Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Odyssey Trailer Release

It's fast approaching that exciting time of year for us at Hot Aches, where we get ready to release our new films. We've had a busy year this time around, and have two films ready for release this November.

The first on the list is Odyssey. We have just released the trailer for the film this morning, and we are really psyched for the premiere on the 10th of November (details), and the subsequent online launch. Check out the trailer below.

Second on the list is Wide Boyz. This will be premiering at Kendal Film Festival, and will then be showing at Dundee Mountain Film Festival on the 24th November. Have a peek at the trailer for Wide Boyz below.

Last on the list for this years festival circuit and releases is the Long Hope Route. We are really proud that after it's success at Kendal Mountain Film festival last year, it is showing at Banff Film Festival this year, with both Dave MacLeod and Paul Diffley on hand to introduce, lecture and answer questions.

All in all it's been a great year, and we're looking forward to seeing the films on the big screen. Here's to the next few!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Adrian works for Hot Aches

Hi, my name is Adrian. This is my second post on the Hot Aches blog, I posted a while back about a trip to Alaska.

This is just a quick update to let the world know that I am now a member of the Hot Aches team!

Incase you didn’t see the earlier post about Alaska, I’ll tell you a bit about me:

I am a filmmaker and climber from Bristol, also a recent (1st Class Honours) graduate of Media Production from the University of Lincoln. I am passionate about the outdoors and filmmaking and love any opportunity to get out and shoot. Being a self declared nerd, I also love geeking it up in front of a computer.

During my time at uni, I worked for Hot Aches on a freelance basis. I am really grateful to have been offered this job so soon after finishing university. I don’t think I could have come at a more perfect time!

I started at the beginning of September and already, Diff has had me working hard on a few different jobs, editing things and also on a brand new Hot Aches website which is soon to be hitting the web.

My first major assignment for Hot Aches is to direct my very own film!! (due for release late 2013). This will be a combination of footage from the trip to the Ruth Gorge, Alaska and another epic location yet to be confirmed. The film will be a look into the lives of hardcore mountaineers’, Matt Helicker and Jon Bracey as they tackle some world first mixed technical mountaineering ascents... Keep an eye out for details on the next location.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Odyssey Release: Premiere at The Works

We are very pleased to announce that on November 10th we will be premiering our new film 'Odyssey' at The Climbing Works in Sheffield.

We've teamed up with The North Face to bring you a premiere with a difference, and starting at the same time as we show the film at The Climbing Works, we will release Odyssey online to stream for free for 10 days. During this time the DVD and download price of the film will be reduced.

‘Odyssey’ - Our 10th film (directed by Dom Bush) - is an epic two-week road trip with four of the world’s best climbers tackling some of the best areas of traditional rock climbing in the UK.  James Pearson, Hazel Findlay, Hansjörg Auer (Austria), Caroline Ciavaldini (France) and the four man camera team visited the Lakes, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, Northumberland and North Wales.

We normally take the traditional route of premiering at a film festival, followed by the release of DVDs and downloads. This time round however, we wanted to do something different, and we hope that by releasing the film in this way  thousands of people will be able to enjoy it completely free of charge. We're hoping that people enjoy the film so much, that they will then purchase a copy of the film at the reduced price (available only during the 10 day period). 

During this time we will also be revealing exclusive offers on other Hot Aches titles.

We are very pleased to be working with Heason Events & The Climbing Works once again. Matt Heason from Heason Events said:  “A few years ago we held a multi-screen, simultaneous screening of ‘Committed 2’ at the Climbing Works which was a big success so it’s exciting to be working with Hot Aches again on pushing the boundaries of film distribution.”

Michele Scarano, Head of Digital & Social Media, The North Face (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) said:  "Since climbing is in our roots, we feel that authentic content is key to engage with the community from pro to enthusiast. We understand that followers and fans are hungry to know more about our athletes and their incredible feats through online platforms, as we've just seen with our live reporting from The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival."

James, Caroline, Paul and Dom will be at the screening to give the audience a flavour of what it’s like both on cutting edge climbs in front of and behind the camera on an epic climbing trip.

