Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Committed – Dave MacLeod on ‘Divided Years’ E10

It’s almost a year since we shot Dave on ‘Divided Years’, John Dunne’s stunning E10 in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland. I’ve just edited the first cut of this sequence which will be going into our new dvd Committed.

Here’s a few frames as a taster of what to expect from this sequence:

"I've hardy left the flat since i did Rhapsody". Dave Macleod, George St, Glasgow

‘Divided Years’ E10

"It looks amazing"

Abseil inspection

The Mourne Mountains

A 6c wire placement at the crux

Steep Crux

Thin Moves

Top Wall

"one of the best routes I’ve ever done… it’s fantastic, its long, perfect quality,... you couldn’t have designed it better, a big overhanging prow with a line of holds running right up the edge of it." Dave Macleod

It's been fun looking at this footage again, we got the climb well covered with at least six camera angles. We were also very lucky with the weather and managed to capture the climb and the mountains in some great light.


Monday, 28 May 2007

Telluride - 9th International Film Award for E11

We are really pleased to have just received a further film award for E11, and a rather special one at that. This time from America's longest established mountain film festival at Telluride in the San Juan mountains of Colorado, USA.

The Charlie Fowler Climbing Film Award went to E11. Many of you will doubtless be aware of the death of Charlie Fowler and Chris Boskoff. Locals to the San Juan mountains they were prolific climbers, well known and highly respected throughout the international climbing community.

The background to this award:

Based on an idea by Charlie’s sister Ginny and her husband Maurie, Mountainfilm in Telluride is honored to announce the establishment of an annual Charlie Fowler Climbing Film Award. The cash award of $1,000 will be initiated at the 2007 Festival and will be announced by Charlie’s sister at the Closing Picnic & Awards Ceremony at Telluride Town Park on May 28, 2007.

Pic. Gus Gusciora

The film selected to receive the award would express a love for documenting remote exploration and climbing, exhibit an adventurous flair for filmmaking, and would include but not be limited to either first ascent attempts or a strong cultural thread throughout the piece. The hope is that the award will afford the winning filmmaker the opportunity to continue making climbing films, a cinematic genre that Charlie was very much a part of, either as the main talent or simply as part of the crew. This yearly tribute to a former member of the Mountainfilm Board of Directors and Advisory Board member until his death, a humanitarian, and one of the finest mountaineers in the world aligns with Mountainfilm’s idea that friends, adventure, passion,and powerful ideas are worth sustaining.

I was lucky enough to be out in Telluride to collect the award, as well as sneak in some jet-lagged sessions of climbing.

The DVD E11 is on sale throughout North America from many outdoor retailers and web shops, price $29,90

Retailers can contact Vista Cerro in USA for distribution.



Friday, 25 May 2007

View From the Crane, Sonnie Trotter, E11

I'm very pleased with the results we got from using the crane at the top of Dumbarton Rock earlier this week. (See Tuesday's post: Camera Angles.)

Here's a few video frames from the crane cam:

The scene, (from Left) Dave Brown, Cory Richards, Nick Rocheswhich.

Sonnie Trotter on the low wall

The Requiem Crack

"For auld lang syne..."

Top of the Requiem crack

The thin moves of the Rhapsody headwall

More thin moves!

Move to the last crimp

Reach for the top

"Now I've got to f**king lead it": Dave Macleod, E11.

Top of Dumbarton Rock

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Redpath - New Route at The Anvil

News of an inspiring first ascent at Scotland's premiere sport climbing crag, The Anvil. 'FirePower'.

Dave Redpath

At F8b (perhaps harder) it certainly isn't cutting edge by world standards, but for me Dave Redpath's 'career best' ascent at the weekend is inspiring for other reasons.

The quiet man of Scottish climbing isn't build like a rock god. In fact in his civvies he doesn't even really look like a climber (apologies Dave, you know what I mean!).

Dave holding the crux swing for the first time
If you saw him at the wall you would probably think 'I can climb harder than him' - Except that you won't see him at the wall. Instead he trains in his garage, and I mean 'trains', rather than the 'playing' which is all that most of us actually do down the wall.

Skin Splitting

When I went to The Anvil recently Dave was already long in residence on his latest project after a 6.00 am start and a 4 mile walk in. That day he reached a skin splitting high point having lead through the crux and held the big swing-release for the very first time on the lead. On Sunday he returned with Emma and finally succeeded.

The first photo I took at the crag, not sharp sorry, but I show it because you can see just how much effort is going on.

One reason that I am inspired is because in recent days I have just myself committed to a 'career best' climbing objective. Much as I respect the massive achievements of so many of the top climbers that we film, somehow Redpath's example seems more relevent to us lesser mortals. Also like Redpath I have finally buckled down to training properly. After 18 months of rock climbing plateau I feel like I am moving forward again. Exciting.


Camera Angles

Getting the camera into the right position for the shot is just about the biggest challenge when filming rock climbing.

These days we have got a secret weapon. Last week we made a few modifications to our remote control camera crane so that it can shoot from a position above and looking back in. Necessary for the location in the picture.

Here you can see it (parked - between takes) on the ledge above a very famous route in Scotland. The footage we are getting is truly amazing.

The only downside of course is the amount of effort to get 25kg of crane + 25kg of counter=weights + camera, viewfinder, wiring and gizmos up to such an innacessable spot. A lot of hauling and a lot of curious onlookers wondering what on earth we were doing up there.
Also a lot of paranoia about dropping nuts and bolts as we assemble the crane on the tiny ledge. Drop anything and it's a 35m abseil then jumar to pick it up. Connect anything up incorrectly and several thousand pounds worth of camera plummets groundwards. Insurance? No chance.



