Monday 30 August 2010

The Great Climb success

We pulled off The Great Climb.
All 55 of us were just a little ecstatic last night and we partied in Glen Scaladale until we dropped. Every one of the usual suspects on the team of producers, outside broadcast production team, climbers, riggers, runners, presenters, medics, environmental consultants and many more were chosen for this project because they absolutely were THE person to rely on to come up with the goods when everything had to happen.
If you watched the program, you saw some of the problems we dealt with as climbers to get to the top - a painful ankle and wet rock. But you won’t have seen all the equally hard work, good judgement calls and quick thinking that made it all happen behind the camera. I’ve got to admit I felt a bit emotional when we got to the top. It was just so great that everyones hard graft, gambles and input paid off in style.

We’re over the moon that so many of you on here, Twitter (#thegreatclimb) and my Facebook said you enjoyed it. First up, some questions answered:
I think there was a blip for a while, but it’s available for download on iplayer until Sept 4th, right here. It’ll also be on DVD fairly shortly. And when it does, you’ll find it on my shop as soon as it’s out. The triple 5 trip (myself and Tim, 5 new routes, 5 islands, in 5 days) which would would have seen in case of disaster on the live day, will be coming to the BBC TV screens shortly and also DVD. I’ll keep you posted on this.
Tim climbed amazingly yesterday. He’s an amazing athlete in every way. Not only did he cruise pitch 1 and kept it together when things got ‘a bit spicy’ on pitch 3, but his lead of the soaking wet, slimy overhanging wall at the end was an exemplary display of climbing skill and mental composure.
For me it was a tough day. By the sounds of it, it showed on camera too. I took as much analgesic as I could, but my right foot hurt on nearly every move. Adrenaline provided 100% pain relief that lasted through the crucial pitch 2. But after that I was using most or all of my ‘reserve’ to get me through it. It seemed pretty unlikely we’d get to the top without falling off, succumbing to ankle pain, swearing on live TV or generally failing for some other reason. But with 30 seconds to go after 5.5 hours live, I finished seconding the final pitch and the whoops rang back and forth across Glen Uladail.
Getting the chance to be involved in a production like this, no matter what role you play in it, is an unmissable experience. You learn so much, from so many different people about how to up your game. So when it comes around to doing your own bit, you somehow magically end up making a 110% effort yourself. 


  1. What a blast it was to watch. So chuffed to see some climbing onto and for it to be so good!

    Can't wait to seeyour 5days project too.

    Well done to everyone involved.

  2. Loved it! Was trying to write up a dissertation, but the show thoroughly spoiled that. Fantastic effort and well done!

  3. What an achievment well done everyone. thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.

  4. I'm not even a climber but watched the whole thing start to end, I was on the edge of my seat and felt as though I'd done the climb with you guys. I'm amazed that Dave did this with his injury, and watching the crux of pitch 2 was breathtaking. Tim's enthusiasm and sense of humour helped take some of the tension out of the climb (at least for me as an armchair climber!!), and it was such a huge sense of achievement as Dave appeared over the slimy rock at the top of the climb! We visited Sron Ulladale when we were on holiday in May and have seen the scale of the rock - amazing achievement guys, I'm in awe!! Heather Shand, Inverurie

  5. Incredible, really incredible, the last pitch was like watching the Jaws movie for the first time.

    hats off to you both and all of you.

  6. Truly amazing to watch- needed a chalk bag in my living room to keep my hands dry.

    Awesome achievement and some great TV.!

  7. Really good effort that translated into good television. My non-climbing wife enjoyed it too - the commentary was really good at explaining what was going on without overly sensationalising it.

    Hope you do another!

  8. Being up against the Challenge Cup, the Cricket and the football I had rather expected to flick back and forth trying to catch as much as possible but the action was so engaging that my girlfriend and I found ourselves glued to iplayer for almost the whole thing.

    There's been some comment about the quality of the commentary. I actually thought it was really well done, informative but very seldom patronising.

    Genuinely a superb and audacious piece of television and an equally impressive piece of climbing, hats off to all concerned... Now how on earth are you going to top that?

