‘Black Ice’ reveals that mountaineering might be colour blind

The new short film Black Ice tells the story of a group of black men from Memphis, TN, who travel to the climbing mecca of Hyalite Canyon, MT, for their first climbing experience. The men learned about indoor climbing at Memphis’ Rox Gym, but it wasn’t until they met North Face athlete Conrad Anker that their dreams stretched to frozen vertical pillars far from home.

Chris Dean Champ Miller – Courtesy TNF / Sender Films

Memphis is not known for rock climbing, let alone ice climbing. But an indoor rock gym and an elite group of The North Face alpinists have changed that. The film (part of the Reel Rock Tour 2020 franchise) is a 35-minute story tracing climbers’ journey into the rough, cold, and often inhospitable world of ice climbing. Not only do the men learn how to climb frozen waterfalls with axes and crampons, but they also face a difficult, inherently dangerous sport. Fortunately, they have a trio of seasoned hardmen – Anker plus Monoah Ainuu and Fred Campbell – to show them the ropes. It’s not always easy and despite the difficult conditions there is a lot of humor.

Memphis ice climber heading to MontanaFilmmaker Malik Martin Champ Miller – Courtesy TNF / Sender Films

Black Ice filmmaker Jonathan “Malik” Martin had never actually been on a plane or even far from Memphis when he embarked on the adventure. The film tells their story of entering intimidating territory, learning how to stay warm and on their feet in cold, slippery conditions, and how people of different cultural and racial backgrounds can come together to share their love for the mountains.

Purchase tickets to stream the full movie on reelrocktour.com over this holiday weekend.

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