Tuesday 21 November 2006

Inverness lecture and E11 screening, Sunday 3rd December

I've just confirmed a booking for a lecture from Dave, followed by a screening of E11 at Eden Court cinema in Inverness on Sunday 3rd December at 7pm. See http://www.eden-court.co.uk for booking info and directions.

Dave will be talking about his preparation for Rhapsody and the level of commitment that it required on a personal and professional level.

Tickets £7.


Monday 20 November 2006

Upcoming lecture & E11 screening - Glasgow 8th December

Dave is clipping bolts in sunny Spain right now, so it's Claire here, trying to figure out how to blog!

Tickets are now on sale for a lecture by Dave followed by a screening of E11. It's on Friday 8th December at 7pm at Gilmorehill G12, University Avenue (at the junction with Kelvin Way). Tickets are £7 and you can get them from boxoffice@gilmorehillg12.co.uk 0141 330 5522.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

Friday 17 November 2006

More winter lectures coming up

I just updated my lectures page with details of two more events:

Dundee Dec 11th: Dundee University. "The Hurting" I'll be talking about Scottish winter climbing - My experiences with struggling to get to Grade V, getting an eye for new routes, exploring possibilites for applying my rock climbing ability and finally taking things to my limit with onsights of IX and the first ascent of The Hurting XI,11.

London Dec 13th: Lecture and screening of E11. I'll be talking about my preparation for Rhapsody, what it took for me to do it on a personal level and possibilities to progress beyond it. Then I'll be presenting the E11 film. Full details on my lectures page and online tickets from the events website here.

In the meantime I'm going to go climbing outside for the first time in a month! yipee!

Set in Stone now available from davemacleod.com!

Hi Folks, I liked the Set in Stone film about Dave Birkett so much I decided to sell it from my webshop! The standard of climbing films seems to have taken a major jump in the past couple of years and this one is right up there, matching hit after hit of hardcore climbing action with beautiful shooting that inspires anyone to go climbing, even if they find walking under an E9 scary enough. I'm well happy for Dave that this film gives everyone out there a window on the things he's done in the Lake district. Anyway, you can see more about whats in the film and get hold of a copy from me here. I reckon a reasonable proportion of climbers who would never have considered doing trad climbing or even venturing into the mountains will be out there doing it after watching this film. What more can you hope to acheive?

Also new in the webshop are 'E11' posters with the image by Steven Gordon that features on the film front cover. A3 sized and £2.50 plus postage.

Monday 13 November 2006

Upcoming coaching & E11 screening - Dundee Dec 9th

Weve had a lot of people asking about running more screenings of E11 so weve organised one at Avertical World, Dundee, Saturday December 9th. During the day I'll be running some climbing technique coaching clinics with Niall McNair for both entry level and advanced climbers and then introduing E11 at 7.15pm. Full details of the E11 screening are on my lectures page and full details of the coaching clinics are here. Spaces on the E11 screening are limited to 100 so it might be a plan to get a ticket in advance seeing as the Sheffield screening last week sold out 500 tickets in advance!

To book for coaching or E11 call Avertical World on 01382 201901.

I've also got a lecture and and screening of E11 lined up in London on December 13th - more details of this mon my lectures page in a day or two.

In the meantime maybe I'll see some of you at the Aberdeen lecture tomorrow night...

Sunday 12 November 2006

Banff Mountain Film Festival

Diff delivering a persuasive argument about something or other during the wee small hours (all photos Hot Aches images)

So… We took E11 to the Canadians to see what they thought. The Banff festival is a hard one to get your head round, coming from Scotland with not so many climbers. Its... like... a proper event. With 900 seater cinemas sold out day after day. It’s hard to get an impression of the size of the sport of climbing, but going there you realise there are a fair few of us out there. So it was a little intimidating pulling onto Banff on the Greyhound bus from Vancouver and wondering how things would go. The Banff centre has a fairly sizeable team of full time staff working on the festival – and does it show! I’d recommend anyone go out there next year. There’s just so much going on. I listened with great respect to Simone Moro’s moving description of life and death in the Himalayan winter. I almost got psyched myself for a bit of ledge shuffling, but the video of the weather at base camp was enough to make anyone think better of it. Simone became an honorary Pole by climbing an 8000er in winter, the first non Polish to manage this feat of extreme cold and pain endurance. Grim.

