Over the past week I’ve been slowly working my way through a slew of new climbing movie releases being offered for download at  I’ve watched portions of Psyche 2 and The Fanatic Search 2 and may have thoughts on those once I finish, but today I wanted to say a few things about the highly anticipated movie from Nathan Bancroft’s Rogue State Films, Reach.

Reach follows Zach Lerner through a few problems near Flagstaff, AZ, Jon Cardwell and Felipe Camargo as they sample the boulders of Brazil, and Cardwell, Dave Graham and Daniel Woods as they do their thing at Lincoln Lake and RMNP.  While the movie, at its core, is ostensibly a “bouldering flick”, it’s clear that Bancroft was aiming to make something different with Reach.  In a recent interview with DPM he had this to say about the movie’s concept:

The goal from the beginning with Reach was to show climbing in a unique way. I have been heavily influenced by snowboarding and skating films, so I tried to take that aesthetic and evolve it into something that would work with climbing. I have been bored with a lot of the recent climbing releases and as a group we felt that there was always something missing, something that initially attracted all of us to the sport that wasn’t being conveyed in any climbing films. My goal was to produce something that excited my friends and me and that we could show to non-climbers in order for them to understand the sport better.

I could try to describe the style of the movie, but in this case the trailers are a great indicator of what the end product is like since the movie and the trailer are edited in basically the same style.  Like the trailers, the end product is a continuous mix of montages and climbing shots edited to flow with the music with infrequent but generally interesting comments from the climbers themselves.  In some sense the movie is literally a 45 minute version of either one of the trailers, so if you like what you see in the trailers you’ll probably enjoy the whole thing.

Personally I enjoyed Reach quite a bit.  The combination of beautiful filming of both the climbing and the non-climbing and precise editing to match the music made the movie fly by (in a good way).  At times it did seem as though some of the problems in the Brazil segment in particular were a bit over-edited showing several angles for each move, but overall the style was well executed in my opinion.  The movie doesn’t lack for hard climbing either with over 20 V13+ boulder problems, and the flurry of hard climbs sent by Dave Graham at the end was a real treat for me personally since he has long been my favorite climber.  If you’re into bouldering you’ll probably like this movie.

Reach is available for download at iCLIMB for $14.99 or you can get it on DVD from for $29.95.  If you’ve checked it out, let me know your thoughts on the movie in the comments.

In the interest of full disclosure, this movie was provided free of charge from  This in no way affected my views on the movie since I would have been happy paying for it myself…

Posted In: Reviews
Climbers: , , , ,


Subscribe to the RSS feed to receive updates, and follow us on Twitter & Facebook

16 Responses to Reach

  1. Pat February 24, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    For the record, the climb featured in Cherry Canyon, AZ, called “Pasty Gangster”, is actually called “Uptown Vandals”. That was the only glaring error I noticed.

    GD Star Rating
  2. Josh February 24, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I also watched “Reach” yesterday, and loved it. I could understand if one thought the editing was a bit overdone, there are sections without climbing for minutes at a time (the “traveling” montage from Brazil to Colorado, which I enjoyed), and the music could be overbearing for some. In the end, the movie is quite different from any other climbing film I’ve seen.

    I’ve always enjoyed interviews with climbers, at least those that seemed to think deeply about their sport. Jon Cardwell and Dave Graham get a lot of face time and add quite a bit to the film. They both seem very insightful and inspired (wizards of climbing anyone?), and they provide a strong emotional element to the climbing. Like the Narc already mentioned, the footage of Dave Graham sending some of his incredible lines at Lincoln Lake interspersed with interview footage is one of the most inspiring segments I’ve seen. That alone was worth the cost of download for me.

    GD Star Rating
  3. Al February 24, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Bancroft definitely has a ton of talent, my only criticism of the movie was that at times the music was a little too much, and the airport scene was cool, but really drawn out.

    GD Star Rating
  4. Matt February 24, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    For me, the movie was good and bad at the same time. The climbing was good, it was nice to see a lot of those problems which have never been seen before, and the music created an atmosphere different from the usual BigUp/Sender Films movies. However, I bought this to watch climbing, not 20 minutes of B-roll footage.

    For a 48 minute video, it had a 5 minute intro, 5 minute closing, and 10 minutes of shots of the different areas being climbed (some of which were reused). This is a bit of an exagerration as I do not have the movie in front of me at the moment, but it is pretty acurate, maybe a few minutes less than I mentioned, and is fairly ridiculous.

    During the climbing scenes, it usually depicted one climb after another being sent. It rarely showed the climbers working the problems. This has it’s positives and negatives. On one hand, seeing hard problems sent is awesome. On the other, seeing the work that people put into these hard sends is just as awesome. I feel there needs to be a good balance and Reach fell just short of that balance in favor of the sends.

