Thursday 14 June 2012

Review: Vertical Sailing & Welcome to the Hood

We’ve just added three new products in the shop. Vertical Sailing and Welcome to the Hood DVDs, two of my favourite climbing films from the last few months. We also just added the much awaited new edition of John Sherman’s uber book on techniques, tactics and training for bouldering; “Better Bouldering”. I’m definitely bias in being excited to see it since I’m a co-author! I wrote the chapter on training, with some perspectives on gaining strength without turning into the ubiquitous steely youth you see in every bouldering wall who never seems to actually get V-Hard problems done on the real rock. I’ll do a full review shortly but for now let’s just say it’s a five star book and the best dedicated boulderers handbook out there. [Update, oops it was super popular and we sold out of our initial stock of Better Bouldering in a few hours! We'll get some more in shortly and let you know when it's in).
Made by the best adventure big walling partnership on the planet right now’ Nico Favresse, Olivier Favresse, Sean Villaneuva & Ben Ditto, this DVD is the most entertaining climbing movie I’ve seen in a good few years. I’ve watched it several times, and in between laughing out loud at the hilarious situations they end up in, I’m awed, inspired and highly jealous of the adventure they take us on.
The film starts of in fine style with hilarious team vomiting as Captain Bob Shepton’s tiny yacht sails them through rough waters up the Greenland coast. Over the course of several films, the team have perfected expedition filming like noone else I’ve seen. From the footage you would really think they had a film crew with them. But it’s just that they have it so dialled. Some footage of stunning granite fjords and onsight new routing of 400m E6 6bs follow. But that’s just the warm up for the impossible wall. 1000 metres, great granite, but this isn’t Yosemite. There are grassy cracks that look desperate, fulmars, loose rock days waiting out storms and a ridiculous wet chimney. You would think that footage of a wet greasy overhanging chimney pitch pouring with water would make for a laughable short clip but would be a lot more ‘entertaining’ to climb than to watch. But for me this is probably the highlight of the film. 
It absolutely captures why we climb routes like this instead of just going on chalked up sport routes all the time. It looks frightening, totally out there, dangerous and apart from all that, unclimbable. So watching Villanueva thrutching his way up it Gore-Texed to the hilt with water everywhere is excellent. Not many films could shoot this sort of terrain and make you wish you were there. There is the usual portaledge partying which the Belgian team have made their trademark. By the end you are left with a feeling that you could go to the most ridiculous corner of the vertical world, climb the most desperate and committing thing you can find and just have nothing but laughs all the way. Most uplifting. And your non-climbing friends could watch and be just as entertained and impressed. It’s in the shop here.
Fortunately, since bouldering is convenient to film and good cameras like the 5D are so well suited to this sort of filming, we get to see a lot of the worlds best ascents, well filmed often by the climbers themselves. And so it is with this movie of 4 of the strongest in the world just now; Daniel Woods, Paul Robinson, Guntram Joerg and Andy Gullsten. We get to see 8b+s in Font and then over to several Swiss venues. I was particuarly keen to see more from the lesser known venues of Murgtal and Silvretta. I was in Murgtal myself for a session in April and thought it was a lovely place with it’s bouldering potential being rapidly developed right now. The section in Chironico was a great highlight. Interesting as always to watch and learn from the contrast of movement style and strengths of the different guys.   Even at their level their styles are quite different. The finale of Woods’ flash of Entlinge 8B+/8C (the hardest bouldering flash in the world to date) is jaw dropping. What a machine. Essential dose of viewing for boulderers. It’s in the shop here.
If you didn’t catch my blog post last night we also have just put a good sale on with about half our products discounted by 25-50% for a month. It’s been super popular today and a few things are selling out or getting close to it. So do have a look.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous14 June, 2012

    I loved vertical sailing, think I quite fancy the DVD! How long till Christmas?