Friday 19 October 2007

To Hell and Back programme – next week!

Stripping the gear from To Hell and Back E10 after climbing it

Back in August, a massive team of climbers and production staff including myself gathered on Cairngorm to try and make what would have been an amazing live program of new routing on the cliffs surrounding Loch Avon. But the huge effort did not pay off because of the deeply frustrating (at times) Scottish weather. It chucked it down all weekend long on the broadcast days.

I was all set to attempt something that really scared me silly – a new E10 rock climb with very little protection, live on telly! In retrospect I’m quite exceptionally glad I didn’t have to climb it live, but I still wanted to climb it very much , and wanted something good to come of all the effort that went into The Great Climb programme. So I went back the following week and did the route, with the crew filming. My route, To Hell and Back, E10, was the scariest lead I’ve done in my climbing life and a pretty full on experience for both myself, Claire who was belaying and everyone else who was there, it seemed.

We all wondered when the footage would finally be shown on TV. Well, it’s going to be on BBC2 Scotland, next Wednesday (Oct 24th) at 8pm – 9pm. I understand that if you can’t get BBC2 Scotland, you can watch it via sky (if anyone can confirm this or knows of other ways to view BBC2 Scotland around the UK and the world – please comment on this post!).

Loch Avon from the top of To Hell and Back; The Cairngorms are a cool place.

I haven’t yet seen the film myself, but I imagine it could be a bit full on?

My post about leading the route is here and the producer’s view of the experience is here.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. i dont know for sure, but i wonder if it'll be available via the BBC's iPlayer?

  3. I posted a comment on requesting that they broadcast Dave's ascent online.

    Anyone have any idea if there's a better place to ask for the programme to be broadcast on the web (or UK TV)?

  4. I was going to suggest the iPlayer too.
    BBC scotland do have some stuff online:
    Maybe it will be published there.

  5. Apparently it's channel 990 on sky.

  6. Full on man! My 10 yr old just sat in awe.

  7. So did I......

  8. Dave,

    I've just watched the programme on BBC2 Scotland. What an awesome climb!

    I was glued to the screen and my hands were sweating, especially when I saw you make that crux move.

    Superb. :-)


  9. Pure insane magic!

  10. Fantastic show - credits to you, your belayer!!! and all who took part. At over 16st I'll never hang from my fingers, but when I can watch this it's just awesome.... Thanks V much.

  11. hay
    Just after watching to hell and back. God that was skarie, it was like watching some kind of horrier flim. Unfortunetly I had recorded it and the tape ran out, missing the 2nd pitch.
    Well done to you and Clair the awsome bellay buddy : )

    Karen, GCC

  12. Following on from the suggestions above, people like me who live outside the BBC Scotland area, you can download it from BBC iplayer, though only for the next 6 days.

  13. That was just flippin' awsome, Dave! :)

    Plan on heading up that way soon to have a look at the route you took. No' that I'll be climbing it, like :)

    Great Stuff!!!!


    I'll be watching it tonight :)

  15. Amazing film - very intense. Cool.

  16. Film was nae bad but not a patch on committed, which i think is a supurb peice of film, even better than E11! Like the BBC kind of style was pretty awsome. Cheers Angus (Aberdeen)

  17. I saw the TV programme and thought it was great, you're easily the best at what you do. I go to the XScape in Glasgow and thought I was quite good, until I saw this...

  18. Very good of Angus to leave such a reassuring comment Dave!!!

    Thought it was great!


  19. Jeez Dave, just watched the prog and TBH the biggest impact for me was the effect it had on everyone around you .. they all seemed pretty, bloody devastated.

    Your previous blog entries now make a whole lot more sense regarding the emotional fallout that this climb created .. and the Hot Aches blog on this climb hinted at what was to come within the film.

    Points like this in life are, I suppose, key events .. they mark the passage of time and are inevitabily part and parcel with the whole aging process .. you live through these kind of events (hopefully) but surely your changed by them. Your understanding of your own mortality and reality can not help but be altered by a route like this .. you weigh up the pros and cons of continuing down this path and then attempt to balance the dynamics of your life with the results. Life has always been like this .. if it's lived at all.

    After something like this it's only natural to ponder and if you ever wonder whether you should lift your foot off the accelator then that is the time to call it a day .. and time to change down a gear and enjoy the ride a bit more.

    I'm guessing that time has not yet come for you?

    Going back to the climb itself .. well done for actually climbing what was an excellent first pitch.

    Mind you, not that I talk from any kind of experience, but that skyhook pro on the crux looked like a total piece of cr*p .. did you really think it would have been of any help?

    I'm not so sure about the second pitch .. you didn't seem to over awed by it. Was the rock really that suspect?

    Anyway .. enough of my ramblings.

    I don't know whether to say well done .. or mad b*stard. Either way it was a landmark route.

  20. Hey,

    I'm outside UK and apparently not able to dowbload anything from BBC iPlayer. Any ideas on how to get this video somewhere else?

    By the way, congrats on E11!! Amazing movie!!

  21. We actually live in Norfolk but saw a trailer for the programme while on a walking holiday in the North West Highlands and thought we must catch this when back home. Fortunately we have Sky plus so were able to watch it - and are still in awe.

    It's a scandal that such an achievement is not more widely recognised in the sporting world.

    We have never climbed and find it hard to even begin to get our heads around what Dave has achieved - inspiring even if it was nerve jangling just to watch.

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