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In Short Film ‘Hurt,’ Veteran Faces PTSD Through Free Soloing

A familiar story about a traumatized veteran meets the ropeless form of rock climbing in this gripping drama set in Squamish, British Columbia.

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Mental health problems collide with high-stakes rock climbing in this fresh take on a man facing his demons.

“Hurt” is the brainchild of Vince Lapointe, a military veteran and climber in Squamish, British Columbia. While Lapointe calls the film fictional, it’s also autobiographical, drawing from his very real traumas. It follows a man struggling with a breakup from his girlfriend and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the military — the exact scenario Lapointe found himself in before making the film.

Add that Lapointe has known “multiple climbers” who died soloing, and you get the ingredients for a film like “Hurt.” It dares to explore the murky motivations of climbers willing to scale dangerous cliffs without a rope. Lapointe suggests that there are, in fact, free soloists like him, using the sport as a less-than-perfect method of coping.

“I learned that it wasn’t uncommon for individuals in pain to look to this outlet to separate themselves from whatever traumas they were dealing with (breakups, loss of a significant other, anxiety, depression, etc.),” Lapointe wrote in the video description. ”Even soloing legends like Dean Potter and Alex Honnold had reportedly pushed their soloing limits following heartache.”

(Note that “Hurt” is distinct from “The Hurt,” a Reel Rock documentary about Alex Honnold free soloing in Red Rocks.)

Be advised this film has themes of self-harm and suicide. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts and need help, please dial 988 or 1-800-SUICIDE to reach the Suicide & Crisis Hotline. Canadian residents can call 1-833-456-4566 to reach Talk Suicide Canada.

Runtime: 12 minutes

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