Saturday, 7 January 2012

Monkey See Monkey Do DVD Review

"If you're not belaying, You're just climbing!"
Cory Richards
Photo: Matt Segal Blog

This isn't a new DVD, realised in 2009 by Hot Aches, it has won a string of awards, and having very kindly been bought it for Christmas, here's my thoughts...

The dvd is divided into four short films.

First up we have Johnny Dawes, Hazel Findlay and Matt Segal taking on the smooth slate of Gin Palace (F7c), in North Wales. This is worth watching for Dawes' hairstyle alone but the hard as nails climbing is obviously a big draw too. My hands got sweaty watching them squirm and wriggle, hand and finger jam their way up this unique, and to be honest, massively uncomfortable looking route.

Kevin Shields 'Single Handed' follows with some emotively shot footage of his E6 solo and M10+ dry-tooling (with a very awesome prosthetic ice axe). While he may be missing most of his left hand, wow has this dude got some balls. Despite his hand disability, suffering with epilepsy (a condition close to my heart) and depression, the motivation and commitment Kevin displays is nothing but inspirational. Feel yourself get frustrated for him as he discovers routes with moves that his disability just won't allow him to complete despite his best efforts.

Pic: Steven Gordon - Hot Aches Blog

We then head abroad to Madagascar, where James McHaffie and a team of top UK climbers head to tackle 'Tough Enough', one of the worlds hardest big-wall free climbs. The filming here gave the trip a laid back, almost sublime feel but the climbing it documents is on an epic scale... 12 pitches of sustained and technical climbing - 7b+, 8a, 8c, 7c, 8a+, 8a+, 8c, 8b+, 8b, 8c+, 8c, 6c! Cue sweaty hands again.

Finally, we have Sonnie Trotter and Cory Richards hanging out in Squamish, taking on the classic E8 route 'Presto'. The climbing here is slightly overshadowed by the invaluable belay advice offered from Cory, such as his belay warm-ups the "Ghandi Triangle" and the "Archer". Absolutely priceless and a very feel-good way to end what is an absolute treat of a dvd.

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