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Big Stone
by Bomb Proof Productions


Jason Campbell
Jason Campbell on
Moonlight Buttress
Courtesy of BPP
With the explosion of rock climbing in the '90s, there came an abundance of climbing videos that offered scads of sport climbing and bouldering, with a little traditional crack climbing thrown in. Until now, the only domestic video that delved into the esoteric world of big wall freeclimbing was Lynn Hill's The Nose, a documentary of her two year-odyssey of freeing The Nose route on El Capitan.

Now, with Big Stone from Bomb Proof Productions, we have another full slice of big wall freeclimbing. Big Stone, directed by Drew Bedford, features Tommy Caldwell's first American full free ascent of the Salathé Wall (5.13b/c) on El Cap. You also get to see Jason Campbell doing an on-sight ascent of Zion's Moonlight Buttress (5.13a) and a remix of Lynn Hill's free ascent of The Nose (5.13c), plus color commentary on big wall freeclimbing from Dale Bard, one of the legends of Yosemite climbing.

One of the best features of Big Stone is that Bedford keeps his narration to a minimum and instead lets the climbers do the talking. As you watch the video, you get to hear Campbell recounting the insecurity of the crux pitch of Moonlight Buttress and Caldwell describing the infamous "easy, but you better not fall" Hollow Flake pitch of the Salathé.

The camera work in this video is excellent. In contrast to a bouldering video, in which rigging and set-up time are minimal, shooting on a big wall requires a significant amount of time be spent setting up before the shoot can even begin. Couple this with a climber's desire to move quickly and efficiently while being filmed and you've got a logistical nightmare. Bedford overcomes this easily, putting together well shot digital video footage and great sound. You see the climber from bird's eye views, horizontal side angles and through long distance telephoto shots, which all deliver the goods.

My one complaint about the video is that the Lynn Hill segment is too short. Her free ascent of The Nose is one of the greatest achievements in climbing and deserves a longer look. This is a small complaint, as the addition of Dale Bard's recollections of her Yosemite past adds new insight into why The Nose is the quintessential climb of her career.

If you're looking for a change of pace from the plethora of bouldering videos or simply looking to be inspired by some of the sport's best climbers, get your paws on this puppy.

Matt Stanley, Staff

Big Stone by Bomb Proof Productions Videos fill those long, painful months when the snow, rain and cold keep you off the rock or when you're chained to the city. In fact, this video might just be the only thing that gets you through those tough times. Click here to buy this vid.

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