More than six years after being on hand for the grand opening of the Central Washington University climbing wall, rock climber and alumnus Kyle O’Meara will return for the screening of “Western Gold,” a bouldering film in which he starred. The film will play at 7:35 p.m. Friday in the Student Union and Recreation Center Theatre. Tickets are $5 at the door and all proceeds will benefit the CWU Climbing Club.
O’Meara, who is not a professional climber, first got involved in the making of “Western Gold” when he heard the film maker, Alex Savage of Savage Films, was planning on filming in his favorite place to climb, Leavenworth.
“I had seen the film maker’s plan to come through,” O’Meara explained. “I just wanted to show him the area so he could get the best shots possible.”
But for O’Meara, scouting the area with Savage turned into his first appearance in a major bouldering film.
“I kind of just stumbled into this one,” O’Meara said with a laugh. “One of (Savage’s) goals was to find local climbers for the film… that’s another reason I’m in the film, I’m a local boy.”
O’Meara was lucky enough to represent Leavenworth climbers in “Western Gold,” but Savage did not stop there. He also traveled to Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming and British Columbia to showcase local climbing talent on the big screen.
“(Western Gold) shows a really nice perspective of real bouldering,” O’Meara said. “Just to see the artistic touch he used to capture these shots… every single frame of the movie is like a photograph.”
Starring in the film was a thrill, but the continued growth of the sport of bouldering is something that really excites him.
“In the past five years, in the Northwest in particular, it’s been growing a lot,” he said. “Just the sheer number of people out there is really cool to see.”
The increased popularity of bouldering can be seen on the Central campus, and O’Meara was at the front of the movement while a student employee for CWU University Recreation.
According to O’Meara, he helped design programs like the Top Rope and Lead Climbing certification clinics and was one of the first to support the idea for the Northwest Collegiate Climbing Circuit (NC3), which has since blossomed into the largest collegiate circuit in the country.
“It’s cool to see some of the programs I helped launch continue to grow and become such a huge success,” O’Meara said. “If I can help introduce (bouldering) to them, and it has a positive influence on their lives, that’s great for me.”
This event is sponsored by University Recreation.