May
25
2008
0

Chamonix Style

We arrived in Chamonix to find Jonny Copp and Micah Dash two-thirds of the way up an attempted new route on the Dru getting thrashed by a storm. Seems like every place we go with these guys there is heavy weather, epic suffering and gallows humor (see the previous post, “Shut Down.”) Needless to say, it is hard to film. But that’s the deal with fast and light, first ascent, on-sight alpine climbing, which Jonny and Micah have refined to a cutting edge and slightly demented art form.
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The not-so-petit Dru in storm (photo: Jonny Copp)

In climbed-out Chamonix, where new routes are hard to come by, a window of opportunity opened up when the west face of the Petit Dru collapsed twice over the last eight years (see the massive white patch in the photo), erasing the existing routes and leaving a brand new face for two enterprising American climbers like Jonny and Micah.

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Micah and Jonny’s storm bivy (photo: Jonny Copp)

They were forced to descend in the storm, nearly got crushed by a collapsing bergshrund, and after a couple days partying in Cham, they are planning to go back up there. Meanwhile we will be shooting some cool footage on the Aguilles, and of course, joining in on the fete.

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Jonny and Micah rehydrating

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Nick and Izabela survive a massive avalanche.

Written by Nick in: General |
May
20
2008
0

Winging it in the Dolomites

We are here in Arco, Italy, at the foot of the 4,000 foot Monte Brento, where Chris McNamara has been doing some sick wingsuit BASE jumping and terrain flying for the upcoming film, “THE SHARP END”. Trailing him on camera is the rock steady Damien Dykman, and so far we are getting some great footage despite the near constant rain. At every lull in the storms, these two badasses jump and skim the cliffs and shoot footage that rivals the Wachowski brothers, only this is better than the Matrix, because it is real. Check out a raw video from Chris’ chest cam here.

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Written by Nick in: General |
May
16
2008
0

Fun and Fear in Eastern Europe

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Cedar and Alex hanging out in the Elbsandstein

We just got done with three weeks shooting for THE SHARP END on the uber-traditional sandstone spires of Eastern Europe. The team included a bevy of bold and rad climbers: Cedar Wright, Heidi Wirtz, Renan Ozturk, Vera Schulte Pelkum, Alex Honnold, Matt Segal and Topher Donahue. But even these guys were pretty gripped by the local ethics: you can’t use chalk, you can’t use metal gear like cams or nuts, and all you have for protection are knotted chords (which seem like they wouldn’t hold a falling caterpillar) and an occasional rusty old ring bolt every 40 feet or so.

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Bernd Arnold barefoot solo

We spent a week following the legendary Bernd Arnold (who still pulls down hard and barefoot solos 5.10 at age 62) around his home crag of the Elsandstein in East Germany, and another 10 days in the Czech Republic, where we got scared out of our minds on death routes during the day and recounted the heroics over endless glasses of pilsner in the pub at night.

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Alex Honnold gives the knots a try

The Czech town of Adrspach is a classic climber community. Oldsters and young alike take part in a tradition that dates back a hundred years. But don’t go it alone out here. We highly recommend local guide Tomas Pycha, who is a great guy and the perfect inside man in this labyrinth of rock: www.tomadventure.org

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Renan captures the scene. Check out his stuff here. Also check out Nando’s field videos of our trip here.

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Pete filming Heidi on a classic Czech crack

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Matt runs it out on the towers

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Beer at 10 in the morning before a long day of tower jumping. Tomas, on the right, was our illustrious guide. Peter, on the left, is a ballsy tower jumper who broke his foot later that day. But Cedar — who stuck some big jumps — was not much better off (see below).

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Written by Nick in: General |
May
16
2008
0

The El Cap Pirate

We spent a week in Yosemite with Ammon McNeely, the notorious “El Cap Pirate,” thus named because of his out law nature and his habit of he raping and pillaging the hardest, scariest lines on the Big Stone. Ammon was true to form, hooking and beaking on tenuous edges, taking massive gear-ripping falls, and laughing it off. He even took a deliberate 70 footer WHILE drinking a King Cobra. The dude is frickin tough. And he will one of the crazies featured in our upcoming film, THE SHARP END. Stay Tuned.

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Written by Nick in: General |

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