Assault on El Capitan

Assault on El Capitan

Length / 68mins

The Story of the Second Ascent of the Most Controversial Climb in Yosemite History. In June and July of 2011, 42-year-old Ammon and Kait, his 22 year old girlfriend, set out to climb the unrepeated route Wings of Steel on Yosemite’s El Capitan. The route had sat unclimbed since the first ascent in 1983. Shrouded in controversy and with a bounty waiting for the second ascent team, there seemed to be no better person to climb it than Ammon. But was Kait the best choice for a partner? With over 70 El Cap climbs by 60 different routes Ammon is clearly a seasoned climber. Kait is relatively green to the big walls, having only three El Cap ascents on her resume and all of them with Ammon by her side. This climb would be a test of their ability and their relationship. The story of Wings of Steel is as legendary as Ammon himself. The first ascent team spent 39 days climbing the controversial route. The result – death threats, physical assaults and a slander campaign that polarised the Yosemite climbing community for over 30 years. Retold in interviews with the first ascent team, their detractors, climbing historians and personal interviews with both Ammon and Kait, combined with footage shot during their historic ascent, the truth about the most controversial climb in Yosemite history is told.
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Directed by

Jeff Vargen

Produced by

David Hesson, Jason Shepherd, Jeff Vargen

Production company

Accidental Productions

Cinematography by

Chris Hebert, Jason Shepherd


Kait Barbe, Hans Florine, Steve Grossman, Richard Jensen, Ron Kauk, Eric Kohl, Chris McNamara, Ammon McNeely, Mark Smith, Ken Yager

Known for

2nd Ascent

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