Sunday, 20 May 2007

Hot Aches - Web Site and Blog Changes

You might have noticed that we have made a few tweaks and changes to our blog and website.

The idea is to integrate the blog and website more closely. Whilst the blog will continue to be the source of up to date news, the website has plenty of information about Hot Aches business as well as our films and photography.

What's new?

We have added an image gallery to the Hot Aches Images page. Some of our favourite shots from around the world.
We have also updated the text and photos on the other information pages.

What's to come?

We will be launching regular podcasts in July; clips from the new movie as well as plenty of previously unseen footage. Tasters of what is to come as well as some classic moments or great climbs that never made it into our previous DVDs.

We will of course be keeping you updated about the major ascents that make it into Committed, and with news about the film's release and tour dates.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Glen Etive

Our filming trip yesterday up to Glen Etive did indeed turn out to be something rather special, a really enjoyable day for many reasons.

Dave 'Cubby' Cuthbertson in Glen Etive, Scotland [photos: Hot Aches Images]

In the new movie Committed you won’t just be seeing the top climbers of the current generation. There are also to be a few special appearances from past masters too; climbers who’s cutting edge routes are now receiving repeats and are still considered to be major test-pieces.

It was a real pleasure to catch up with Cubby in such a beautiful setting and to learn more about the climbing scene over the last thirty years. Dave ‘Cubby’ Cuthbertson was certainly one of Britain’s greatest and most influential climbers from the late ‘70s up until just a few years ago. Indeed if it were not for the heavy toll of cumulative injuries and accidents then at the age of 50 he would still be very much at the forefront.

Cubby spotted the bouldering potential in Glen Etive a couple or so years ago whilst high up on the Etive Slabs. Since a recent hip operation he has been coming back out here working away on problems and gradually getting back some form.

The hip is clearly painful and problematic, restricting the range of movement. Nevertheless he managed to pull off a fine looking problem, as yet un-named but at about font 7b.

Superb. What a bonus to capture that on film. Sadly I fear that there will be very few further appearances in front of camera from one of climbing's greatest characters and exponents.

Cubby is now one of the UK's leading climbing and landscape photographers as well as having a busy schedule with outdoor related film and TV work.



Monday, 14 May 2007


Dumbarton Rock (Hot Aches Images)

We normally don’t write blog entries about climbers that we filming before they complete their projects. At that stage of proceedings it is kind of private and personal and it’s also not right to raise expectations (or invite a crowd).

However Sonnie Trotter has now written a bit about his current British trip on his blog and the ever-vigilant UK websites have picked up on it and written news reports, so I guess we can mention a few things.

Sonnie Trotter being molested by Leo Houlding last autumn in Banff, Canada. Robin Beatty (British musician) looking concerned.

We met Sonnie out in Canada last autumn when we were there with Dave MacLeod, and contrary to what one might expect there isn't rivalry between the ascentionists of North America and Britain’s hardest trad climbs. Quite the opposite, the guys were simply psyched about each others routes because of how good the climbing looks.

So it was great to hear recently that Sonnie was coming over to try Rhapsody. Unfortunately Sonnie’s arrival coincided with the end of the driest spell of weather in the UK for years.

So the Hot Aches crew were back over to Dumbarton. It was quite strange to be up on that headwall again. Fascinating too to see another climber working the complex sequences that we had filmed so much before.

Sonnie working the crux section on the top headwall with a very very long top rope.

Working the route during the brief occasions that the rain relented, Sonnie has been making great progress. Interesting also to see them round at Dave MacLeod's house studying the video and discussing the beta.

'You hold it like that!?' Trotter and MacLeod at Dumbarton

Certainly this is not the kind of route that even the best climbers would come and knock off in a couple of days. 'WORLD CLASS' he said, and on Sonnie’s blog he describes the crux as “NASTY hard, BRICK hard”.

Cory on belay duty

With no skin left and a poor weather forecast for the UK, Sonnie and his friends have headed off to Majorca for a bit of R&R. In fact I’ve just heard from him; “this place is unreal and it’s perfect, awesome, stunning, the best”. Perhaps he should have set out to repeat Sharma’s routes rather than MacLeod’s; a back drop of beaches and beautiful people rather than graffiti and rain. (Only joking, the man is psyched by Dumbarton too!)

Working the moves on Rhapody.

So hopefully some more Dumbarton action to follow in a few days and hopefully some decent weather. Meanwhile we are off to film in Glen Etive tomorrow, something quite special…



Saturday, 12 May 2007

More Gore

After publishing some gory photos of events at The Anvil last week we've had some requests in for more gore on this site. So here goes...

..So just to prove to you how vast the Hot Aches Images photo library is, here are some nasty pictures from last year's filming trip to Spain.

Three hands?


As well as filming a great deal of blood we did get round to shooting a bit of climbing during the trip. Below is the owner of those unpleasant digits.

Alan Cassidy climbing Anabolica F8a at Siurana, Spain (looking a bit weak don't you think?)

Niall McNair and Dave MacLeod inspect the damage at Montant.

The Hot Aches crew filming at Montsant, climber Steve Richardson

Dave MacLeod climbing L Mens, F8b+, Montsant Spain

Hopefully that's satisfied the blood lust of some readers. Apologies to those of a more delicate disposition.