The national tour of the Reel Rock 8 film festival will screen a series of documentaries about rock climbing in conjunction with Georgetown’s Outdoor Education Program and Club Rock Climbing Saturday night, giving both groups sought-after visibility on campus.
“Reel Rock is designed to appeal to both people who are into climbing, and also just the general population who might be sort of interested. You don’t have to be a climber to come and enjoy the show,” Club Rock Climbing Treasurer Maggie Axelrod (COL ’15) said. “To bring some visibility to Climbing and Outdoor Ed would be great, and just to make it a great event for people at Georgetown and for climbers in the neighboring area.”
A traveling series of four short documentaries about rock climbing, Reel Rock 8 has made stops across the country.
Since forming last year, Club Rock Climbing has nearly doubled its membership to 20 students.
Zack Sawyer (COL ’15), a rock climbing instructor with Outdoor Education and a Club Rock Climbing member who helped plan the event, emphasized that the films promote the essence of rock climbing.
“It’s sort of a story of these individuals who have completely dedicated their lives to mastering what is not just, for them, a sport, but an art as well,” Sawyer said.
Club Rock Climbing Vice President Alex Koeberle (COL ’14) said the communal experience of the film festival mimics that of the climbing community.
“Climbing is a sport in one sense, but you don’t compete against anyone else,” Koeberle said. “It’s a collective action of conquering something, so it fosters a lot more of people helping each other and cheering each other on.”
While Outdoor Education played a limited role in event planning, the organization hoped that the event would help raise awareness for the rock climbing community at Georgetown.
“If people see the film and equate it with Outdoor Education, that’s great, but it’s really just to drum up support for climbing,” Director of Outdoor Education Kris Nessler said.
Koeberle expressed optimism that Georgetown could become a recurring host for the Reel Rock film festival as future series are released.
“To be honest, we don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “We’ve done really well with selling tickets so far. I think we’re hoping for triple digits.”
“It’s just a story of really great people just as psyched to teach a new climber their basic knots as they are to crush some of the hardest and most beautiful lines in the world,” Sawyer said.  

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