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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, June 7, 2012



Anonymous said...

I am impressed.
It seldom happens, but I am.

Anonymous said...

stupid 'film' written and staring a overhyped idiot. Have fun selling yourself to the other idiot posers. The rest of us will do our thing for ourselves and not say or post a fucking thing.

Dane said...

Stupid? I thought about deleting this comment. But I guess I couldn't refuse a response. If Steve is stupid in your mind I'll say you are a simply coward. Steve at least put his name on this project. You on the other hand didn't have the stones to even make the comment with your real name. IMO you are the only POSER...and a ass to boot.

Bruno Schull said...


There's an interesting thread about this movie on UKC climbing:

The thread raises some of the same issues suggested here, basically, is this a "stupid 'film' written and staring a over-hyped idiot" as anonymous states above, or is there value in Steve House's "Shattered."

I think perhaps what some people react negatively toward in the film is the dramatic tone, the soul-searching, and so on. Certainly, in the larger world of creative works (movies, books, articles, and so on) this kind of hyperbole can be off putting.

However, I think it is important to remember that, as Steve House reports in the movie, something like 19 people with whom he shared a rope have died in the mountains (I don't remember the exact number).

My point is that, when most people write dramatic life and death stuff it sounds like nonsense, but in the case of people like Steve House, who practice the sport at such a high level, the stakes truly are high, and almost nothing they write could adequately capture the real consequences of their actions. Hence the great difficulty communicating their climbs to others.

So you have climbers such as Mark Twight, who might write something like, "I reached the knife-edge of darkness and looked down inside myself where I balanced like a rat trying to break free of the great chains of society which threatened to drag me down so I climbed up toward nothing," and you have climbers such as Mick Fowler, who might write something like, "We reached the ridge after some sporting climbing and were happy to sit down and make some tea." And you have everybody in between. They are all great climbers, they are just expressing themselves differently. And of course everybody will have their individual sensibilities and preferences. At least that's my point of view.

As for the movie, I really liked the cinematography, the production quality, the setting..all that came together very well for me. I think it really shows the difference between strapping on a helmet cam and shooting some video, and making a true movie.

That said, I did find the narration a little over-the-top, and I basically tuned out, although, as I wrote above, I think it much more complicated than it appears, and it is a great mistake to dismiss it outright. Having read Steve House's book, parts of which left me with similar feelings, I would say that Steve House is struggling to find an authentic voice. That is a difficult task for any writer, and perhaps is even more difficult for somebody trying to describe high-level climbing. Like climbing itself, I think it is an ongoing and constantly-evolving process. I look forward to seeing how Steve House expresses himself in the future, with climbs, projects like the apprenticeship program, or with more books or movies.

Finally, I don't know if it's available outside Europe, but the best climbing movie I have ever seen (rock and alpine) is Au-Dela des Cimes, by Remy Tezier, which follows Catherine Destivelle over a series of personally meaningful climbs in the Mont Blanc masif. The film won multiple awards, and the technical and visual aspects as well as the human or interior aspects are simply amazing.

Dane said...

Damo wrote, "Sounded like he looked deep inside himself and found a Mark Twight article from 1993 to read out loud". Good observation imo. But then Steve and Mark have spent a lot of time together over the last couple of decades on and off the mtn. So I am not surprised. I've known Mark a long time and never liked his "eating the rat" style of writing or Steve's when he goes there. But both men have a voice, and are willing to put their own name to it. What more can you ask of anyone? Steve's climbs speak for themself. I don't see how anyone can use Steve's name and "poser" in the same sentence. You may not like his new art but as a climber respect is certainly due.

I guess I am not surprised by the Internet reaction when I think about it. Last week people were labeling Messner as a over hyped poser as well. having Internet access doesn't mean you have anything worth while saying in public. On the other hand I think, Messner, Twight and House do.

Bruno Schull said...

Agreed 100% Dane.

House, Twight and Messner posers? Ha! Now that's funny!


Ian said...

Last weekend I learned how to replace the window motor in my wife's car and this week I learned Messner was a poser. I guess you just have to take the good with the bad when it comes to the internet.