YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK // CLIMBING TOWARD THE FREEDOM
VALLEY UPRISING, a documentary about the epic history of climbing in Yosemite National Park and the counterculture roots of outdoor sports.
Yosemite National Park may be more closely associated with family holidays than careless abandon these days, but it wasn’t always that way.
Based in the state of California, it has been designated a World Heritage Site in 1984. It is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness and it was central to the development of the national park idea.
The park has long inspired people who prefer a life on the fringe of society—Jack Kerouac, John Muir, and an entire generation of beatniks and madmen who gave up one idea of the American Dream (home, yard, kids) for another: rock climbing slabs of granite that had never been touched before.
« Valley Uprising » is a documentary about Yosemite’s rock climbing revolution through archival photography, vintage movie footage, and interviews with Yosemite legends like Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and American free climber Dean Potter. This movie dives into the story of Yosemite’s counterculture of dumpster divers and van dwellers who pushed the limits of climbing. They tell the story of the bold men and women who broke with convention and redefined the limits of human possibility in America's legendary national park.
Climbing has evolved from a dirtbagger’s domain to a serious competitive sport in a single generation, due in part to the advent of the climbing gym.
Yosemite with a robust climbing culture where so many athletes cut their teeth, is dying off due to increased law enforcement and changing times.
Restrictions on climbing in Yosemite were put in place after some of climbers in the ’60s and ’70s tarnished the landscape with the wild parties they began to be known for. Climbers are still drawn to the park, due in part to its prestige as the birthplace of American rock climbing.
Photo courtesy of Werner Braun and Sender Films/“Valley Uprising”