Psyche II DVD

Psyche II, 235 kb
Psyche II
© Posing Productions

Leo Houlding on the 'A1 Beauty' pitch of his new route 'The Prophet'., 218 kb
Leo Houlding on the 'A1 Beauty' pitch of his new route 'The Prophet'.
© Alastair Lee
The latest film from Alastair Lee is now out. Psyche II features a real a mixture of climbing but the main meat is undoubtedly The Prophet – a film that follows Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles as they attempt to climb a new free route on El Capitan.

This is the main event of the DVD and would be a good stand alone film (42 mins long).

The other features in the film are shorter but cover a wide range of climbing, from Pembroke DWS and trad first ascents through to Alastair's son Simon taking some of his first steps on gritstone.

Alastair, who's biggest success was undoubtedly his recent film The Asgard Project, once again combines climbing action that will appeal to a broad market with real cutting edge ascents that are inspirational for 'real climbers'.

What did I make of the different sections of the DVD and of the package as a whole?

The Prophet

The main event. Leo and Jason on perhaps the route that marks the pinnacle of Leo's climbing career.

The action was expertly captured by Alastair, who is by now quite used to dangling thousands of feet of the floor whilst holding a huge video camera.

The effort involved in filming a route of this magnitude is astounding – getting the camera in to the right place is extremely difficult , but the shots are superb, the angles are as perfect as if the crag were a 10m high gritstone edge.

The story – that of Leo's 10 year quest to finish this route captured me and I was interested to see the final outcome. His and Jason's big push on the wall drew me in and I felt I was there with them, going for the route of my life.

It is a shame they didn't manage the route on that attempt, as this would then have probably ranked as my top climbing film of all time! The film does however capture the first free ascent of all the pitches including the hardest pitch, but the complete successful push, during which the team had to wait out a huge storm on their portaledge, is not filmed. Such is the difficulty of filming fickle and huge routes.

In short: An excellent and breath taking film of a truly outstanding route. Would have been perfect if the big ascent had been filmed. Definitely one to watch! (42mins)

DWS with Neil Gresham

This section of the DVD was for me the weakest part. Lee's humour and fun and frolics come out well at the end of the section in the showing of how they got the underwater shots - having a laugh whilst getting freezing cold in the sea, but the section overall lacked a story.

The dark and mysterious sea caves of Pembroke and the huge and steep routes tackled by Neil Gresham seem to trot by without the essence of what is happening really coming across to the viewer.

However there is no denying that one of those big routes Neil climbs looks amazing, and I have been inspired to go give it a bash myself.

In short: Some good climbing footage of weird and wonderful DWS in Pembroke, but the film itself seemed to lack that certain something. (10mins)

Mary Jenner makes the first female ascent of 'Bleed in Hell' E8 6c., 133 kb
Mary Jenner makes the first female ascent of 'Bleed in Hell' E8 6c.
© Alastair Lee
Bleed in Hell

This is a clip of Mary Jenner making the first female ascent of Bleed in Hell (E8) in Borrowdale in the Lake District.

The highlight of the clip is simply Mary's climbing style – smooth and in control, yet obviously giving 100% effort, the climbing speaks for itself and I enjoyed watching this piece of hard climbing.

The focus on the movement and the simplicity of the clip was enhanced by the quietness and lack of music – instead the birdsong in the background is a fitting soundtrack.

In Short: A great, no nonsense bit of climbing footage. Super. (5mins)

Oceans of Fear

Leo Houlding once again stars in this section – making an ascent of a truly outstanding looking route Oceans of Fear in South Africa.

The climbing looks stunning, the camera work is up to the usual impeccable standard and Leo is on as good a form as ever.

In Short: If you enjoy watching Leo Houlding adventure climbing then this is a great short film. If you don't, then it's not for you. (10mins)

Dusk till Dawn

This is the section of the film I was most interested to see. Dave Pickford climbing his new route in Pembroke. The colours are superb, the bright pink of Huntsman's Leap looking both beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. The route looks stunning and Pickford comes across superbly, being both intelligent and erudite yet uncompromisingly mad at the same time.

In Short: A nice clip of a superb and hard looking route and a must for any Huntsman's Leap devotee. (5mins)


There are some superb clips on the extras part of this DVD, one of the best moments of any of the films was for me watching Alastair's young son getting a bit wobbly on a tiny gritstone boulder. That's how I feel!

Also the footage of Bastille on High Tor in the Peak is worth a second watch. Very funny stuff.


The DVD is a great value purchase, giving a lot of climbing action for your money.

As an overall product, I think it is best thought of as 'The Prophet' – which is the main film, with a load of top quality extra packages thrown in for good measure.

The different aspects of the DVD are very diverse and as such the whole thing doesn't have a theme or a 'story' – but as a collection of climbing action films, you can't go wrong.

If you don't like watching Leo Houlding, then perhaps it is not the right DVD for you. If Leo is your man, then buy this DVD and you won't be disappointed.

More information on Psyche II - Posing Productions Website

TRAILER: The Prophet

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