fast. What about sedatives in the water?"
Carter: "Sir, it's time for the nuclear option. We need to post a list of extreme and authentic climbing movies, in the hope of distracting them from their own levels of physical inactivity. It's the only way."
Hancock: "You have my full support. But make it a good list - well researched, and thorough. One full of genuine climbing movies, showing realistic sends, and nail biting moves. Because General... we've only got one shot at this."
Carter: "Agreed, Minister. I pray to god we get it right"
Top 5 Climbing Movies To Watch While You're Self-Isolating
The movie that introduced the world to the now staple climbing technique of "ice campusing", as well as the ambitious technical getup that can best be described as "shirtless alpinism", Cliffhanger sits at the summit of your must watch climbing list. Remember, when the temps get low, the psych gets high.
There are whole youtube videos devoted to the climbing inconsistencies with Vertical Limit. So long as you're not using it as an instructional video for your next family climbing holiday, we're here to say it's well worth a watch. After all, this is the movie that invented the "Dyno Cam".
Whether it's the liberal amount of polystyrene rock, or the genuine sense that at no point is anyone actually very far off the ground (thanks, green screen!), it's got just enough cheese to melt any climber's heart.
Long before Alex Honnold climbed El Capitan, there was a climbing luminary by the name of James T. Kirk - captain of the Starship Enterprise - who tackled the famous face with only his wits and a pair of climbing shoes to keep him safe. This is the story of that ascent. Or, well, the first 5 minutes of the movie is.
Anchored by a stellar performance from William Shatner, this is the climbing scene that introduced the famous question: "Captain Kirk is climbing a mountain - why is he climbing a mountain", and simultaneously answered it with the only response that would make any sense:
"To hug the mountain. To envelop the mountain. He wants to make love to the mountain."
Bear Grylls has done many wonderful things in his career, and nobody can deny him some of those profound achievements. Climbing tombstone rock in a pair of approach shoes - with every camera angle trying to hide the fact that he's on top rope - isn't one of them though.
As with the picture above, we're uncertain of quite how the "double wide-smear off a single shallow hand jam rest" fits into the canon of regular climbing moves, but we're not entirely sure it counts as "going free". Sorry, Bear.
An outlier in this list, rather than being hilariously terrible, Top Rope Tough Guys falls squarely in the category of "intentionally hilarious".
Winner of the 2010 Reel Rock 2 minute film short competition, "Top Rope Tough Guys" is a classic in every sense of the word. Introducing the climbing community to now staple moves like the "assisted dyno" and the "flying traverse", it showed a whole new generation the potential wonders - and the comedy - of going all in on Top Roping.
Buckle up, it's time to get belaying.
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