The Climbing Works will be showing an exclusive extract from Odyssey at the interval of the Reel Rock tour screening on Saturday October 7th.

Tickets to the premiere on the 10th November are on sale for £5 (£4

Win an amazing VIP experience with the BMC, See:

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Calling all musicians!

Calling all musicians, we are looking to collaborate!

We are constantly working with music, whether this is in our multi-award winning feature films, or corporate and product videos, and we are looking to work with like minded creative-types.

We are looking for music from across the whole spectrum, from fast paced electronic tunes, through to mellow, acoustic pieces. At the moment we are mainly looking for completed tracks, rather than commissioned and assigned compositions.

So, if you are a musician, or know someone who is, send us a sample of work through to and we'll get back to you.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Caro topping out safely on the 'The Jackals E8' 

End of the trip minus 2 days. If at this point I didn’t pick up the skill, then I must be a desperate case. I had the two best mentors you could think about: Hazel and James.
The easy part was to teach me about to place a nut, a cam. I theorie, it’s fairely easy: you get a hole, a crack, you stuff the cam in , release. Maybe it’s a bit more tricky when you have to insert the nut then turn it.

Placing the cam that just won't stay in, 'The Jackals E8'

That is the easy part, as I said. Except I realized just yesterday, watching Hazel than james on onsights E7 and E8, that you are definitely supposed to wiggle, look, check, until you are sure of your gear, then finalise by a massive tug. Here is my problem: once I placed my gear, I have no real idea of how solid it is, as a result, there is not so much point wiggling, as I won’t know if I am improving the proces or making it worse.

Master trad climber born and bred, Hazel on sighting 'The Cad E6'. Copyright Land and Sky Media

And then comes the real hard part of Trad climbing:being able to say: “this nut is solid at 90%”, or, ‘this nut is solid at 30%”. That’s what James is really trying to teach me at the moment. If you know you can relay on a solid gear, you can climb, run out. If you can’t relay on it, you have to find some other protection before moving up. If you can’t estimate your gear quality, you’re climbing blind, taking a chance with your life. Really very tempting, I have to admit, to just say in you head, “well, it will be alright, this cam in a breaky hole may hold, I should be at least slowed….”. Except no, Hazel and James are no stupid recless dudes, they insist on me not following this easy suicidal track.
Incredible, in fact, this trad attraction! I would have bet everything I would be a scared little mouse, top roping every route, crying one meter above the gear. But no! I find myself having just head pointed a route, with a big runout in the beginning, that I protected with a shitty cam in a loose hole. James onsighted the route after, and made me realize that my supposedly safe start was in fact not that far from a solo! Lesson of the day: do not accept “may hold” as a safety line, treat it like a solo! If you wouldn’t be happy to solo this part, then you shouldn’t be happy to climb with such poor gear. The real danger in Trad, is that it’s really easy to fool yourself, make yourself believe that you’re safe while the real wise trad climber is wise because he knows that he is committing into un-protected sections.
That committing stuff is my problem now. I don’t know where is the limit between being courageous and being an idiot. Watching Hazel and James, I really feel like they do succeed in that very well, having grown as climbers in that trad spirit. The question is, how long will it take me to learn to be a safe and courageous trad climber?

James in his element at Nesscliffe. Copyright Land and Sky Media

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Jackal, E8 - Sequence

Caroline Ciavaldini starting the crux of The Jackal, E8.

Making the first moves of the crux

Getting used to placing protection.

A second 'on the wall angle'. Getting pumped and worrying about the placements.

Reaching the ledge, and a huge sigh of relief.

Happy during an interview on the top.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Odyssey Round Up - Day 5

Two days in Northumberland allowed us to visit three northern crags and tick off some quality sandstone lines of varying grades. Bowden Doors, Back Bowden and Great Wanney gave some good climbing and filming opportunities. Caroline is getting more and more confident placing gear, though her technical climbing ability means she can power through the hardest sequences without much fear of falling. Seeing Caro climb ‘The Tube’ at Back Bowden while being given gear placement lessons from the ground was entertaining for all. James, Hansjorg and Hazel were all going for it and showing how bold and fearless they can be with a handful of E6 and E7 on sights on marginal gear. 

