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planetFear - Rock Climbing, Adventure Racing, Mountain Biking

Karma DVD

Review by planetFear
Wednesday 11th October 2006

Retailing at £21.95, what now seems the normal going rate for a climbing DVD, I’m not convinced that this is particularly great value for money, but I’m sure that many would disagree.

There are two distinct sides to the DVD. The most interesting is the climber’s involvement with the local charity Porters’ Progress. The actual climbing footage falls a bit short.

The bar has been set for bouldering videos today, not necessarily by the difficulty of the problems being climbed, nor who the climbers are, but by the standard of the filming. I can understand the film-makers reluctance to put grades next to the names of the problems climbed, but there are very few close up shots of the holds the climbers are pulling on. This makes it difficult to really feel like you can get involved with and understand the action.

Having been to the Himalayas myself I was a little disappointed to feel that the incredible beauty of the region wasn’t sufficiently captured on film.

Fortunately the film does have a major plus side. It manages to illustrate the harsh lives endured by the child porters of Nepal by including considerable, and at times moving, footage of their encounters with several young Nepalese porters. No only do the American climbers teach them some climbing skills, but they also become involved in and learn about their lives and culture.

The special features include two trailers for forthcoming climbing DVD’s (Castle Hill, and Australia), a random boulder problem, and one of the most interesting parts of the whole film, an interview with a young Nepali boy who gives a frank insight into the harsh realities of his, and so many of his compatriots lives. Tim Kemple’s slideshow is also well worth a look as it captures the mood of the people and the place well.

If you want to be entertained by watching climbing then there are countless other DVD’s which are far superior, but none that I’ve seen offer such an interesting insight into the habitants of such a special part of the world.

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