Act On Reason

The Japanese North Face free climber Toru Nakajima try the free-soloing Shomyo Falls 350m which is the largest water Fall in Japan.
The reason to challenge the biggest monster in Japan; the Shomyo Falls, which flows 3 tons of water every second.



Imashi Hashimoto


Toru Nakajima


The North Face

Running time

13 minutes

Country / Nationality


Our Judges say:

Spectacular free solo attempt on a waterfall... wait for the 'splash crux' !

Anna Paxton

When climbing why not leave the ropes behind and take a waterproof instead? 😮

Ed Birch Director of Salt-Street productions

Free soloing a waterfall in Japan, epic! An innovative and inspiring climbing film.

Jimmy Hyland

An authentic perspective on Free Soloing, as Toru Nakajima, (infamous to Grtistoners as the first ascensionoist of BlackOut, E96C) of tackles (what I'm sure in this country is known as 'what-we-make-kids-do-on-outwardbound-weekends-in-December) but in Japan is sawanobori’ – the ancient art of climbing waterfalls.

Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.

Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture. After you pass Ashikura Temple, which is an entrance to Tateyama mountain range, you will see a wide valley surrounded by a 500m cliff. This "groove" cut into the plateau of pyroclastic flow deposits from Tateyama volcano is a trace of an ancient giant fall that Shomyo river had gradually wore over 220,000 years. At the back of the groove about 7km upstream, there is a site in which Shomyo river has been digging the groove. That is a Shomyo Falls that known as the largest drop in Japan. The rain and melted snow on Tateyama range gather and run into this valley cuts into the plateau, and then flow down a 350 m gap to the bottom of the groove. The amount of water is enormous throughout the year. The roar from 3 tons of water flow every second make its imposing appearance and impress you as the greatest waterfall in Japan. Toru Nakajima, although his age is 26, he has the ability to compete with top climbers in the world. Not only he has climbed some V15 and 5.14 but also experienced some bold climbing such as free solo in UK. One day he came up with the challenge; “Free soloing on Shomyo Falls”. Freesolo is a solo climbing without a rope. It is the most primitive and “free” method of rock climbing. Climbers climb cliffs with no safety equipment, literally by themselves. The only difference between free soloing and usual free climbing is whether they use such equipments or not. However, the difference is crucial for their lives. Falling in free soloing means a death. Free soloing is a completely crazy style. Whoever he told “I would like to free solo Shomyo falls,” they seemed to be saying "Are you serious?" No one showed praise like “it is gonna be great.” Free soloing this waterfall is very different from that on a dry cliff. On a dry, hard rock, you will never fail unless you will choose a route too hard for your level, get terribly or lose your focus during the route. However, free soloing on this Shomyo Falls has various other factors which you cannot control with your climbing skills. Rock is soaked, so slippery, and fragile, and there are rock falls frequently. The river rises so quickly when it rains. It was not easy for you, who have climbed only dry rocks, to avoid these risks. However, you have to climb carefully, finding out loose rocks and better spot to grab on, step by step, and finish it before the weather would get worse to avoid falling to die. He is not an adventurer but an ordinal young guy who study in a laboratory every day and look forward to going to mountains on weekends or hanging out with friends. He wouldn’t fall and die for anything. So He was really worried until the day before the attempt. Fear eroded his mind when he put down his guard and forced him to imagine the worst ending. “Am I eager to free solo that waterfall? Do I need such a hardship in my life?” He had been asking himself every day, but he had not got an answer. How he overcome these risks and fears? The film shows you an awesome challenge in a magnificent nature by a climber.