In case you have noticed, climbing is booming. Indoor gyms are opening by the dozens, gear advances have put high peaks within reach of even average athletes, and more newbies than ever are embracing the sport than ever before. “USA Climbing has seen over 100 percent growth in participation and membership rates over the course of the last seven years,” says Kynan Waggoner, CEO of USA Climbing. “There is no doubt in my mind that the sport has entered the public consciousness in numbers that we have never seen before.”
A big part of that rise can be attributed to high-profile projects like Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson’s Dawn Wall climb, in Yosemite, which gained worldwide attention. And a good part of it is that climbing movies are finally getting exceptionally good — even Hollywood ones. Exhibit A: this week marks the release of the big-budget Hollywood flick Everest, an edge-of-the-seat thriller that does a remarkable job of transporting you above 25,000 feet. But it’s just one film in a string of new climbing movies this year that will have longing to get in the mountains.