Kendal: Battle of the Climbing Filmsby Mick Ryan Sep/2006
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First we have E11 from Hot Aches Films ( Fools With Tools, All Mixed Up). E11 tells the story of Dave MacLeod and his first ascent of "Rhapsody" (E11 7a), perhaps the hardest single-pitch trad route in the world.
Next we have Set in Stone (see trailer) from Posing Productions and Shrewd Ape Media (Storms, Twice Upon a Time in Bolivia) which is a profile of the Lakeland climber Dave Birkett that features the first ascents of 'Return of the King' (E9 6c) and "Nowt Burra Flee'in Thing" (E8 6c) as well as a dramatic sheep rescue.
From the USA there is Sender Film's (Front Range Freaks, Return to Sender) latest offering First Ascent which showcases first ascents around the world from deep water solos, to 5.14 to alpine first ascents in the Himalaya (website).
The fourth contender is from Leo Dickinson (Eiger Solo, Ballooning over Everest, Filming the Impossible) a veteran of over fifty adventure films who will be presenting his Whillans - Myth and Legend.
By all accounts (and we do have some insider knowledge) these are four very strong contenders and all the films are oustanding. It's going to be a difficult decision but enjoyable viewing time for the judges and for those who make their way to this years Kendal Mountain Festivals (tickets).