The Sharp End - Sender Films

November 4, 2008 
Filed under Events & Entertainment

As you might expect the Banff Mountain Film Festival tends to show several films of the rock climbing genre, indeed this viewer saw 3 in the first 2 days, plus many over the course of the past few festivals. You may be tempted to think that it’s all been done before, that is until you see The Sharp End.

While many climbing and mountaineering movies show athletes ‘pushing the limits’, none push them quite as far as the climbers in The Sharp End, which portrays several of the world’s top climbers, climbing at an extremely high level of risk, and of course reward.

We are fortunate to see Ammon McNeely show us his tricks on his home turf on the face of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, McNeely’s climbing partner Chris McNamara base jumping in Europe, and Steph Davis free-soloing on the 1000 foot Perverted Sanctuary.

An incredible experience was had by Alex Honnold and others climbing spires on the border of the Czech Republic and Germany, with local legend Bernd Arnold as their guide, and without traditional gear or chalk!
Dean Potter perhaps gives us a glimpse of the future when he introduces the concept of ‘free base’ or ‘base solo’ (free climbing wearing a base jumping chute in case of a fall) on Deep Blue Sea (5.12+) on the north face of the Eiger.

While most of the time the viewer watches in awe of the sheer courage, ability and focus shown by these athletes, you can’t help thinking what motivates a person to go to such extreme levels of risk. Indeed the question is posed in the movie and goes unanswered.
Without doubt The Sharp End is one of the most thrilling rock climbing movies this viewer has seen and is guaranteed to get your heart pumping!

Find out more about this movie and other excellent climbing movies at

The Sharp End was shown on Nov 2nd 2008 as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival. It will be shown again on the weekend of Nov 8th and 9th as part of the Daytime Screenings Program A.


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