This documentary-film project, which began in 2023 with my climbing-film partner Cédric Lachat, is currently in the production phase. The film covers the future evolution of climbing, the changes in how people climb, and the challenges related to continued access to climbing areas. The film is scheduled for release in 2025.

  The Future of Climbing

    With the growth in the number of climbing gyms and the sport’s inclusion in the Olympic Games, once a clear product of the 1960s counter-culture, climbing has undergone a major transformation. In recent years, this change has accelerated, and we have now reached a historical turning point. The sport, rooted in its older sibling, mountaineering, currently faces a unique paradox: the growth in popularity of indoor climbing as access to outdoor climbing areas is under threat. What vertical legacy will we leave for future generations? Is outdoor climbing destined to disappear? What is the future of climbing?

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Is climbing’s future indoors?

    Through this new film, Cédric Lachat invites us to take a serious look at the future of climbing outdoors. Site management, overcrowding, liability, coexisting with landowners, neighboring communities, wildlife, and flora—these are the main issues to address to continue to enjoy access climbing in the great outdoors. With his climbing partners, Cédric takes us to bouldering spots and crags all across France, Europe, and the United States to introduce us to these climbing areas and better understand the current issues they face.

    The film crew also steps indoors to visit climbing gyms around the world to better understand this new approach to climbing and the motivations of the current generation of climbers. What impact do connected apps, social media, and artificial intelligence now have on the world of free climbing?

Cédric Lachat climbing in Margalef, Spain (The Future of Climbing) ©Guillaume Broust

Cédric Lachat climbing in Margalef for the film “Climbing in the Future” ©Guillaume Broust

  Climbing outdoors

    The primary challenge for this film is to raise awareness among climbers about the fragile nature of the outdoor climbing environment. The impact on wildlife, especially for nesting birds, has long been a major issue. Various non-profits work to ensure the peaceful coexistence climbers and bird populations that nest at certain cliffs.

    The growing popularity of climbing leads to overuse at certain times of the year, where popular spots see overcrowding, and the natural environment bears the brunt of simply too many people in one place at one time. Soil erosion, noise pollution, light pollution, litter, rock polishing, and chalk marks are just a few of the consequences. Fire hazards have also become an issue, as highlighted by the devastating fire in Oliana, Spain.

    However, climbing does not only impact the natural environment. People living near climbing areas also have their say on access, parking, and camping. What are the current solutions to these problems? How can the climbing community improve coexistence with wildlife and local stakeholders? How can we build awareness? These are the key questions that Cédric Lachat asks throughout the film.

Cédric Lachat climbing in Oliana, Spain (The Future of Climbing) ©Guillaume Broust

Cédric Lachat climbing in Oliana, Spain, above the forest destroyed by the fire ©Guillaume Broust

  The key topics the film addresses

  • Awareness: educate climbers about respect for the environment, better managing the increased traffic at climbing areas, and passing down the ethics and values of outdoor climbing to the current generation.
  • Long-term access: continue climbing at legendary crags such as Buoux, Verdon, Céüse, the Calanques, Fontainebleau, Margalef, Siurana, Red River Gorge, Meschia, Arco, Hueco Tanks, Yosemite, and more..
  • Maintain equipment: ensure that fixed gear stays in good condition, address liability issues in the event of accidents, and maintain climbing areas by working with route setters, environmental organizations, and federations.
  • The growth of indoor climbing gyms: examine the challenges gyms face, such as connected holds and routes, emerging trends, and competitions to better understand the future of climbing.
Sharma Climbing Gym, in Barcelona ©Guillaume Broust
Indoor gym climbing in Barcelona, Spain ©Guillaume Broust

  The main participants in “Climbing in the Future”

Between climbing sequences and humor, Cédric Lachat meets with key personalities in the climbing community to discuss and highlight the challenges and issues to maintain the delicate balance at outdoor climbing areas. The goal is always to question one’s own approach to try to understand the challenges of tomorrow, to preserve our collective vertical heritage, as well as to preserve and pass down the long-held values of the sport.

   Here is a list of the climbers who have graciously participated in the project. There are more to come!

Solenne Piret à Fontainebleau ©Guillaume Broust

  • Alex Huber
  • Chris Sharma
  • Lynn Hill
  • Edu Marin
  • Charlotte Durif
  • Patxi Usobiaga
  • Eline Le Menestrel
  • Solenne Piret
  • Julia Chanourdie
  • Théo Blass
  • Marc le Menestrel
  • Gregoire Clouzeau
  • Chris Cazin
  • Mauro Calibani
  • Egon Bernasconi
  • Dave Graham

  Filming on location

Here are the places where we started shooting and covering these interdependent topics. Filming started in Oliana and Margalef, Spain. We then traveled to Fontainebleau, the legendary bouldering area near Paris. While in France’s capital city, we took the opportunity to film at several Arkose-owned climbing gyms. We moved on to St-Léger du Ventoux and Buoux. We are also filming in Isère, at such locations as Espace Comboire cliff, climbing gyms and the crag at Aulp du Seuil. This fall, we plan to travel to Italy, Switzerland, and the USA.

  [VIDEO] Cédric Lachat onsights ‘Chimpanzodrome’

   Cédric has taken full advantage of the project to climb such iconic routes as “Chimpanzodrome” in Saussois. This route has a long history, and Cédric seized the opportunity climb it onsight! Read about the send.

    We love outdoor climbing more than anything, and the future of climbing rests in a truly delicate balance. Let’s all work together to ensure the long-term viability sport and its core values so that our children can enjoy Climbing in the Future in the great outdoors and with full peace of mind!

NEWS & REPORT

For reports from each shoot and a look behind-the-scenes, go to my Instagram account.

 
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Une publication partagée par Cedric Lachat (@cedriclachat)

Film partners

They are supporting us on this project and trust us in the production of an ambitious, international, and intergenerational film. Thank you to all the individuals and organizations, both public and private, who are following us in this project.