A Very Different Kind of Challenge for 2010 – The Great Climb

A Very Different Kind of Challenge for 2010 – The Great Climb

The Previous Challenge was all about marketing and making an impact within your chosen niche, not a huge chance of tearing skin muscle and bone.  In life there are many kinds of challenge.  How do you fancy the chance to tackle an overhanging (150 ft in 600 ft) cliff of Lewisian gneiss in the bonny Western Isles on a typical full on Scottish summer rainstorm?

That’s the invitation that Dave McLeod and Tim Emmet received from BBC Scotland about a year and a half ago!  The brief was simple; find a line on the most overhanging part of Sron Ulladale on the Isle of Harris and do a trad first ascent of the line in the 5 1/2 hour live broadcast slot, no matter what the weather throws at you.

The result has been the most absorbing TV adventure epic I have ever had the pleasure to watch.  Here were two consumately bold athletes, winding their skills out on a genuinely epic cliff.   Dave’s ability to continue pushing the boundaries of our particularly gnarly form of madness and Tim’s almost irrepressible cheeriness until confronted with the spectacle of the rain sodden final 15 metres of climbing left me gobsmacked.

The boys dun gud! And not just the star cklimbers pictured here. It was an absolute classic example of rigging rock climbing ropes for camera crews as well.

For those in the UK, you can still get the full extravaganza on the iPlayer from BBC – just look for the Great Climb

This is a genuinely worthwhile piece of TV adventure and demonstrates many of the finer points of trad rock climbing.  Don’t be fooled by the apparent gymnastic ease with which these two guys get themselves up this stupendously difficult ascent.  These two men are highly trained individuals at the absolute peak of their game.  I suspect there is hardly a move on that route I could actually do – never mind linking 600+ together on one day.  Even during the inspection and rigging of the climb, the two guys had been unable to completely link all the moves, and Dave’s injury a few days before the event put a whole new level into the word commitment (or obsession?).

This is a must see!

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