The documentary "Brave New Wild" features a rare interview from climber Warren Harding, who talks about this first ascent of the Nose of El Capitan in 1958. The movie will be showing at Star Hall on Tuesday, May 26. [Photo courtesy of Wayne Merry /]

As a young girl, Oakley Anderson-Moore caught glimpses of her father’s life as a pioneering rock climber.

But it wasn’t until she discovered a cache of old family home videos that she discovered a whole new world of “delinquent oddballs and wino-nomad poets” who dedicated their lives to the sport, which she calls an “absurdist art form.”

Anderson-Moore assembled that footage and other material into the acclaimed 76-minute documentary “Brave New Wild,” which will be screening at Star Hall on Tuesday, May 26, at 7 p.m. Tickets for the screening are available for $8 in advance at Gearheads, or $10 at Star Hall, which is located at 159 E. Center St.

The movie examines how the act of rock climbing evolved into a fanatical movement amongst the new middle class in post-World War II America.

Unlike aristocratic mountaineers of the past, who climbed mountains with caution and for national honor, rock climbing grew into an American counterculture movement that embraced risk taking and individual self-expression.

Because it was dangerous, because there was no tangible reward in climbing, and because many times you could even hike to the top of a rock instead of risking your life to climb it, the sport was looked at with utmost curiosity – and occasionally contempt – by the rest of the country.

The film paints a picture of the eclectic climbers from the 1950s through the 1970s and tries to understand the world they created out of risk-taking and “antidisestablishmentarianism.”

It travels to the three main culutral centers where rock climbing grew simultaneously across the country: the Shawangunks of New York, ruled by a convention-defying group called “The Vulgarians,” to Wyoming’s Tetons, where a cordoned-off dirt road is dubbed a ‘Climbers Camp’ and serves to disseminate information over campfires about the climbing movement. Finally, it arrives in Yosemite Valley, California, where the largest rocks in the country offer the staunchest challenges and draw the largest personalities. Rock climbers began to look at their sport as more of an artistic expression than a series of mountain conquests, and termed these early days the Golden Age of climbing.

As Yosemite becomes the epicenter of the new climbing movement in America, two figures emerge. Royal Robbins, arrested at age 12, escapes the police and streets of Los Angeles for the mountains of Yosemite Valley.

He quickly becomes the most graceful – and dangerous – climber the country has ever seen.

Wine loving, mischief-maker Warren Harding shows up and becomes Royal’s natural nemesis, opposing the monastic devotion Robbins has to climbing by advocating an anarchistic style of anything goes. The two have a rivalry for 15 years, and as this Golden Age faces growing unease about the sustainability of their world, climbers are rocked by the pinnacle of the Harding/ Robbins duel: Harding’s controversial ascent of The Dawn Wall on El Capitan in 1970. The isolated world of rock climbing is shot into the public eye as Harding spends 28 days straight on the wall in the full view of hundreds of spectators and television cameras.

Embedded in the story is Mark Moore, the Midwestern father of Anderson-Moore, who abandons everything for climbing the same year that The Dawn Wall is shot into the national spotlight. Through a daughter’s lens, the film examines the extent to which climbing infiltrated his life as a disillusioned idealist. After being a once-promising activist, he becomes a secluded fruit tramp with his dog Hobo as his only companion.

There will be a special prize drawing after the movie, followed by an informal meet-and-greet with Anderson-Moore and producer/ writer Alex Reinhard at Eddie McStiff’s Garden Room, which is located at 57 S. Main St. To gain entry, present your ticket stubs.

Documentary looks at legendary rock climbers

When: Tuesday, May 26, at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Star Hall, 159, E. Center St.

Cost: $8 for advance tickets at Gearheads; tickets are $10 at the door