Friday, January 16, 2009
One of the things you do when you're injured is look for ways to stay psyched. For me, this has meant a lot of reading about climbing. I love climbing history and had a fairly extensive library of mountaineering books before I'd ever tied into a rope. Since I quit climbing full time haven't kept a close eye on what was happening. I have a lot of friends who are still doing things on the cutting edge, so I stay abreast to a degree. After three weeks of lying on my back, I think I can say I'm now caught up.
Some of the coolest things about the modern age are blogging and very small cameras and digital recorders that will shoot broadcast quality footage. Because of this, we are now privy to first hand accounts of what once was mountain lore. Most of the big name climbers have production teams following them around. The up and comers' have You Tube. The result is that you no longer need your imagination. There's a record of almost every ground breaking ascent of the millennia.
Of course, some people are better than others at this. My favorite of the bunch is Scottish climber Dave MacLeod's blog. More than any other region, the U.K. has always been keen on not just climbing, but the sport's history and , more importantly, how it gets told. The climbing pubs in Britain have always been filled with colorful characters that make up for its lack of monumental rock faces. For this reason it was always one of my favorite places to climb. MacLeod, a proud Scott, seems keenly aware of this as he chronicles his quest to push new boundaries as well as repeat all of the world's most difficult traditional routes. His blog is a thoughtful, funny, and inspiring. If you're at all interested in climbing, it's a fine way to spend a bit of down time.
Also, if you want a more straightforward account of Dave's climbing career, here's a piece written by Dougald MacDonald for Climbing.
above is a trailer for echo wall, the story of macleod attempting perhaps the most difficult traditional climb in the world. below is a bit of training.
"you're a crazy man, dave."