It's rare to find quality historical footage of climbing, but this trio of films are amongst the best we've ever seen. Created in the late 1970's by Sid Perou, they document the changing scenes of British climbing as traditional ethics and "a 60's enthusiasm for technology" collided. A forward-thinking generation had begun bolting harder lines, developing new equipment and pushing the physical limits of performance through the peculiar disciplines of bouldering and indoor climbing.
These videos feature all the clichés of this climbing era - the brick climbing wall, short shorts and dodgy moustaches and hairstyles, depicting a pivotal point in the history of British climbing as the adventure of early pioneers and the sporting prowess of the new generation combined. The second film focusses on the pioneering, but often controversial character of Pete Livesey, and the third covers the first ascent of Lord of the Flies on the Cromlech by Ron Fawcett.
Sid describes the series in his Youtube description as follows:
"This series of three half-hour climbing films, made in 1978/9 were pretty revolutionary at the time. The public image of climbing was boots, breeches and helmets, but the new breed of climber was in shorts and tee-shirt. This film explores how that had come about. I was probably the first cameraman to film hanging from a rope."
Here is just a taste of some of the gems hidden within these films:
"To me bouldering's the top of the pyramid. A lot of climbers get fed up with climbing 100ft of rubbish just to get to 20ft of decent climbing. So then they drop down to a boulder to work out the hardest possible way up that boulder, even though 2ft away they could walk up it."
"As the sport of climbing leaps forward in popularity and the skills of the rock athlete advance, a first ascent - that most sought after achievement - is becoming increasingly rare."
"The glory of British climbing was that it concerned itself of necessity; with the small and the local."