Featuring world-class mountain and rock climbing athletes and their inspiring stories of achievement and record-breaking success, "Reel Rock 7" stopped at the UC Auditorium on Monday as part of their national tour.
"Reel Rock 7" is a compilation of four mini-documentaries, each about 30 minutes long, that focuses on professional athletes in the rock and mountain climbing sports.
Revolving around achieving high goals at even higher elevations and inspiring fellow and future athletes interested in the challenging and thrilling sport, "Reel Rock 7" correctly portrays the advantages and difficulties of climbing, said Knoxville resident and rock climber Madison Jones.
"The frustration and to watch the people get so angry, to express their emotions that way, but I understand because I've been there," Jones said. "Just to see yourself improve and get better and to experience failure and then success, you continue on."
The film has been on tour since last autumn, drawing large crowds from around the nation and even overseas. Usually stopping at college campuses, "Reel Rock 7" partnered with the Eastern Tennessee Climbers Coalition and the UT Outdoor Program (UTOP).
Ryan Worth, graduate assistant at UTOP, said he appreciated the different groups coming together to promote the compilation of films.
"This is their seventh year on this series and they always come out with some really nice stuff," Worth said.
Featured are some of the sport's most famous names, including up-and-coming young athlete from the Czech Republic, Adam Ondra and his older, American-living-in-Spain training pal, Chris Sharma. The documentary follows both of their goals to climb La Dura Dura. Located in Catalonia, Spain, this steep smooth rock is a challenge to even the most experienced climbers.
Jones said her favorite part was seeing these two characters compare as athletes.
"It was really fun and done well in 'La Dura Dura,'" Jones said. "I saw last years' 'Reel Rock Tour' and I think this years' is much more exciting."
Independent adventure film promoter and "Reel Rock 7" promoter Garry Harrington said the films accurately show the lives of rock and mountain climbers.
"I can't imagine any more amazing films than these four that really capture the spirit of climbing so well, from alpine mountaineering to regular rock climbing," Harrington said.
The premiere of "Reel Rock 7" is timely for UTOP's tenth annual event, the "All-Access Outdoor Festival." Starting on Feb. 22 and going on until Feb. 24, the event will feature outdoor and nature based films, a bouldering competition, wall climbing and more. Worth said the film shows the best of the best in rock and mountain climbing.
"The 'Reel Rock' shows the precipice of the story," he said. "In essence for what we do with university students that we take on trips, the skills that those professionals that we see in the films use, we'll be able to teach."
Harrington said that the Presidents' Day holiday did not help with event turnout.
"I first saw this film at Colorado College at Colorado Springs and it was a packed house, the place was going crazy. I would have loved to bring that energy here to UT but I think we had a short time to promote and it is (on) a holiday," he said.
Considering the large interest in climbing around the Knoxville community, Jones said she expected to be among a larger crowd.
"I would think that more people would have turned out because in the Knoxville area there are quite a few climbers, but considering, I think this is a good number," she said.
Harrington, who is a mountaineer himself, said that he hopes all that attended are inspired by the stories "Reel Rock 7" featured.
"I know everybody is not going to go solo climb Al Capitan, but they can apply that to different areas of their life, whether it be climbing or just any area of their life," he said.