Friday Night Movie: ‘Valley Uprising’ on Amazon Prime is a Total Hoot

If you haven’t seen the 2014 documentary, Valley Uprising, it’s about time.

At the heart of the project lies Yosemite Valley and the climbers who’ve loved it. Legend by legend, the film takes viewers through modern climbing’s very recent but incredibly rich history. And more to the point — the filmmakers do it all well.

From climbing’s stick-it-to-the-man beginnings at Camp 4, Valley Uprising sort of raises you with it. Characters like Camp 4 founding member, Royal Robbins, the now-deceased Dean Potter, tomboy extraordinaire/crusher Lynne Hill, and a wide-eyed, cheeky, far-less-famous Alex Honnold (he wouldn’t catapult to Free Solo stardom until 2018).

As a culture, climbing encompasses many a retelling of guts and glory. But much like Yosemite Valley itself, the quirky, impish, dirtbag moments are what give Valley Uprising life. Take, for instance, the tale of Dope Lake, teased in the clip below. It recalls the time a ganja-laden plane crashed high up on Merced Pass in the late 1970s, and how the fringe climbers from Camp 4 made a very lucrative business out of it.

For the full story an so much more, watch Valley Uprising on Amazon Prime.

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.


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Luna
Luna
4 months ago

Yes! The start is a little clicheed but don’t be put off. Within a few minutes the film finds its voice and it’s rich and sensitive and nuanced. As for the final — the authors may not have known at the time how prophetic, how fitting it will turn out to be.

Bruce
Bruce
4 months ago

fwiw it’s on amazon Prime

Jerry Kobalenko
Admin
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruce

Well, that was a slip through the cracks. Thank you, corrected.

Bruce
Bruce
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruce

As someone who’s done a bit of climbing,not rock though, and big into hiking, I loved this movie. Fascinating look at a dedicated and fun group of climbers..