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Looking for crag/route for short independent film

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 dhaeg 03 Jan 2021

Hi all, 

I’m working on a short film (fiction) which involves some rock climbing and I’m currently looking for a location where we can shoot. Covid permitting, we are aiming to shoot the film late August or September 2021. 

In the story, a couple goes sport climbing, one of them is lead climbing and the other one is belaying. At a certain point there’s a part where the climber falls, which leaves him dangling underneath an overhang,without being able to reach the rock wall.

We’re looking for a crag and specific route that meet these requirements:

  • Needs to be a sport climbing route: the character is lead climbing, using anchors/bolts that are already in the rock
  • Decent height: the route should be high enough so it looks exciting and adventurous. We can use the camera to exaggerate everything a little bit, but we need something to work with. 
  • Overhang: the character slips and falls from the overhang, leaving him dangling underneath it, without being able to reach the rock face
  • Accessibility: most crew is based in the London area, so the closer to London the better. The budget is small, so anything closer to - and accessible from - London will help to keep cost under control
  • Sense of isolation: the story requires for the couple to be the only one there, at a secluded crag. So we would need a location where we can at least create the illusion that it’s sort of isolated.
  • Scenery: we’re looking for some nice, inland scenery (not coastal)

So far, I’ve found the Southern Sandstone area, which is close to London but unfortunately looks like it’s top rope only and not high enough.

Cheddar Gorge and Wye Valley look very nice and are more or less what we’re looking for scenery-wise but are a bit further away.

Any recommendation and help would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Diederick

 derryclimbs 03 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

Out of curiosity, is this Vertical Limit 2?

If so, where can I sign up as an extra???

 Hooo 03 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

I'm afraid you are looking at travelling at least 3 hours from London. There is no lead climbing of any kind that is any closer.

I'm not really a sport climber, but the default option for Londoners wanting sport climbing is Portland. This will have suitable routes, but it's coastal.

Cheddar has suitable routes, but it is not remotely quiet or isolated.

Wye Valley has quiet and scenery and a bit of sport. I haven't tried the sport climbing there myself, but hopefully someone will be along who knows it.

 Offwidth 03 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

Your climbers need to be inexperienced in your story as there are several ways experienced climbers can get back up to the rock after a fall on a steep sports climb.

 deacondeacon 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

The average viewer won't know that though 🙂

In reply to derryclimbs:

Tip: if this is Vertical Limit 2, and they're stuck with Southern Sandstone, they'd need to use High Rocks rather than Harrison's.

In reply to dhaeg:

If you're going to do it you should probably have a technical and safety advisor. So why not find an instructor who can do that and also find you a convenient location?

 Xavierpercy 03 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

Almost Me at Ban-y-Gor

 PaulJepson 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Xavierpercy:

Yeah byg came to mind. Routes on the main cliff like Pet Cemetary are quite exposed. 

There are a few scattered sport routes on GO Wall at Wintours. Never been on it but maybe something like The Isle of Dogs (7a+) or Dinosaur Heaven: Return from Extinction (7c) if they haven't fallen down?

Post edited at 18:18
 C Witter 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I dunno... maybe it's a comedy?

 Mike505 03 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

Limestone might be your best bet in the UK, something like Plumb Buttress in Chee Dale might tick the boxes. Or maybe Kilnsey, though theses options aren't very close to London.

 gazhbo 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Hooo:

> Cheddar has suitable routes, but it is not remotely quiet or isolated.

I imagine quiet doesn’t really matter as they don’t need to record the road noise.  There are plenty of bits of Cheddar which can be made to look very isolated and scenic.  Spacehunter wall and Sunset Buttress both have big overhangs and I would think you could avoid filming the road at both.

Return of the gunfighter or fornicator simulator?

Post edited at 19:45
In reply to Xavierpercy:

> Almost Me at Ban-y-Gor

This. If you'd been there with us a few months ago with a camera you'd have it in the can already. 

Would be super easy to film from the big ledge too.

Post edited at 20:36
 tew 03 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

There's a few different spots in the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean. I'd recommend getting the Wye Sport Guide book and checking that out.

If you're not experienced at climbing I'd also recommend getting a guide for the day. Rather safe than sorry

In reply to dhaeg:

Shooting at first light might provide you with more options seclusion wise 🙂

 freeflyer 04 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

>  At a certain point there’s a part where the climber falls, which leaves him dangling underneath an overhang,without being able to reach the rock wall.
> Decent height: the route should be high enough so it looks exciting and adventurous. 
> Overhang: the character slips and falls from the overhang, leaving him dangling underneath it, without being able to reach the rock face

Somewhere near the Eigerwand station would be ideal, with a bit of a storyline rewrite and a small amount of rebudgeting.