  9. It's little bit sad that people from abroad couldn't see that program (not even on BBC live stream, it's only available for UK teritory...). Anyway, I guess it was great :). All best!

  10. Top job guys. Well done to all. Even my 2 year old Sandy was inspired to climb the couch, the table, everything in sight! Al

  11. Watched it yesterday on iPlayer, and I have to say, that was the best thing I've seen on TV. Ever. Amazing effort, and truly awesome to watch.

  12. Was absolutely stonking TV - my wife had to cover her eyes for some of the shots - brilliant. Well done to all involved.

  13. Dave, Tim and the whole team, well done, what a fantastic show. This has to be the most enthralling TV the BBC has made and really sets a magnificent standard which as a licence fee payer I am more than happy to pay. I was totally immersed in the adventure and have a huge respect for the technical team that endured some really challenging situations. How you managed to pull it all together so 'seamlessly' is amazing. Those who don't climb may not quite fully get the technical and physical difficulties Dave endured of pitch two, but pitch 3 probably got their imagination running, and Tim's lead of the last pitch had us all falling off our seats with puddle of sweat pouring from my hands....what a viewing experience.

    Mark H

  14. Brilliant. Camaraderie, encouragement and respect shown between team members (climbing and support) fantastic. Heart in my mouth on several occasions and sheer joy when you topped. Well done everyone involved in the production and here’s to many more.

  15. Patrick Roman30 August, 2010

    Well done Dave, to both you and Tim, and all the crew. It was compelling viewing from start to finish. Surely an effort deserving of the raspberry cheesecake?!

  16. Great work Dave!

    Reading all the comments makes me want to watch it even more! I was at home with BBC HD on my telly but sadly all I saw was "Amazon with Bruce Parry"... Sure... Bruce is a nice guy... But he was _not_ on my agenda Saturday...

    It was a huge bummer that it didn't broadcast outside of the UK.

    Hope to see it on some kind of media in the future. Keep us (the rest of the world) posted!


    /David (Sweden)

  17. Dave,
    Amazing work. Whilst massive credit goes to the entire team, I work in TV so I get to see people pulling off this kind of stuff every day. What I *don't* see every day is climbing performances like you and Emmett put in. It was particularly great to see the climb live and unedited. So often climbing films are trying to tell some greater story, but this show was just the climb. I suppose for me it allows me to relate more between what I do in a climbing trip, and what you guys at the top do. There really is no magic or mysticism to great climbing- just years of bloody hard work. Despite reading your posts on here over the last few years, I don't think I ever appreciated that point as much as I do now.
    Thanks again for making this happen - to all the crew.

  18. I was so willing you guys on all the way up. The actual climbing looked amazing too, what a line! Tremendous achievement and brilliant to watch the whole the develop live on TV.

    Couldn't have gone better on the day really, weather aside.

    Like the name!

  19. Absolutely wonderful programme, watched every minute and blown away by your skill and courage.

  20. That's the fastest 5.5hrs I've ever experienced. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. The whole show was well constructed with excellent filler material. Well done to all the team! This is the kind of programme I would gladly pay my licence fee for. I hope the decision makers were watching and get to read all the excellent feedback. I look forward to more of the same.

    Well done all involved!

  21. What an absolute joy to watch. You guys did a fantastic job. Im from Lewis so popped down with a few friends to watch you from the bottom. That was one heck of a rock!! We were all sitting on the edge of our very wet rock all afternoon. Just finished watching the footage on the iplayer which i have to say is some of the best filming ive seen in years. there arent enough words to describe how awesome the whole experience was. I hope your ankle gets back to full strength soon. So when is the next Great Climb?
    thank you all for a great day
    Ruth :-)

  22. What a show! We only managed to grab half an hour on Saturday, but it happened to start as you entered the crux on pitch 2... Finished watching it on the iplayer last night.

    Watching it live was a totally different experience (from the viewer's point of view) from watching a DVD, or even watching it on iplayer later; the edge-of-the-seat, jaw-dropping moments without any known outcome were some of the best TV I've ever seen. Like no other sport on TV - as the commentator pointed out, there's no blood substitutions!

