Tuesday, 30 November 2010

'The Pinnacle' Trailer

Here's the new trailer for 'The Pinnacle' with music by Sam Hurt & Andrew Hunter.

Thanks to David Jinks for his work distilling 62 mins of film down to 90 seconds.

Also thank you to everyone who voted at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival to give the film the People's Choice Award and to everyone at the Dundee Mountain Film Festival who also awarded the film People's Choice... I'm so pleased that folk are enjoying the film.


Friday, 5 November 2010

'The Pinnacle' - World Premiere & Advance Orders

The Pinnacle Film Poster

The World premiere of 'The Pinnacle' will take place 2 weeks today (Friday 19th Nov) at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner will be there to take questions after the film. Details and tickets can be found on the Kendal Mountain Film Festival website.

DVD - Click to read cover

The first batch of DVDs are currently being manufactured and are available to order in advance from the Hot Aches website. DVDs will be shipped first class on Monday 22nd November.


Monday, 25 October 2010

‘The Architect’ wins People’s Choice at Edinburgh

I had a great weekend at the EMFF; this festival gets better every time. Now in its 8th year the EMFF provided some great films and speakers. I managed to catch most of the sessions and I came away really inspired, both by the adventure and by some of the filmmaking. My new short film, ‘The Architect’, had its first outing to a full house of 450 on the Saturday night. I was very pleased with the reception the film received and delighted that it won the People's Choice Award. Thank you to everyone who came along on Saturday.

The film will be released as an extra on my new DVD ‘The Pinnacle’ which will be on sale here from 22nd November.

My favourite film of the weekend was definitely ‘Solo - Alone at Sea’. If you get a chance to see this I would highly recommend it. Personally, I think that for a film to be great it has to make you laugh and make you cry. Many films can do one or the other, but when a film hits both ends of the emotional spectrum you know it has something special. Over the last 6 years of attending mountain film festivals there have been a handful of films which have passed this test and this was one of them.

The jury seemed to agreed with me about 'Solo' and awarded it the 'Best Film Award'. The 'Best Climbing Film' award went to Alastair Lee's big walling epic, 'The Asgard Project'.


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

'The Architect' Preview Clip [HD]

Andy Turner enjoying the spin drift on Point Five Gully

I've add a short preview clip of 'The Architect' to the Hot Aches Facebook page, you can watch it here.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival 2010

Since I made my first film in 2004 the Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival has heralded the start of the film festival season. Over the years the EMFF has hosted the world premieres of several of my films: Fools With Tools (2004), Cavewoman (2005), E11 (2006), Committed (2007), Grit Kids (2008) and Single-Handed (2009). This year is no exception, with the world premier of one of my new films 'The Architect':

The Architect (2010) HD 16 mins
One of the great pioneers of Scottish mountaineering, Jimmy Marshall, reflects on a lifetime of climbing in Scotland. His soulful words accompany stunning footage of Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner enjoying the routes which Marshall first climbed with his friend Robin Smith on Ben Nevis 50 years ago.

The film is playing on the Saturday night (23rd October), full details can be found on the EMFF website.

"Climbers I've Shot and Some I'd Like to Shoot!"

Pic Adrian Trendall

This year at the EMFF, I've also been asked to give a presentation at the Saturday afternoon 'Climbers Session'. I'm preparing a lighthearted look through the Hot Aches archives and I will be showing some classic clips of climbers I've worked with over the years. Many of these clips have never been released, so I hope it will show a little of what goes on in the background during the making of climbing films.

The EMFF is always a great event but this year I think the film program is stronger then ever before. The EMFF party is FREE this year so don't miss out on what is always a great social event on the Edinburgh climbing scene.


Monday, 26 July 2010

Monkey See Monkey Win

'Hey Presto' from the DVD 'Monkey See, Monkey Do' has just been awarded Best Short Film at The 2010 Squamish Mountain Festival.

You can watch a clip from the film on the Hot Aches You Tube Channel, or on the Hot Aches Facebook page.

Michael Klekamp and I shot this film in only a few days, almost a year ago now. It was a fun shoot, with a 12 hour roadtrip either side.

Michael Klekamp

I had planned to shoot a film with another climber who, in the end, couldn’t make it, which left me in Canada with a few days free and no film. So I emailed Sonnie and made plans to drive from Banff to Squamish to shoot him on one of his projects.

About a week or two later and the day before we were to embark on the 12 hour drive to Squamish, I called Sonnie to confirm everything. No answer. OK.... I thought. No problem. We drive over, I’m sure he’ll be expecting us.

