I used to rock climb a lot when i was young and single. I’ve travelled all over doing it – France, Spain and even Switzerland. As soon as i started going out with the fine lady who is now my wife though i kind of got out the habit. It’s probably been about 2 years now since i properly climbed and most of my strength has gone and great expansion has taken place on my midsection.
I went out a few weeks ago with the lovely Gavin Grey for a trip to a crag i hadn’t been to before called Thorn Crag – he wanted to climb and i wanted to shoot him doing it. I decided to pack all my climbing gear and have a go at some easier stuff to see how it felt. A short drive north led us to a tiny rural village where we unpacked the car and started the 40 minute walk up the hill to the boulders. Despite many hours spent in the gym lately i was still shattered about 10 minutes in, but then again i was carrying my bouldering mat (a large mattress like device which is good for landing on when you fall off rocks), my bag full of climbing gear AND my camera bag loaded with my Bronica system!
It was absolutely worth it though – the place was deserted and there was no sign of anything man-made. You couldn’t even hear traffic. It was so pleasant to be out with a good friend in the middle of nowhere. We started climbing and shooting, Gav sending a V6 pretty sharpish and me happily shooting away. A little later we moved round to a beautiful V5 route called Elemental. After getting some shots of Gav on it i decided to pull on and have a go. I nearly did it on my first try – i just dropped the last move as i didn’t grab the hold right. I sent it on my next go – i was so chuffed!! The rest of the day was spent with Gav on a V7 called Mothership Reconnection – fortunately he managed to top it out on his very last go!
As i headed home i couldn’t wait to get the film developed. I had shot both colour (Portra 160nc) and black and white (HP5+). I could do the HP5+ as soon as i got home as i had the chemicals and so when i got home that’s what i did. Well, kind of. As most will know 120 film has backing paper on it. Now i am going to tell you all the secret to developing black and white 120 film. Listening carefully? When putting the film on your developing tank reel in your changing bag don’t ever pull the film out instead of the backing paper. I was furious – an entire roll lost!! Livid was an understatement! Eventually i calmed down, but even now im still gutted that i lost all those shots. A few days later i ordered some C41 chemicals and developed my colour roll and i was really chuffed that this picture came out exactly how i wanted it to:
I guess we live and learn...