  23. Gibson and Lynne31 August, 2010

    Incredible performances, an absolute joy to watch. Thanks for a great afternoon!

  24. compelling viewing, the brilliance of the whole team shone through. Much praise to BBC Scotland for taking the risk with this kind of project and to you Dave and Tim for the business end. Man what a route too, which seemed to go by only the narrowest of margins like the gearless traverse on pitch 3 and that top pitch, yet offered up so much quality and variety with some cool belay stances. Commentary was very well balanced and the mix of mini-documentary pieces gave superb pace to the the show and a nice context. Looking forward to the Triple 5 and hopefully another Great Climb.

  25. Caught it on iPlayer and what a fantastic show and experience.
    You and Tim were amazing, and everyone else involved did a fantastic job too.
    We need more of this kind of show on TV.

  26. Firstly, WELL DONE! I hope you enjoyed Harris..was really annoying that it was raining just on that day! ha ha. But you got to relax with the sun after surely! It was completely amazing to watch - most watch it all the way through it was so exciting! Well done again to both of you. You guys are amazing!

  27. David Barraclough31 August, 2010

    Thanks for giving me and my 2 kids a great insight into really hard trad routes in an amazing setting. WELL DONE DAVE.

  28. Karen Henderson31 August, 2010

    Wow! The best thing on TV ever! more please!

    Well done to all the team and particularly to Dave & Tim, totally inspired now - I'm off to alien rock!

    hope you enjoyed a few beers after, and the foot is recovering. Looking forward to hearing about the next climb! x

  29. Well done to yourself and Tim. I only just got around to finishing watching it as I had to go out on Saturday night! I was dragged away from the screen kicking and screaming as I hated missing it.

    I was enthralled from the beginning. So impressed by you leading of the crux on the second pitch, I can only dream I climbing half as well as that!

    I've read about the televised climbs by people like Chris Bonington before I was even thought of so feel very privailaged to have had to opportunity to watch it first hand.

    Thank you!

  30. Was great to see two quite different types of elite climber co-crush a multipitch beast! Something I don't feel is known outside of the climbing world is the relationship we build with our climbing partners in those moments of stress and vulnerability. Tim's sunny disposition+ your endurance demonstrate this to a new audience.

    The Usual Suspects was a monster, any chance of some mixed/winter stuff on the box?

    Well done chaps!

  31. Dear Dave,
    You have a wonderful climbing style and great personal motivation. I hope though you could put as much effort into being a good climbing partner as well. If you watch back the footage of yourself belaying Tim on the 2nd pitch, you will see what I mean! In your excitement you let go of the dead rope more than 6 times around 1h 21min in.
    You remain an inspiration for me and I hope you continue to achieve your dreams. For me, being super safe is importaint and I am sure it is for you too.
    Enjoy and be safe.

  32. I took my family to watch the climb in real life so know what sort of day it was, my wee fellow (8 yr old) got cold and wet so we only stayed a few minutes, but saw you get to the second belay.
    Watching it on Iplayer when we got home to Skye was addictive and inspirational (and me a non climber..) well done all of you and if you are ever on Skye call in, plenty crags in the North end here

  33. Absolutely awesome. I'm not a climber, but I read avidly about those that do. Here were two contrasting styles and personalities, but what a double act. Just astonished Dave managed the climb having sustained the injury to his ankle only a few days earlier. I was out walking on the Saturday pm, so only started watching on iPlayer on the Sunday. My jaw dropped at Dave's lead on the second pitch. Had to stop the prog to get my breath back...then continued watching into the early hours. What an immense effort by Tim on the final greasy last few feet. Epic. Well done, guys. Best TV in a long, long time. One hopefully constructive note - I realise the climb was aimed at a non-climbing audience, but I really enjoyed hearing the banter between the two climbers. So more of that and less of the commentators please on the next one! PS - thanks Claire for your prompt posting of the two DVDs. David Steane, Kirkcaldy

  34. Just finished watching on iplayer - so inspiring on every level!
    Well done to all involved; it seemed like it could hardly have gone better despite the tribulations.

  35. great climb Dave, one of the most enjoyable and inspiring things I've watched, good show.