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 http://thegreatgorge.blogspot.com from basecamp.

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