Sunday 8 August 2010

Crackoholic & Core DVD review

Thanks to this DVD, I will soon be going to Sweden to climb granite. Wow! I live in a place surrounded by brilliant climbing, so although I love seeing film of new climbing venues, it has to really stand out these days to make me sit up and say “I HAVE to go there!”. Crackoholic sold me instantly on it’s stunning looking granite crags, idyllic setting and even more idyllic climbing scene. A lot of climbing DVD’s tend to focus on the single-minded determination of one climber on their project, or the American style bouldering with Hip Hop and very loud spotters. Great, but there is obviously more to climbing than just this. I don’t like much Hip Hop, or very loud spotters (spotters at the places I boulder generally only say ‘baaaa’ once in a while’). So it was great to see a climbing film that drew us back to all the other great things about climbing - mental control, relationships and inspirations flowing between climbers. And somewhere different!
Not limestone, not bolts. A great film about trad climbing. Everything about Crackoholic just made me want to be out cragging. Perhaps it’s something I’ve missed because I’ve spent the last three years dragging myself to remote mountain crags with arduous logistics for long and lonely adventures. This film brought back to me the sheer joy of just going cragging. Stepping out of the car and straight onto the rocks. Maybe it was the idyllic setting, the entertaining characters in the film (the locals of Bohuslan in Sweden, together with footage of Leo Holding on Savage Horse E9 6c, Neil Gresham and other visitors).
Every shot seems to be in a golden sunset with crisp orange granite. Are there really so many sunsets like that? No wonder the climbers in the film look so happy! The tour of the area’s best trad routes and history was surprisingly interesting for a non-local and certainly would show off the routes to climbers not going there for the hardest climbs. Not to mention the cottages right under the cliffs, the barbeques between redpoints, and did I mention the sunsets? 
But I was obviously really interested to see the hard routes. For a start the DVD is a bit of a misnomer, there seems to be more bold face cliimbing and skyhooks in evidence than taped up hands and big cams. Minaret E8 6c looks like one of the finest grit-style aretes anywhere. And the footage of the falls and successes of the two young guys that do it was interesting and dramatic. The ‘main man’ Stefan Wulf looks like he is enjoying Savage Horse E9 for vary different reasons to Leo, who looks in his element of his trademark ‘skin of the teeth’ style, missing edges, falling backwards but staying on. This and various other E8s are all superb stuff and duly noted in my list of ‘must climb that someday soon’.
Need I say more - If you are a trad climber and you didn’t enjoy watching Crackholic, I’d be stumped as to why not. Copies are in the shop here.
Like ‘Progression’ but with more edge. In recent years when it comes to bouldering/sport climbing movies coming out of America (but showcasing the finest destinations for climbing on the globe), there has been ‘Big Up’, and everything else. Big Up do the most famous climbers, the very hardest routes (even if they are still projects) and whatever creates the strongest desire to get out there and ‘send’ in the viewer. In the ‘everything else category, there is great variability. There are have been some awful bouldering films. And I get the feeling folk will be wary of them and stick to ‘Big Up’ or more recently the Sender Films because they have well earned reputation in this genre.
If you like this type of film, but you are one of the ones who might be wary, you would be missing out in not seeing Core. Chuck Fryberger has produced a film with just as high quality shooting, with an edge that Big Up might be getting too ‘mass’ to pull off now. It’s clearly not such a big production as something like Progression and centres around a handful of destinations. But almost all are good. The ‘edge’ goes a bit far for me at times, and it takes a good few minutes into the film to get amongst the action. But the rest of the film was fairly well packed with great climbing.
The stars are mostly world class and certainly look it on the rock as well as being interesting characters. The section with Nalle Hukkataival is fun and impressive to watch his display of ‘next generation’ power. He also has a fine ‘elbows out’ moment of pumping, scared and desperately slapping before lobbing off from 8 metres up. Illuminating. But he had just climbed 8 metres of Font 8c to get there! There are several other well known climbers who it was nice to finally see some footage of. Kilian Fischuber looked every inch the great athlete he is and Michele Caminati was a pleasure to watch of the rock. Born to climb is the word. Fred Nicole was the highlight for me - I’d love to see more of his climbing on film, not to mention the man himself. He always seems to draw the sport of climbing back to its simple, pure and satisfying form. A great person to be able to feel you can relate to if you live ‘off the beaten track’ of the climbing scene.
The contrasts between the simple movement of Fred’s ungraded but obvious nails roof, and the style of the rest of the film with shades, Ferrari’s, foot off dynos and nice beats could have been plain weird. But it works! Definitely on the pile of rest day DVDs for the next sport climbing trip…
Still got some copies left in the shop here.


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  2. We are glad you like Sweden, welcome! :)