14 July 2013

Bloody 'e11'!

Otley Mini Mountain Festival is ongoing as we speak, full of doubtless excellent activities to exercise and challenge. For Bryn, Cosmo and myself, we chose to take part in an activity that involved sitting still for around two hours.

However, the viewing of climbing documentary films is quite an experience in itself. I'm a great believer in the power of the motion picture to give us a window on another world, and at Otley Courthouse this evening we found ourselves right there with the climbers on the screen, vicariously getting a feel for rocks that were otherwise hundreds or thousands of miles away.

First up was 'e11', the story of Dave MacLeod's mission to turn a Requiem into a Rhapsody. A study in dedication, the strongest moments we shared with Dave were some of his falls. Although I am focused on bouldering, I couldn't help but be swept away when Dave somehow - because he seemed to be pretty darn good at it otherwise - failed to hold on, dropped and swung away, and got tangled on his line, pummelled on the rock face, or tested gear beyond its limits. That he carried on, and carried on, through adversity - injuries - after adversity - bad weather - is inspiration to us all to do the same, be it on a route, on a problem, or in life generally.

Available from Hot Aches.

Next, after some refreshment on this exceedingly hot and sticky night, 'Wide Boyz', the wide referring to offwidth climbing, climbing of cracks typically larger than your average jam, and boyz being for Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, two Brits who took on the best offwidth that America had to offer. Largely with stunning success - having partaken in a devastating training routine in a custom-for-offwidth adapted cellar - but not without controversy or challenge. Again, we were right there with them, as their training and attempts at legendary routes tensely engaged our senses of awe and intensity to the fullest (well, the fullest possible from just sitting there).

Available from Hot Aches.

Both stunning pieces of viewing, highly recommended for climbers, or for students of the human condition. And while I felt small as a climber besides these titans (the ones in the films, not Cosmo and Bryn), I mainly felt inspired. Inspired to at least start chipping away at the possibility of improving my strength, my technique, my health, my outlook. Sure, I can't see myself training to these levels, but we're all people at the end of it, and we can all push ourselves to set targets beyond our current levels...

...even if I have typically been pretty philosophical about ticks.
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