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Jimmy Chin in "Meru." / Photo by Renan Ozturk Courtesy of Music Box Films

Some rock faces loom so large they dominate the landscape. Yet these monoliths present an irresistible climbing challenge, an opportunity to attempt the unimaginable. Yosemite's "Dawn Wall" and the "Shark's Fin" on Mount Meru in the Himalayas are two such places.

Climbers and nonclimbers will experience the thrill of climbing in special screenings of "Meru" and "The Dawn Wall," a pair of adrenaline-pumping documentaries that capture high-stakes ascents of these legendary natural wonders.

These 2D, giant-screen epics will fill the six-story screen of the Tennessee Aquarium Imax Theater during 7 p.m. screenings of "Meru" on Jan. 24-25 and "The Dawn Wall" on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

"Meru" recounts a climbing team's high-stakes attempt to summit the Shark's Fin on Mount Meru. Climbing a 21,000-foot mountain is challenging enough, but Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk faced additional obstacles such as hair-raising ice climbs, sheer rock faces and the extreme altitude.

If you go

› What: “Meru” and “The Dawn Wall”

› Where: Tennessee Aquarium Imax, 201 Chestnut St.

› When: 7 p.m. Jan. 24-25 “Meru”; 7 p.m. Jan. 31- Feb. 1, “The Dawn Wall”

› Admission: $13.95 or $11.95 Aquarium members

› For more information: https://tnaqua.org/imax/meru-the-dawn-wall

What was meant to be a seven-day trip to the summit — with just enough food to make it to the top — turned into a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures.

Beaten back by a massive blizzard, the team's first attempt failed. Undaunted, they returned three years later, determined to attempt the gauntlet once more. Their Olympic efforts are documented in a gripping film that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

For many climbers, Yosemite National Park holds a special significance as a place to push themselves harder and climb a little higher. That made the park an enticing venue for American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, who have continuously sought new challenges since they first began scaling rock faces in their early teens. Their story is told in "The Dawn Wall."

The towering granite surface for which The Dawn Wall is named receives the first rays of sunlight in the park each day. It's an almost glass-like surface that towers nearly 3,000 feet above the surrounding landscape.

Caldwell was taken hostage by rebels in Kyrgystan, lost an index finger in an accident and also had personal challenges. Rather than being weighed down by these hardships, he focused his mind and body on a singular goal — conquering The Dawn Wall.

After six years of exploratory climbing, plotting and preparation, Caldwell and Jorgeson made a final attempt that drew worldwide attention. Imax audiences will be awestruck by the majesty of Yosemite and the heart-pounding action as they watch this duo clinging to the mountain by their fingertips.

Both films are rated R for strong language.

These special screenings are at 7 p.m. Jan. 24-25 for "Meru" and Jan. 31-Feb 1 for "The Dawn Wall." A cash bar with beer and wine will be available at each screening.

 

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