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planetFear - Rock Climbing, Adventure Racing, Mountain Biking

Specimen DVD

Review by planetFear
Tuesday 19th December 2006

Specimen DVD Review

Ok, so the topic of this film is quite interesting: Yosemite speed ascent record holder, and first ascentionist of scary Patagonia and Baffin Island epics, Cedar Wright (having recently formed an interest in bouldering) decides to take a look at some of the world’s best boulderers to find out what drives them and what makes them so good.

The problem is, when Cedar, a 5.13 hard core crack climber pulls on his red and black stripy socks, steps into the dirt and onto his V10 project without a crash pad, you just don’t know whether the film is going to be a comedy or deadly serious.  My initial thoughts were how can a 5 year long Yosemite resident claim to be so clueless about bouldering?  You have to walk past Midnight Lightning to get to Camp 4’s car park.

There are few jokes to be had in this film as Cedar talks to Daniel Woods, Fred Nicole, Lisa Rands and Andy Raether.  Words like aura, zen, breathe, passion and heart are thrown around and Cedar begins his quest to learn more to achieve his goal of V10 (not a bad goal for someone ‘new’ to bouldering, especially when he wants to achieve it by the end of the summer). 

The film takes place in the magnificent and inspiring setting of South Africa’s Rocklands.  Whilst the film can’t fail to make you want to book a flight immediately and throw in your job for a relaxed month or two in such a beautiful place, you’re attention starts to falter – mine did at least.  A quick switch over to Hollyoaks on Channel 4 perked me up.  There is no doubt about the quality and difficulty of the problems but you are left wanting to zoom in just a bit more on the poor holds and grimacing faces .  Highpoints of the film include Lisa’s ascent of a highball ‘Cedar Spin’e and watching Daniel Wood’s who’s clearly not short of talent.

So what do we learn – are there any top tips up for grabs?  Not really.  Apparently it’s all in the mind.  No mention of campus boards or training hard.  Mutual appreciation seems key:  “Hey Eddie you’re strong too dude (clink of wine glasses) we’re all strong here, we’re team America.”  Catch the outtakes for this little gem of a quote.

When three quarters of the way through the film Lisa finally mentioned Cedar’s socks I breathed a sigh of relief.  And at least he started to wipe his feet before he leaves the ground.  Did Cedar send his V10?  Well I won’t give everything away.

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