So on Monday we landed in North Wales and the camp was re-established above Llanberis. We were greeted with dramatic views of the valley and a beautiful sunset on the first night. However, excitement was somewhat dampened by the weather as the showers rolled in the following day. A team set off to Gogarth on Tuesday to get rigged for an afternoon climbing on the sea cliffs. As is often the case the weather looked brighter on the coast than in the valley and we were blessed with a brilliant on sight ascent of ‘The Cad’ on North Stack Wall by Hazel.

On our second day in Wales we set out early with one target - Strawberries. James was feeling strong and ready for an on sight ascent, Caro and Hazel were keen for a flash attempt and Hansjorg was beyond psyched! He sat quietly behind a rock, out of sight while everyone else got on route. Like so many who have tried James powered through the hard bottom sequence, getting within five metres of the top out before taking a massive lob that took him right back down to the belay. James got back on route and topped out second go. Caro and Hazel fought till the very end showing amazing stamina but not quite making the top out. Hansjorg abbed in to the belay and set off as we set our cameras rolling and crossed our fingers. With amazing style and some calm, controlled climbing he read the route perfectly and topped out wooping and hollering all the way.

Today we hauled huge bags into Vivian, excited about getting to the slate. We got some good filming done on some classic routes, but the clouds were hovering and the climbers were getting to grips with the strange frictionless rock. We have a few little objectives in North Wales tomorrow morning but the rain may be coming, so we are thinking of heading south. Whilst waiting for an interview with Hansjorg Matt Pycroft took some time to work his new Vivian boulder problem. Footage below.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

'Odyssey' A Climbing Road Movie

And so its time for me to take my place on the Hot Aches blog, and reveal this summer’s major film project. We have been quietly planning this for months and keeping it all under out hats! Like Adrian Samarra, who by now is hanging out on a glacier in Alaska, I am very pleased to be guest directing a climbing film for Hot Aches Productions, to be ready for this seasons film festivals.

So, a little about me……

My name is Dom Bush and I am a documentary filmmaker working primarily within the climbing and adventure industries. I have been lucky enough to work alongside Hot Aches on a number of occasions, as well as working freelance under the banner of Land and Sky Media. Recent work includes a 36minute climbing feature, ‘Islands, traditional Tales of Lakeland Climbing’, (watch here) and an award winning short film ‘My Own Hands’ (watch here). With their unrivaled experience in the climbing film industry, I very much look forward to working alongside the Hot Aches team to create this film, not to mention the four talented North Face athletes.

So enough about me, what’s the film?

‘Odyssey’ is a road movie that celebrates the best of British trad climbing, from the clean steep Basalt of Dumbarton Rock to the raging sea cliffs of Gogarth, four world renowned climbers take an exclusive tour round the UK to tick off some of our most fierce and inspiring routes. Cinematic filmmaking, cutting edge traditional climbing and a 7.5 ton converted truck - the Odyssey begins!

                                                                       James Pearson

James needs little introduction. He has been at the cutting edge from a young age and since leaving our fair shores has punched through the 9a sport barrier, whilst returning home frequently to pick off new lines and hard repeats in Pembroke and further afield.
                                                                 Caroline Ciavaldini

Caroline, a world cup competition climber has topped 8c+ and flashed E8. Fresh back from a host of trips abroad and looking to get to grips with British Trad, Caroline looks set for some strong climbing on the ‘Odyssey’ tour.

                                                                     Hansjorg Auer

Hansjorg has a hugely impressive climbing CV, which spans hard bouldering, sport climbing up to 8c+ and solo ascents of long alpine routes, most notably ‘The Fish’ on the south face of the Marmolada, certainly one of the most audacious free solos of all time. With little experience of British trad climbing but a bold and confident approach, Hansjorg should be well prepared to tackle some of the UK’s hardest routes.
                                                                      Hazel Findlay

In 2011 Hazel became the first woman to climb E9 with her repeat of Dave Birkett’s ‘Once Upon a Time in the South West’. Like many talented UK climbers, Hazel excelled in competition and was British Junior Champion 6 times. Recently Hazel has set her sights on big walls across the globe making (amongst other things) the first female ascent of Golden Gate in Yosemite.  

