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ASSAULT ON EL CAPITAN – SoCal Premiere
March 15, 2014 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Live Q&A with Ammon McNeely, writer/director Jeff Vargen, and Special Guests
Featuring some of the best-known climbers in the world, Assault on El Capitan is a riveting new documentary about Ammon McNeely, and his attempt to climb the controversial and never-repeated route of Wings of Steel on Yosemite’s El Capitan. Unclimbed since the first successful ascent in 1982, Wings of Steel presented certain danger for even the most experienced of climbers, and to complete his climb McNeely chose his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kait Barber, as his teammate.
With a bounty awaiting the second successful team to ascend Wings of Steel, there seemed to be no better person to climb it than Ammon, who by then had logged 75 El Capitan ascents by 62 different routes – but was Kait the best choice for a partner? This climb would test of their ability and their relationship. Logging over 500 feet of falls, a dislocated shoulder and more than one breakdown, Ammon presses on up the wall, as Kait sits anxiously on a portaledge watching the person she loves suffer fall after fall. For 13 days Ammon and Kait fight on – and up.
Combined with footage shot during their ascent, as well as interviews with the first ascent team, their detractors, climbing historians, and McNeely and Barber themselves, Assault on El Capitan is a revealing and often surprising look at the competetive world of rock climbing. Stories of death threats, psychical assaults, and a slander campaign that polarized the Yosemite climbing community for over 30 years are shared frankly, as the film breaks through legend and myth surrounding the most controversial climb in Yosemite history.
Featuring McNeely and Barber, as well as world-famous climbers including Ron Kauk, Hans Florine , Eric Kohl, Ken Yager, Peter Haan, Chris McNamara , Steve Grossman, and Gabriel McNeely.
Dir: Jeff Vargen
USA, 70 minutes