I’ve been lucky enough to climb with guides both as a client and as a friend. I’ve shared a jetboil’d meal while learning about glaciers as a student and I’ve shared a flask of whiskey and recounted delicate traverses as a partner. But after my few days with a guide I go back to my home and they continue life in the mountains. It is easy to forget what is my escape from “life” is their existence.
A Life Ascending is not a film about a guide or a movie about ski mountaineering. It is not an exhilarating adventure that makes your palms sweat at the thought of taking that line. No, A Life Ascending brilliantly and subtlety shows a way of life in the mountains once the allure of the adventure wears off.
The story of Ruedi Beglinger and his family goes beyond the cliche’d eat, sleep and breath mountains. Their story is one of a tight knit extended family that does all the normal things but with the backdrop of a remote, helicopter access only chalet. The responsibilities that come with their school are immense but my impression is that they could nothing else and still be the people they were meant to be. It is their vocation in the deepest sense of the word.
It is easy to show pretty pictures of the breath taking beauty of remote mountains. It is much harder to share the religious nature of the them. The cinematography was exquisite and I felt the awe of being in an immense temple dedicated to a living idea.
I’m moving to Seattle in a month and am finally going to be able to ice climb on a semi-regular basis. I’m stoked but also a little anxious because ice climbing is my weakest area as far as experience goes. Perusing the ‘net I found this nifty video of Petzl doing field tests of ice screw strength. My takeaways are that the threads of the ice screw are where the strength is at and ice screws fail not because they slide out but because they get torqued and the ice above them flakes off. Taking the next logical step, for the strongest ice screw placement I would want to minimize torquing by placing them at a slight downward angle (the direction of a fall) which would put as much force as possible on the threads of the ice screw.
I’m planning on making a trip to Ship Rock next weekend to climb the classic moderates Boardwalk (5.8) and Hindu Kush (5.8). I wanted to see if youtube had anything on the two routes before I went but came up empty. All was not lost though because I did find this awesome video of Castaway (5.12a) being sent.