 MischaHY 04 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

> In the story, a couple goes sport climbing, one of them is lead climbing and the other one is belaying. At a certain point there’s a part where the climber falls, which leaves him dangling underneath an overhang,without being able to reach the rock wall.

> We’re looking for a crag and specific route that meet these requirements:

> Needs to be a sport climbing route: the character is lead climbing, using anchors/bolts that are already in the rock

> Decent height: the route should be high enough so it looks exciting and adventurous. We can use the camera to exaggerate everything a little bit, but we need something to work with. 

> Overhang: the character slips and falls from the overhang, leaving him dangling underneath it, without being able to reach the rock face

This is an unrealistic scenario. When sport climbing it's very easy to either lower down, reclimb the rope, or be thrown the other end of the rope by your partner once lowered to be level with them.

Any climber who went on a route like this where you can't simply lower off would have sufficient equipment with them to handle the situation, mainly because we're sensible people and don't like getting stuck on the end of ropes in overhanging terrain. Even without any equipment it's extremely simple to use the weight of your belayer to 'bounce' up the rope to reach the clip again. 

From a community perspective I also think it's very unhelpful for the public image of climbing to depict this sort of scenario which may negatively affect access, when the scenario itself is entirely unrealistic. What you're effectively depicting is comparable to someone driving halfway down a steep hill on a single lane road, discovering the road is closed and then simply applying the handbrake and sitting there 'stuck' when any driver would simply reverse back up the hill. Anyone in the know will find it ludicrous and anyone not in the know is being mislead. 

If you made it a trad seacliff with inexperienced climbers (pitch 4 of A Dream of White Horses (HVS 4c) comes to mind) then you could certainly get a lot closer to a realistically dangerous situation. 

Post edited at 08:43
 gravy 04 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

Ah, a remake of "The mackerel sandwich"!

 derryclimbs 04 Jan 2021
In reply to MischaHY:

Yes but when did any cinematographer/film-maker care about realism?

Anyway, the more climbers this scares away from the crags the better! Far too many gym-freaks showing me up on my project for my liking!

In reply to dhaeg:

If this is a troll then it's a pretty good one 🤔 

 chev1n 04 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

You are relying on your audience to know nothing about climbing. Any climbers drawn to something like this are going to be disappointed and critical. Why not film some safe but exciting trad, maybe portraying someone having an epic but overcoming the fear. Maybe going a long way away from Pro. It could be made to look more scary ie hiding the pro from the camera. The climbing could be easy but look harder. And the experience could be positive. Dream has been mentioned. Gogarth Pembroke anywhere with atmosphere would be awesome 

In reply to chev1n:

> You are relying on your audience to know nothing about climbing. Any climbers drawn to something like this are going to be disappointed and critical. 

The Descent did alright at the box office though.

 dhaeg 04 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

Thanks a lot for all the responses!

Looks like there’s no way around to have to travel a bit further to get the type of location we are looking for.

Ban-y-Gor, Wintours leap, Chee Dale and the routes suggested in Cheddar gorge look like they fit the description really well.

Just to clarify the part with the overhang, in the story, the belayer decides to leave the climber hanging for a while underneath the overhang while they are having a short conversation.

Nearby roads are not necessarily an issue, if we have the option to film from certain angles so that it looks isolated. Same with some road noise, we can record sound in a more quiet part and match it with what we have filmed.

 derryclimbs 04 Jan 2021
In reply to dhaeg:

> Just to clarify the part with the overhang, in the story, the belayer decides to leave the climber hanging for a while underneath the overhang while they are having a short conversation.

This really does show how everyone jumps to the conclusion that film-makers have no idea about climbing, where actually climbers have no idea about film-making. Just because the climber is free-hanging doesn't automatically mean they've had an accident. 

 chev1n 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Ridge:

Think I saw that film ages ago. It was more about some spooky monsters than about climbing if I remember correctly. 

Sylvester Stallone comes to mind topping out on some huge ice cliff no rope but a rack full of friends to weigh him down. Something like that. Did really well. Hugely entertaining. And James Bond he always struggles with the mantles at the top out lol even though there may be giant footholds and huge jugs nearby lol 😂 

I think filming at a sport crag could work. It's easy enough to create an illusion. Remove the bolts. Remove the rope. 

I say good luck to dhaeg 😊😊😊

 Anoetic 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Xavierpercy:

This or The drilling fields...the main overhang is big and the camera angles would be great..just a bit of a trek...

In reply to chev1n:

> Think I saw that film ages ago. It was more about some spooky monsters than about climbing if I remember correctly. 

I think there was a scene where one of the cavers puts about 6 cams in a 3 foot long roof crack for some reason, and I think a pair of ice axes appear from a kitbag for some unexplained reason...

 chev1n 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Ridge:

LOL 

Might be worth digging this out and having a look 😊😊😊😊


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