    I also enjoy hearing people talk about climbing and their projects and their struggles. The last scene features Dave Graham working a few problems in Wovlerine Land and talking about his philosophy as a climber and how he use to be as a kid. To me, this made the movie. There were a few parts were Jon Cardwell and Felipe Carmago talk to the camera. They are not usually in this role in most climbing videos I have seen so initially I felt this would be good to hear from them. Both had very interesting points/conversations and both had their “filler” moments where they were just rambling in a bad way.

    Also, Daniel Woods basically had a Cameo where he sent Stuntin’ Season


    Excellently shot
    Well Paced
    Good climbs
    Dave Graham talking philosophy
    Different perspective utilizing Brazil and the development aspects of the climbing world.


    Too Much B-Roll vs Climbing.
    Not enough insight to the struggles they have as a climber.

    Overall: 7+/8-/10

    Area it could improve: If the movie was extended by 10 minutes and filled with more “working” instead of sending and throw in another 5 minutes of climbers talking, it would probably be a 9+/10.

    GD Star Rating
  5. Ian "The Situation" February 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Since I am too cheap to buy the whole movie, i’ll just mention that the second trailer is one of the best I’ve seen for a climbing movie. And its cool to see how just different music can give two trailers with many of the same shots completely different feels

    GD Star Rating
  6. hosebeats February 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Soneone get Felipe some good shoes!! Sweet Jesu those black Evolvs are fking terrible.

    Some of the transitions were rather long and I lost interest.

    The “dude stares at the camera, looking way intense,” scenes were overdone.

    Woods makes the funniest faces of anyone I’ve ever seen when trying hard.

    Overall it was nice to watch. Very pretty and well done. I liked the cutscenes of New Mexico, the greatest of the SW states.

    Bancroft and Fryburger need to have a love child. Then we would have the perfect melding of action and story.

    GD Star Rating
  7. Paul Campbell February 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Ugh, I just could not like this movie no matter how much I wanted too.

    The transitions were so drawn out it was really distracting and annoying. I am all for cool montage transitions, but do them after you show a FEW problems, not between every single boulder. And if you are going to make us watch a big drawn out montage please put something interesting in the footage.

    I saw repeat footage over and over again (one that sticks out in my mind is the transition where they showed the Graffiti bird spray painted on a wall from like 3 different angles!) I got like 20 minutes into the video and I swear I had only seen like 5 problems.

    The only saving grace of the movie was the Wolverineland footage. The quantity of problems shown in that segment probably surpassed the rest of the movie combined.

    GD Star Rating
    • Josh February 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

      The Wolverineland footage really was epic. I know most of the problems have already been online for a while, but “Reach” did a fantastic job of showing just how hard, unique, and creative those problems are. The lines are amazing, and it just goes to show the genius of Dave Graham. While Dave didn’t get all the FAs, he’s the one that had the vision to find, clean, and figure out the beta for almost all of them. The summer he had in 2010 was probably one of the best climbing performances of all time.

      GD Star Rating
  8. al February 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    for anyone who has seen it already : how was the flagstaff section with zach lerner?

    GD Star Rating
    • Narc February 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      Good but pretty brief

      GD Star Rating
    • Pat February 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      Shows Planet Terror and Dope Lounge in Kelly Canyon, as well as Uptown Vandals and the dyno in Cherry Canyon, and his really hard climb on the Grasshopper Point Wall in Sedona. It was a super short segment though, unfortunately.

      GD Star Rating
  9. dubya February 27, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    how has no one mentioned how TERRIBLE the music is?! We actually turned the volume off during the second half of the Brazil segment!!!

    They did a great job of syncing up the music to the movement, but it still didn’t make the music any better…

    Some great video footage and artistic scenes though, overall enjoyed the video.

    Agree with “hosebeats” bancroft + fryburger = SOLID!

    GD Star Rating
    • Kyote32 March 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

      Great film in all aspects… I thought it was a huge leap forward in quality and vision. Not really sure what the detractors are on about.

      GD Star Rating
  10. Pipo June 16, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    Climbing footage – Good
    Scenery shots – Nice, but too many, too long.
    Interviews – Good
    Music – Fucking Awfully Bad

    Overall – Worth watching once, muted and with skipping the bullcrap. Not worth paying for.

    GD Star Rating
  11. SJS June 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    Having watched this now, the part that definitely stands out for me is that of Jon Cardwell at Mt. Evans. I don’t think that type of music generally suits climbing but with the way it was filmed and synched it was perfect to me.

    GD Star Rating


  1. Videomotivation!! | - February 25, 2011

    […]   Portia Menlove klettert “Barefoot On Sacred Ground (V12)“:       Reach (Trailer 1&2):       Natasha Barnes bouldert “Drive On (V11)“: […]

Leave a Reply