Committed II Review

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Commited II DVD artwork (Hotaches)

A review of the latest offering from Hotaches Productions - By Dave Redpath

This month sees the release of the second film in the Committed series from Hotaches Productions. Prior to release some of the films has already won four awards between the EMFF and Banff festivals. Committed II is divided into five films: The Groove, The Allrounder, Grit Kids, Rhapsody 3 and The Walk of Life. Each of these profiles hard traditional ascents across the UK from James Pearson, Dave MacLeod, Katy Whittaker, Pete Whittaker and Steve McClure.

The Groove tells the story of James Pearson's ascent of The Groove E10 7a at Cratcliffe Tor, a line tagged in Hard Grit as one of the Peak's last great problems. The prevalent theme in this film is not only the hard climbing but how such a climber integrates it with his personal relationship. James sees off the crux with some interesting hand dynamics before tensions rise in preparation for the first ascent.

The Allrounder follows Dave MacLeod around the UK and abroad as he attempts to push his limits in all disciplines of climbing. Beginning in Spain we see him push his sport standard up with the fourth ascent of A Muerte F9a, succeeding on the last day of his four week trip. Back in the UK Dave explores his new back yard of Glen Nevis, cleaning up some new hard boulder problems. In the Lakes he repeats If Six was Nine, an early E9 from Dave Birkett. In the Cairngorms we catch him making the first ascent of The Hurting XI,11. Each sequence conveys MacLeod's persistent determination to succeed in whatever discipline the season determines.

Grit Kids follows the Whittakers, brother and sister Pete (17) and Katy (19) for a season on Peak gritstone. We see the pair rack up a challenging collection of routes of E6 and upwards, most notable is Katy's flash of an E6 and Pete's first ascent of Dynamics of Change E9 7a. Parental factors nourishing such talent at a young age are explored, notably encouragement towards something that's potentially dangerous.

Rhapsody 3 details Steve McClure's third ascent of Rhapsody E11 at Dumbarton rock. Sadly this was my least favourite, knowing some of the story behind Sonny Trotter's second ascent a week earlier - the footage of which is reserved for another film we have to wait for. But what about that finish?

The Walk of Life follows James Pearson again, this time down to a massive steep slab on Devon's Hartland Point. Stepping outside the threshold of self-preservation, James begins by restoring the route's feel by removing the pre-placed pegs. The first route to be graded E12, the footage that follows goes along way to conveying the seriousness and strenuousness of the route. The fall captured nears the unimaginable consequence of attempting such a route. Something that to date has never transpired in the UK.

Comparing editions, Committed II offers five story-driven films showing a stronger structure than the first outing. I must say I'm a fan of the short film format which helps encapsulate different stories within an edition. There are many eye-catching shots from around the country making the best of the British weather. It's always interesting to see the result of the organically-driven film making that Hotaches produce.

Scottish winter is something I'd like to see more off in British climbing films if logistical challenges can be overcome. The British trad formula has also been used in this year's release from Posing Productions, Onsight, so it should be interesting to see how the two films compare in front of audiences. The trailer can be viewed here.

Committed II can be purchased now through the Hotaches website or from most good retailers. You can, as always, catch up with what's going on in their blog. Read another review at UKC by Mick Ryan.

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