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Rock Climbing Skills: The Basics & Beyond
(Doco) Basic equipment and techniques, hand, foot and body control, etc.
|As the title suggests, ďThe BasicsĒ, covers just that. The film introduces a beginner or would be climber, who likely has never climbed outside before, to a few of the key concepts involved. It touches upon several aspects without getting bogged down in details. On itís own, the movie is perhaps insufficient to convert a newcomer to the sport into a safe top roper. However, as a companion volume to a good beginners book (for example Rock Climbing: Getting Started), the film should provide a very useful visual aid to fundamental points which the viewer may otherwise have only read about.
Above: Dan Osman introduces us to ropes, harnesses and belaying.
An American video, it has been shot on location at Lake Tahoe, Rifle and Yosemite. It features instruction from numerous well known climbers and guides. The main bulk of the film is dedicated to teaching the actual body movements involved in climbing, however it does briefly open with an explanation of some equipment and safety measures. Who was it that said, ďa little knowledge is a dangerous thingĒ? If I have one criticism it would be the brevity with which gear and set ups are discussed.
As an opener the audience is told the difference between bouldering, aid, leading, free soloing and top roping. We are then introduced to Dan Osman (by virtue of one of his jumps), who goes on to explain about climbing ropes, their manufacture and some tips for care and maintenance. The topic of how to set up a top rope follows. The sliding X for equalising two bolts with a sling is shown, but they donít explain what happens should one anchor fail, or suggest tying a knot to prevent extension. Avoiding sharp edges, carabiners and their manufacture, alternate anchors like trees, bollards, cams, nuts, etc. are all very quickly shown, though not long enough to know the full story about such natural gear placements. Iím talking, like maybe 5 seconds on how to place a nut, that kind of thing.
Above: Bird Lew intros slab climbing and laybacks. Tiffany Levine on stretching.
John Hoffman shows us how to rig a cordelette, though unfortunately uses three placements all relying on the same rock feature. Dan then comes back to introduce us to the harness, itís manufacture, tying in with a figure eight, belaying off the hip, ATC or GriGri, and a short discussion of helmets, though nowhere though-out this beginners video do we actually see anyone wearing one! A lot of cool dudes climb hard, and even free solo to inspire us, but none of them don a dome.
Above: Tiffany Levine shows us how to stretch, warm up and bridge.
Climbing signals are mentioned, and the activity of rappelling is introduced. Dan abs off a cliff without doing up the screw gate on his carabiner and we are shown a small childís first rappel, without any form of backup. Indeed backups are not even mentioned. It would have taken only a few seconds to demonstrate the firemanís belay, ah well.
Next up, Francois Legrand walks us through his extensive high performance climbing shoe collection. I guess I fail to see the relevance of this in a beginners video. Shortly thereafter the film launches into the main bulk of the tape, covering in detail the actual hand, foot and body movements involved in climbing. Chimneying, jamming, crimping, slide pulls, underclings, slopers, fingerlocks, cross overs, laybacks, etc. Bird Lew gives us an example of trusting our feet while slab climbing, and offers a few Zen like statements. Tiffany Levine takes us through her favourite stretches, and warm ups. Robyn Erbesfield shows us how to tag distant holds on a gym roof, and Francois Legrand comes back to do some powerful sport leads, breathlessly talking us through each move while he smoothly clips and goes.
Above: Robyn Erbesfield on roof climbing, and Fancois Legrand pumping out some steep sport leads.
All up what the film offers is an interesting, entertaining, educational and inspirational introduction to the basic concepts of climbing. It's well filmed, certainly coming across as a professional production. I canít say fairer than that. It does, however, seem to gloss over some of the equipment and safety issues involved in areas that it appears to cover, such as top roping and rappelling. Itís just my opinion, but I think the movie would be best viewed in combination with reading a good beginners book, and getting first hand instruction from an experienced climber.
|Excellent. Everything Eric Perlman does is glee perfect, precise, clear and features world's best climbers.
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