Masterclass 2: Skills and Tactics for Sport and Trad with Neil Gresham
Masterclass 2: Skills and Tactics for Sport and Trad with Neil Gresham

Masterclass 2: Skills and Tactics for Sport and Trad with Neil Gresham

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"We had all been expecting more of the same but this half of the package turns out to be closer to Hard Grit than to Masterclass 1. The emphasis switches much more to cases studies of various climbers demonstrating good and bad technique and, apart from the aforementioned HG, I can't think of many more inspiring DVDs about climbing I have watched in recent years. From start to finish we were utterly gripped. It didn't dwell on the finer points as in part 1, but instead ventured out onto ground that was more familiar to me (having always been a bit of an agnostic when it came to training). This was the real stuff; the sharp end, where you and the route is all that matters. Watching the likes of Steve McClure onsighting and redpointing at Malham was truly inspirational. Sport climbing can be a very tedious sport to watch, especially when people can hang on as long as Steve McClure. In his onsight attempt at The Groove on Malham Steve is on the route for over 30 minutes in real time, yet the editing is so well done that interest is well-maintained whilst not losing any continuity in the few minutes footage. There is plenty more as well. A short section featuring Lea Crane at Pen Trwyn putting in a bad redpoint (which she was big enough to allow to be used) shows what a thin line there can be between success and failure. Other inspiring demos are given by Adam Wainwright, making a very efficient red-point of Statement of Youth, and Charlie Woodburn, on a 7c at the local wall, and attempting the desperately thin Belldance in the Llanberis Slate Quarries. However, the best and most informative ascents are given by Neil Gresham himself. He proves that he really does know his stuff when describing his deliberately muffed ascent of London Wall, then showing how it should be done. His brilliant on-ascent commentary of Right Wall should be compulsory viewing for any ambitious trad leader as he covers all the various mental and physical stages encountered on a big trad ascent. As with most great routes, it saves the best for last. A final crux move is provided by actual footage of Neil's dramatic repeat ascent of the bold Equilibrium at Burbage South. This is real Hard Grit, palm sweating stuff, with breathtaking tension added by the fact that there is nothing staged going on. We know he makes it without falling off, but you still sympathetically clutch every tiny pebble and freezing sloper with him, as he claws his way tenuously to the top."
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