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 By: User Deactivated  | Date: 2006-10-18  | Category: Review    | Comment  

E11 from Hot Aches productions

Starring: Dave MacLeod, Niall McNair, Claire MacLeod

Watching one guy working one route for 41 minutes might not sound very exciting. And in most cases that wouldn't be the case. This film, however, is an exception to the rule. To be honest, the rule doesn’t even apply, cause this is not just a film about a guy working a route, it’s way more profound.

I’d say this is a film about life, human relations, what climbing and climbers are about and, ok, I guess it’s also the story about how the world’s hardest traditional rock climb, ‘Rhapsody’ E11 7a (8c+) was finally climbed. It’s not a film about peace, freedom and the American way.


Watching “E11” should be compulsary for any non-climber considering socializing with climbers on a regular basis. There’s actually a great possibility they’ll even enjoy it. I think all of us recognize parts of ourselves in Dave, even though most of us aren’t quite as obsessed as him.

Here are a few things that differentiates E11 from other climbing films:

·        It doesn’t portray the climbers as way cool. Dave seems quite an ordinary guy. In reality most climbing stars would be utter dorks if it weren’t for climbing. (Come on we all know it!).

·        You don’t want to be Dave MacLeod. Not that there’s anything wrong with Dave, far from it. It’s just that... well, “Rhapsody” can be found on Dumbarton rock in Glasgow. No sun, no beach, no great views, no chicks, no cheers, no glamour. Plenty of local drunks though. The weather seems generally miserable and cold and the route looks absolutely menacing... heinous. Add death fall potantial and... need I go on. I’d rather be Chris Sharma.

·        It feels as though we really get to know the person Dave MacLeod, not only the climber. The tries, the training, the pain, the agony and the triumph. We also get to see and hear Claire’s (Dave’s wife) view of it all. It’s not always easy to live with an obsessed climber... She represents the voice of reason here and also earns a few points for having a book about Stockholm on her shelf. Good on you there Claire!

·        Non-climbers won’t hate it. Maybe they won’t enjoy it as much as you, but still. All of us who’ve tried to get our loved ones to join us in the great fun that watching climbing films is, know that that isn’t exactly the usual case.

·        At no point in the movie, Dave appears to be stoned. Not that common...


The 37 minutes of extra material include Dave working and sending a couple of 8B boulders, soloing “Hurley burley”, 8b, and redpointing “L’Mens”, 8b+.

Subtitles in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.


This is, hands down, one of the very best climbing movies I’ve ever seen. It’s up there with the best from the Lowell brothers. It will be interesting to see what Hot Aches Productions will achieve in the future after such a great start.