The lunchtime panel discussions were probably the highlight of the talking events for me. Especially as Sundays discussion was about couples doing adventurous things together. Wisdom to manage this type of relationship is worth its weight in gold and plenty of it was shared. Will Gadd was there with Kim and both providing those dead pan but delightfully simple expressions that Canadians seem to have a talent for. “Real life is f**king annoying” said Will. He’s a hard man to disagree with. I found myself thinking “why can’t we have this sort of event in the UK?” On Saturdays discussion I was really struck by the power of Nando Parrado’s thoughts on religion and survival from his experiences. He talked about following a god that allows you to doubt. It really reminded me of the corrupting influence of any large institutions.

Emily Long of the Telluride festival administering the power, so I had to get the next round in

I didn’t see too many films as I studiously sneaked off to the climbing wall to rescue some fitness from the routine of non-stop partying by night. By the weekend I was having to train until 10pm to get a delayed drinking start. That way I could just about keep up the pace with folk until the quite awesomely late closing times. The Sunday night dancing to a local rock band would have been quite a sight to anyone not thoroughly intoxicated. I decided a whisky was a good strategy to enter the zone. Quite a few dancefloor wipeouts were witnessed but thankfully not by Pete Mortimer who chose the top of the band’s amp stack for his bopping spot. It gave him more room to swing his T-shirt in the air.

Some amateurs in the bar...
The festival audience seemed to be psyched by E11, although they had some trouble translating the Glaswegian, and understanding what E11 means. “E11 7a, that means he had 7 attempts I think? Either that or it’s 5.11”

Favourite films from Banff
Ride of the Mergansers

Cobra Crack

Tuesday 7 November 2006

Squamish days with my bro

Getting to grips with granite at the bouldering heaven of Squamish. Photo: Craig McCallum

I finally got the chance to get my ass over to north America for the first time ever last week. The opportunity came up because of the Banff mountain film festival - I went out to meet the Hot Aches guys and present E11. But the other opportunity was to visit my older brother who has lived in Vancouver for a decade and a half, but I've never had the chance to visit. It's kind of cool that Al's wife's dad lives very near Squamish. So I could also have a very brief encounter with the awesome Squamish boulders.

I found it pretty hard to be in a heaven like the Squamish forest for only two days. despite determined pleas with myself not to, I descended into headless chicken mode within seconds of spotting the first lump of granite and ran around with heart pounding more or less until it was time to go. I was just starting to make some headway on things but the onward itinerary demanded we leave. I did manage a nice V10 called Zero Zero. I think its in the Rampage film?? Its a crimpy problem and I found it pretty easy, but the slopers felt just impossible for me to deal with. I need to spend more time on Granite. Of course I left with much inspiration, unfinished business and resolve to return asap.

Alan MacLeod taking his first climbing steps on Squamish Days (V0)

Of course Al was pretty keen to try rock climbing for the first time. It was cool to see someone I knew experience moving on rock for the very firt time. In some ways it reminded me how amazingly far we can progress with the activity - it's a hard thing to do! The skills we teach ourselves are so specific. With a set of bagpipes in his hands Alan moves his fingers with the same mastery as Marc le Menestrel does on rock.

Climbing is a small world as ever and the first climber I ran into on the American continent was Craig MacCallum from Glasgow. Craig is unlike many Scots in that he simply can't be arsed with bad climbing - life is too short. So he sold his flat and moved to Squamish. Sorted!

Al's first time tied into a rope, on the Smoke Bluffs, Squamish

All too soon it was time to hop on the Calgary greyhound bus and set sail for Banff. It's a long journey to sit and ponder ways and means of returning to Squamish.

Claire in deep water solo action

Claire MacLeod DWS in Bermuda, Photo: Grant Farqhuar

Check out this pic of Claire fully kitted out in snorkel kit DWS in Bermuda! (it’s not somewhere we holiday regularly even though you’d be forgiven for thinking so – Claire’s brother Simon lives there). It was Claire’s first DWS and yes she was gripped and yes she fell in. Watch those Man O War Claire!