Thursday, 31 July 2008

MacLeod Climbs Echo Wall, E11++

Congratulations to Dave MacLeod who climbed the first ascent of his Echo Wall project this week. A most remarkable and audacious lead by a climber at the top of his game.

Dave MacLeod hanging about on Echo Wall, Ben Nevis. Pic Claire MacLeod

We filmed Dave working Echo Wall a couple of years ago; some of the footage from that went into the 'Future of Hard Trad' chapter in our recent film 'Committed Vol.1'. I have to admit, I personally thought that the ascent of this wall would have been further into the future!

It is certainly a futuristic route, a quick examination of Dave's rope strategy is evidence of that. In case you missed this detail, Dave set off with two ropes, half way up he untied and dropped one of the ropes and towards the top he dropped the second rope and soloed to the top. It reminded me of the way the Space Shuttle ditches booster rockets as it travels higher through the atmosphere.

I spoke to MacLeod about this and he commented that it felt quite odd topping out on this route with no ropes left on his harness, nothing to untie, no need to shout “take me off” to your belayer.

A cold looking Claire MacLeod during one of the many filming days on Ben Nevis. Pic Dave MacLeod

Dave's ascent was filmed by his wife, Claire, for a film Dave and Claire are making which is due out in the autumn. Hats off to Claire for the effort she put in to film this route. That's a big walk in with heavy camera gear... not to mention watching your husband climbing 9a above a 20M ground-fall. I think you've earned a rest Claire... I suggest 600 hours sat in an edit suite ;-)

I look forward to watching the film in the autumn.


Saturday, 26 July 2008

How to trash a £900 microphone

At a secret location deep in the south west of England, our endeavour to bring you dramatic and artistic camera angles didn't go quite according to plan.

Here's a sample out-take from one of our forthcoming DVDs.

An expensive mistake.

Fortunately my ample girth managed to shield the main body of the camera. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to smile about it for quite some time to come...


Monday, 21 July 2008

Tip to Tip


Since Sonnie, Cory and Steve McClure left Scotland the Hot Aches team have been hard at work on various film projects.

First up was a filming visit to the very nerve-centre of Deep in the slate mines of Llanberis we caught up with UKC's very own Jack Geldard for some editorial comment relating to some of the climbers in our new films.

Jack Geldard, UKC Editor, 6'4", being filmed by the 17'6" Lynwen Griffiths, deep in the nerve centre of head-quarters.

Second up is a new DVD that we are filming in conjunction with two other production companies.

'Tip To Tip' will follow the adventure of 6 paramotorers attempting to fly the length of Britain assisted only by a large knotted handkerechief above their head and a desk fan strapped to their back. Ok, ok. It is a little bit more high-tech than that, but only a little bit.

The expedition starts next Tuesday from Land's End, and is due to finish at John O'Groats 8 days later.
Lynwen's first lesson in paramotoring. Colin issues instructions via the world's longest finger.

The Hot Aches team will be filming alongside Hot Aches regular camerawoman, Lynwen Griffiths (Bamboo Chicken Productions)...

Enthusiasm or stupidity?

er, hem..

and ariel cameraman Dan Burton.

Dan taking off in high winds, 7.00am today



In the last two weeks we have been testing out the filming equipment and refining the logistics, with Dan and event organiser, Simon Westmore.

Simon commences take off in the same high winds

It does look like hard work. I'm sure I'll get to try this out a bit over the next two weeks.

Mia, auditioning for lead role in the movie.

watch this space for updates on Tip to Tip.


Thursday, 10 July 2008

Scottish Rock Volume 1

Scottish Rock

Scottish Rock Volume 1 is hot off the presses. A 12 year labour of love (by author, Gary Latter) is a concept hard to relate to. We spend 12 months making a film, and that seems like a huge amount of time. The idea of spending 12 years is quite staggering.

First impressions? I confess to loving guidebooks, and this guidebook is veery much about my own stomping ground. But nevertheless, this is a book that truly whets the appetite; so many places I still haven't been too. So many great looking routes that I haven't tried. And I suppose that is the main job of a good guidebook: to open your eyes to new places and new adventures.

Climbing guidebooks in Scotland have a strange history. The rather exclusive and stuffy 'Scottish Mountaineering Club' is truly just a club, predominantly male, predominantly old, predominantly Scottish, but for the last three decades it have produced the definitive climbing guidebooks to Scotland. These are quite good, and certainly comprehensive in terms of coverage of routes. The complete set of guides to the country will set you back at least £150.00. The style of writing is quite quirky too. The tradition up here is for guidebooks to give you only a little information, so that your adventure remains 'intact'. None of the Rockfax style diagrams that illustrate every feature on the route. 

Over the years I have often reached a crag scratching my head and wishing I had packed a dictionary. 'Start at a ubiquitious looking rowan tree' was a description for my route in Glen Coe. Even when I fathomed out what ubiquitous meant, I realised that what might at one time have been 'alone', might now have developed many neighbours since the guide was written.

That is enough of a digression. Back to Gary's book. It looks fantastic. If you are just an occasional visiting climber to Scotland then this is the one book to buy. Even if you own all the SMC guides, this is still worth getting hold of. Lots of new additions, and of course a second opinion on how to find the start of your chosen route...

Dave B