Thursday, November 5, 2009
Two videos I plan on not watching
This entry is about two climbing videos that I plan on never seeing. This may sound strange but I think it's worth exploring what I mean. The first will be video of the Right Graham Arete in Boulder Canyon, a cool little granite egg buried in the trees adjacent to Boulder Creek. Except that there are a few less trees than there used to be. Jackie Hueftle, climber, writer and route-setter, sent me some photos of the destruction of several small but sizeable trees near the boulder, an act that appeared motivated primarily by the desire to have a better view of the boulder. I hope I'm wrong but this shot of Chris Schulte holding up the chopped-down tree leads me to that conclusion. So if you killed a tree to get a better video of this problem, make sure that is noted in the credits.
The other is currently posted on Deapoint Magazine and has a somewhat convoluted history. Not long ago a talented young climber named Max Zolotukhin decided to try to solo a short and very bouldery 14b called Supernova in Rumney. The attempt did not go well resulting in a very serious ankle injury. Max blogged about it in a very serious and thoughtful way, mentioning in passing the lure of media coverage of a hard free-solo. Soon a video was up of the accident on Vimeo, which spread rapidly to a number of sites, before it mysteriously disappeared. Then it resurfaced at (agghhh, not again!) Deadpoint Magazine where I believe it currently resides. And no I will not link it. If you want to do the climb, check out this video instead:
Jamie Emerson has written on the topic of media attention given to hazardous climbs and there is little I would add to his thoughts. I think that viewers of climbing media should seriously consider what they support when they view scenes of potentially lethal climbing, let alone actual disaster in action. While I am aware that climbing is by its very nature potentially lethal, there seems to be a line somewhere that gets crossed when danger, rather than the skill and courage required to get past it, becomes the selling-point. So to videos that cross that line, or trash the natural surroundings to get the shot, no thanks.