Roadtrip Food

So Michael and I drove from Banff to Squamish through a heat wave and forest fires. After a full day on the road we stopped for some food at Whistler, only a short drive from Squamish. I decided to call Sonnie and let him know we were almost there. No answer on the land-line. No answer on the cell phone. But hey, I had a google map of where he lives, so we carried on.

We arrive, walk in through the open patio doors and Sonnie is sat on the sofa in his boxer shorts watching Family Guy. “Hey Boys, what's happening?”

Downtown Squamish

The next few days were spent getting up at 5am to climb and film before the sun hit the crag and the heat stopped play. Then we’d have breakfast at Café and spend the rest of the day hanging around at the lake or Sonnie’s apartment.

This clip sums it up:-

On one of these afternoons, we were all sat around the apartment when Sonnie’s land-line started to ring. He didn’t even flinch! He just carried on looking at his laptop. A few moments later, his cell phone started to ring and vibrate on the table next to him. He picked it up, looked at the screen and put it right back down. Now I understood.


PS ( Can you PS on a blog?)

Also, congratulations to Alastair Lee who won the Best Film Award for his epic 'The Asgard Project'. Best Climbing film went to the awesome 'Alone on the Wall' by Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Indian Face and The Cailleach

Clogwyn Du'r Arddu

As we walk up to Cloggy the Welsh clouds gather threateningly over the summit of Snowdon. Dave and Claire ride the train to the summit with all the climbing and rigging gear.

Ghost Train!

Dave abseils down the route and a few drops of rain spit a warning at him.


I arrive at the foot of the wall; I feel rejected, resigned to another trip wasted because of British weather. I decide to gear up anyway, figuring that I might as well jug up the wall just in case Dave decides to at least work the moves before the rain sets in properly.

Llyn Du'r Arddu (here be dragons!)

I jug up and get comfortable on my skateboard seat. Dave climbs on a shunt and abs back to the base of the route.

Skateboard and Shunt

Dave shouts up that he's going to "give it 10 mins and see". I look at the sky and put on my belay jacket. The clouds still look angry, but as yet unproductive.

Dave and Claire chat at the bottom, I eavesdrop on the radio mic. Dave is worried about the rain, the route will take him at least 20 mins to climb and it seems risky to attempt when it could pour down at any minute.

Dave goes for a walk.

Dave returns and chats more about the weather. Claire seems more confident than Dave, pointing out that the weather hasn't got any worse in the last half an hour. Dave starts to gear up, once he's putting his boots on I radio Tom to check he is all set on the long shot.

Claire MacLeod, dressed for summer on Snowdon (pic Tom Kirby)

Dave starts climbing, all my focus is on the filming, all my attention is on the camera. There is an odd feeling of detachment from reality through a viewfinder. I've filmed a lot of scary and dangerous ascents over the last 5 years and it is very rare that this bubble of detachment has ever burst.

Video Grab - Dave Climbs Indian Face

Dave reaches the jugs at the end of the crux. He's done it. We chat briefly and I check he is happy to wait there while I jug the last 10m to the belay ledge for the top-out shot. I transfer my weight from the skateboard to the rope, but before I can set off jugging the Welsh clouds boil to life and start to spit angrily at us. Dave shouts that he can't afford to wait. The top section is relatively easy… in the dry, but not something to risk in the wet.

Race in the gloom

So now Dave and I are racing each other to the top, me on jumars, Dave on damp rock. I only just beat Dave to the ledge (although maybe he let me win!). I get the camera out and film the last few metres of the climb. As I'm filming the top out interview, a seemingly huge gob of rain hits the lens.

Lens cloth needed

By the time we're walking back down in the valley, the rain is torrential. I'm wearing full Gortex waterproofs but I'm still soaked through. It seems unlikely that anyone could have climbed anything today, let alone Indian Face.

The mist descends

Dave jokes that he is glad the ascent has been caught on film otherwise no one would believe he had done it today.

Filmmaker Tom Kirby enjoys some excellent soup courtesy of the very nice cafe at the foot of Snowden's Llanberis path.

That night Cailleach, the Celtic goddess of weather and water, exercised her power.


In the morning I'm first up and I head to Pete's to check my email. On the way out I bump into Johnny Dawes chatting with friends. I tell him the news, he is excited by it and keen to chat with Dave, the newest member of a very exclusive club of climbers. As we're chatting the door opens, a gust of wind enters the café... followed by John Redhead. Dawes tells him the news and then they chat with excitement about last nights storm.

