There’s not many climbers who you’ll see donning heart shaped sunglasses on the wall, or scaling massive trees in the Costa Rican jungle. Or maybe you haven’t seen a climber with a carved pumpkin on his head, swinging side to side in their harness (in celebration of Halloween, of course). Well, Noah Kane has done all of that. Balancing impressive, sometimes a little ridiculous, climbing feats with true skill, Noah Kane has burst onto the climbing and outdoor adventure scene.
I first met Noah Kane in 2019, we were both taking a documentary film class. Back then, Kane was in the early stages of his now feature length film “Climbing Giants.”
Fast forward and Kane has become a climbing and filmmaking icon of sorts. Climbing Giants screened at the Banff Mountain Film Festival back in 2021, and he’s racked 374K subscribers on YouTube and 15.4M likes on TikTok.
Despite all these accolades, Noah describes himself as a 23-year-old full-time college student. He started climbing just five years ago.
“It’s been a little bit of a not-straightforward college career but that not-straightforwardness has allowed me to explore and develop some other parallels of life,” said Kane. “One of which is namely trying to become a filmmaker. Recently in the past two and a half years, I’ve started to take the internet a little bit more seriously as a place to build an audience and to tell stories.”
You can say that Kane has found success. We sat down for a brief Q&A to catch up and hear all about his most recent projects.
The following interview has been edited for clarity.
How do you describe yourself – a climber first or a filmmaker first?
Whoa. I’m definitely more of a filmmaker because if I was just a climber trying to make money with my climbing ability, I would make $0. I am really a filmmaker who loves climbing and wants to be a climber. I call myself a wanna-be climber. I just love making videos and movies about climbing.
I see myself exploring other avenues of life through film a lot more than being a climber-filmmaker for the rest of my life. I’ll probably always do it, but I am a filmmaker first because a filmmaker can be applied to anything, so that’s just really exciting.
Your most recent climbing adventure?
Red Bull is starting to prioritize climbing. They’re recognizing it as really a growing adventure sport. There’s a lot of climbers out there now and Red Bull is trying to attract that market for themselves.
So they put on this competition where they set up two identical climbing roots going all the way up this dam and they pitted some of the world’s best climbers against each other in this event that was called Red Bull Dual Ascent. It was the first ever multi-pitch climbing competition, let alone first ever climbing competition on a dam. So I got invited to go to Switzerland and got to go climb the dam.
That was just so out there compared to every other type of adventure that I’ve ever done. It was really crazy.
Do you have a mentor that you look up to?
I got to meet Cedar Wright at the Dual Ascent event.
Cedar is a really cool person. I really look up to him. He is also a climbing filmmaker and, you know, doesn’t really seem to be, as a climber, too focused on climbing the hardest grades, but really is focused on climbing adventurous routes and getting out there and exploring the world through climbing.
He is also a great storyteller and a great personality, things that I really am trying to develop in myself.
Favorite climbing film?
Dawn Wall hands down. It’s character based. It’s about growth. It’s about the personal journey that is climbing. Nothing has moved me more or no film has moved me more than that climbing film.
Favorite project you’ve worked on?
My first ever major documentary is a film called “Climbing Giants.” I spent two years in Costa Rica following a group of young local tree climbers as they were pioneering difficult tree climbing. Something that is really, really niche. No one really else does it.
It was a film that both followed these climbers and then interviewed some of the more established canopy researchers who have been there climbing trees with different techniques, but nevertheless exploring and having adventures and sort of blending it together into I think a really beautiful film about nature and adventure and connecting with yourself and your friends and the natural world.
Heads up! Climbing Giants is now free on Kane’s Youtube channel.
So in the past month I’ve been cited for three misdemeanors. I went to court on the 23rd of November and I’m going to have to go to court again to resolve it.
I illegally camped and climbed in Garden of the Gods and there was video evidence, obviously, because I made a video about it, which has since been taken down. It was a scary moment because I’ve never really come up against any legal issues like that.
It was also just a great learning moment for myself of being really careful about what I put out there and really checking the legality of things and making sure that there’s not going to be pushback.
Biggest recommendations if people want to be a filmmaker?
My biggest recommendation for people trying to get on social media is just to make a lot of videos. Especially for short form stuff, it’s such a great opportunity to learn storytelling.
I feel a lot of imposter syndrome a lot of the times. Do I really deserve to be making videos with this many views? But I I think as long as you keep it true to yourself and what you love, and keep it personal and if you don’t do anything stupid, and I have done a few stupid things, obviously, then you’re gonna be okay and no one can really hate on you for just trying to share what you love in the world.
Skyblue Featured Video: Climbing Giants | Full Film
Satiate that adventure itch and check out Noah Kane online: