We've been out filming this winter for our upcoming film 'Transition' featuring Natalie Berry and Dave MacLeod and supported by Mountain Equipment. The film follows Natalie's move from indoor and sport climbing to trad, winter and alpine. We went on a couple of shoots last summer, including a ten day trip to the Isle of Lewis for trad climbing on the sea cliffs but this was our first opportunity to get out into the winter environment.
We've put together a short film preview of some of the routes we've shot on the project so far. Check it out below.
Below is a quick summary of the winter routes we've shot for the project this winter.
The Promised Land - Beinn Dorian
The first winter shoot of the season saw us heading to Beinn Dorian near the Bridge of Orchy. We'd heard that 'Messiah' (VII 7) was in good condition but unfortunately we were beaten to the route by two other parties so instead opted for 'The Promised Land' a nearby grade VI. Diff and Ali Rose (our guide for the day) headed to the top of the route to rig a rope for filming whilst Nat and Dave climbed up the first easy pitches and I set up camera position the slopes below. The meat of the route was contained in the top two pitches with great climbing on mixed ground and ice. Despite being blasted by the wind all day we managed to get some great footage of Natalie's first winter route, topping out as the sun set.
Read Dave's blog about the day here
Transition - Beinn Udlaidh
A week after shooting on 'The Promised Land' we headed back to the Bridge of Orchy area again, this time to Beinn Udlaidh, an easily accessible venue with lots of potential for new routes. Donald King joined us as guide and Geoff Fortescue as second cameraman. Dave and Nat spotted a couple of potential lines on the unclimbed lower tier and after some deliberation decided on a steep icicle route with a section of mixed at the start. Things started to warm up very quickly as we arrived at the base of the route and the ice started to melt (a wetsuit quickly becoming a more appropriate clothing option). Fortunately the pitch was quite short and we managed to finish shooting and head back to the van by 2pm, a very relaxing shoot day in comparison to the usual Scottish winter outings!
Read Dave's blog here.
Pink Panther - Ben Nevis
Due to various mishaps over the years Dave was due to head off to Germany for ankle surgery at the end of March with a couple of months off climbing after that. The day before Dave was due to leave we managed to fit in one final winter shoot on Ben Nevis, which due to a good period of freeze-thaw cycles meant a number of rarely formed ice routes were in great condition. We opted for 'Pink Panther' a VI 6 on the Upper Cascade area first climbed by Godefroy Perroux that hadn't had many repeats. Fortunately we were lucky enough to get near perfect weather (a rarity for Scotland!), which made our filming job much easier. Diff and our guide Julie headed up to the plateau to rig ropes whilst we sat in the CIC drinking tea and sharpening axes. After a quick slog up Number Two Gully we arrived at the base of the route. With a bit of effort I was able to dig out a perfect filming ledge that gave a great view of the route. Dave led up the first crux pitch on great ice before Natalie led through and up the final pitch to top out onto the plateau in the sunshine (something I couldn't appreciate stuck in the gully below!).
Dave's blog about Pink Panther is here.
With three great winter shoots in the bag we're now looking forward to the summer and more trad climbing both in Scotland and further afield. We'll be posting regular updates on our Facebook page.