Two of the members of the Indian Face Club

Shortly after I shot a quick interview with Dave and Johnny; you can see an extract of it on the Hot Aches Facebook page.


Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Indian Face 2007

Just back from filming Dave MacLeod climb Indian Face E9 in North Wales... More about that soon. But for now I've just added a clip from Committed Vol 1 featuring Dave MacLeod trying the route back in 2007.

Hot Aches You Tube Channel

Friday, 14 May 2010

Great Writing From Kevin Shields

Kevin Shields (Pic Steven Gordon)

A very open and honest piece of writing by Kevin Shields has just been published on UKC. You can read the article here.

I've placed some great clips of Kev climbing, taken from Monkey See, Monkey Do , on YouTube.
You can see them by going to the Hot Aches Channel.


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Free Films and Special Offers on Climbing DVDs

We are running a special offer on climbing DVD sales from Hot Aches.com:

Get all five Hot Aches DVDs for only £50,
Or buy any three for £40, or any two for £30.

All our films are also now available as downloads, prices start from only £7.99.

If you want to watch some high quality films for free, check out our new Hot Aches YouTube Channel


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Movie Poster Draft

The first draft of the Movie Poster / DVD cover for the latest Hot Aches film, 'The Pinnacle'.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A Great Week on The Ben

The North East Buttress of Ben Nevis

Last week we had a fantastic time climbing and filming on Ben Nevis. By day we were running and climbing all over the mountain trying to keep up with Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner as they repeated all the Smith- Marshall routes from that famous week in 1960. By night we were capturing footage and editing clips on a wind powered laptop whilst drinking whisky!

The CIC Hut, our home for the week.

I’ve been back in Edinburgh now for a couple of days and I’m still amazed that we managed to pull it off and get all the routes climbed and more importantly to me, filmed well.

I'm still capturing footage from the week, but here's a video grab from each of the routes we filmed:

The Great Chimney (IV,5) 6th February 1960

Minus Three Gully (IV,5) 7th February 1960

Smith's Route (V,5) 8th February 1960

Observatory Buttress (V,4) 9th February 1960

Point Five Gully (V,5) 10th February 1960

Piggot's Route (V,6) 12th February 1960

Orion Direct (V,5) 13th February 1960

I have a lot of people to thank for the success of this project, it was a fantastic team:

Dave MacLeod - Climber

Dave MacLeod on Tower Ridge after climbing Great Chimney

As well as climbing all the routes, Dave was instrumental in the planning and logistics that went into this project.

Andy Turner - Climber

Andy enjoys getting the Hot Aches!

This was the first time I had worked with Andy and he was brilliant to work with. Climbing routes for camera requires a lot of waiting around and faffing; Andy's patience was wonderful. He also had to put up with me kicking snow on his head from above for the whole week.

Donald King – Mountain Guide

Donald King
Donald King did a superb job of looking after me and ensuring my safety on the mountain, rigging routes and getting me into some fantastic positions to shoot the climbing.

Guy Heaton – Cameraman

Guy Heaton getting the shot in comfort

Guy was my second cameraman on this shoot and he captured some beautiful long shots of the climbers from all angles. His work really illustrates what an amazing mountain Ben Nevis is.

Mike Pescod – Director of the Fort William Mountain Film Festival

Mike Pescod (Centre) on top of Point Five Gully

Mike is the director of the Fort William Mountain Festival, a driving force behind this project.

Lochaber Athletics Club

Three members of the Lochaber Athletics Club help Donald King (right) with some kit.

Thanks to all the members of the club who helped us over the week by running up to the hut to collect media and deliver supplies.

Paul Prentice - Mountain Boot Company

Paul Prentice from The Mountain Boot Company kitted out myself and Guy with nice new axes and crampons for the week.

Claire MacLeod - Website Support

Claire MacLeod filming one of her own productions

Thanks to Claire for her support and website work over the week.

Mountain Equipment - Major Sponsor

Finally, without the support of Mountain Equipment this project could not have happened at all. Richard Woodall, marketing Manager at ME, backed the project right from the start. Despite the risk that nothing might come of it because of adverse weather and climbing conditions he committed support from ME. I can remember him saying to me back in early January, “ok, it might be worth a punt!”.

The Week's Work

I’m going to craft all this footage into a film or films for release in the Autumn, just in time to get everyone psyched for the next winter season.


How many layers? Free DVD to the first correct answer!