So we leave on May 12th with a 10 man team and we are keen to have your input. Where would you recommend we visit? Got an idea for a little known gem or a gruelling super-route? We want to hear from you. Get in touch through the Hot Aches blog or post on the Hot Aches Facebook, and spread the word!

We will be posting updates, photos and behind the scenes action on the Hot Aches Facebook, so keep your eyes peeled for progress! See you on the other side!

Here's a video of the last time Hot Aches filmed Hazel: -

Landed on the Ruth Glacier.

Hello, Adrian here.

I am writing you this blog from my tent on the Ruth glacier, Alaska!! How surreal.. We have a sat-phone hooked up to the MacBook and 3 solar panels soaking up the strong afternoon sun.

This morning we were enjoyed coffee and a full American sized breakfast at the Roadhouse cafe. Talkeetna, the last taste of civilisation for a while, before boarding the tiny Beaver ski plane that flew us on. Paul, the owner of Talkeetna Air Taxi, is a very skilled pilot and because the weather wasnÕt looking great this morning, he was called in especially to fly us on.

The flight in was something else! During the 40min flight we crossed the Alaskan tundra and over the foothills of the Greater Ranges. Paul took us on a route that included some very close fly-bys of some of the mountains out here, so the guys could get a better look at the conditions on some of the routes.

No fixed objectives yet, Matt and Jon are very laid back about what they hope to do, and only now, as we have established camp on the glacier can the scouting missions begin!

We're camped about 800m from the base of Mount Dickey, with many other faces a short ski journey away.

Matt has just melted some snow for tea so I'm off!

Tomorrow, the fun begins..


The Alaskan Gorge film is supported by Patagonia and Osprey Packs.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sat Phone Test!

This message is being sent via the satphone and is how we'll be updating from basecamp.

Adrian and Matt sorting out the Satphone with Greg from Anchorage Satellite Phones.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Filming in Alaska for Hot Aches latest climbing film

Hi there,

My name is Adrian Samarra, this is my first post on the Hot Aches blog so I should probably explain who I am. To see some of my past work, feel free to check out my site:

I am an up and coming adventure filmmaker and only finished uni last Friday! I have been studying Media Production at the University of Lincoln for 3 years and a few weeks ago I received a very interesting phone call from Hot Aches. Having worked with them on and off for a few years now, cutting my teeth on some of the more local projects, I was naturally very happy when they called with an interesting proposition…

Adrian filming in Arctic Greenland, January 2012

Hot Aches are making a film this year in association with Patagonia and supported by Osprey Packs. We are going to be following the climbing adventures of Matt Helliker and Jon Bracey, two of Britain’s top alpinists, on their adventures in the Ruth Gorge, Alaska.

Matt and Jon. Taken from their website:

With many other projects in the pipeline already this year, Hot Aches decided to send me out with the guys to capture their efforts and hopefully bring back some exciting footage. I’ll be spending about 3 weeks out there, most of the time, in a tent on the glacier. For that alone, no end of equipment is needed, including solar charging units, multiple hard drives and enough batteries to sink a ship! Look out for a kit testing video in a few days, where I’ll let you know what I’m taking.

To keep me safe on the glacier and help me move around the gorge, John Baker (mountain guide) is also coming on the trip. This is really helpful as it means I'll be able to get more out of the trip by getting better angles.

After the trip, I’ll be editing the film and hopefully have it ready for festivals in the autumn.

As much as possible, there will be updates on the trip via the Hot Aches Twitter, so if you’re in to that, we’ll be using the hashtag #AKgorge

I am really looking forward to this trip and cannot wait to get out there. I must say, I feel very lucky to have this opportunity and for it to be my first project a week after finishing uni!