‘The Disciples of Gill’ focuses on the pioneers of bouldering


The Daily Sentinel

John Gill is known as the “father of bouldering” by the climbing community.

His friend and fellow bouldering pioneer, Pat Ament, has finally released exclusive video footage of Gill’s skills taken in the early 1960s when the pair were still young and lithe.

Ament took the old 16-mm footage and had it converted to a high-definition digital format.

Then he wrote a story line and filmed scenes of himself climbing with his 8-year-old daughter, Anna, to illustrate how Gill and other climbing pioneers have affected the sport of climbing for future generations.

The new film, “The Disciples of Gill,” was given rave reviews when it premiered at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder last November.

“I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure how people would respond,” Ament said, “but even people who weren’t climbers enjoyed it.”

And now people in the Grand Valley can view the film at showings Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets are available at Summit Canyon Mountaineering on Main Street in Grand Junction, at the Outdoor Program office at Mesa State College, at City Market in Fruita or by calling 210-2706. Seating is limited.

Ament said he became friends with Gill in 1968 when they lived on the Front Range. According to Ament, he and Gill were the first climbers to take bouldering — a term used by climbers to describe practicing foothold and handhold moves on low-lying rocks — and make it an art form.

They were the first to use chalk, previously used only by gymnasts, on their hands to secure handholds, he said.

Ament remembers watching in awe as Gill lifted his entire body weight with just one finger.

The film shows interviews with Gill and other pioneer climbers in the present day as they describe their climbing skills and the injuries that eventually ended their climbing careers.

“There are moments when they say they won’t ever climb again and it just makes a lump in your throat,” Ament said.

Ament, a Fruita resident, is well-known in the film industry for his movies about climbing. Other films such as “The Vision” and “Climbing in El Dorado” have won numerous awards including the best spirit award at the Telluride Mountain Filmfest and an outstanding achievement award at the Anton Film Fest in Austria.


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