Posts Tagged ‘Documentary’

Posts Tagged ‘Documentary’


Couchimanjaro

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

Last night I was invited to my friend Keith’s home to watch the David Breashears 2002 documentary called To The Roof of Africa. It’s an IMAX film about a group of people climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and Keith thought it would be good for me to see it. Since it’s a much nicer title than the previous David Breashears movie I saw, I agreed to go. I mean, if the film were called “Kilimanjaro – IN THE DEATH ZONE”, I may very well have reconsidered his kind invitation.

And so I took a journey up Kilimanjaro, while sitting on a comfortable couch with a glass of Banrock Station merlot in hand. Not bad, really! At one point Keith’s wife Joan let me know that if I just pushed a little button on the side of the sofa, a little leg rest would pop up. I thought this was just too decadent, so I politely declined the offer. Besides, knowing me, I’d probably spill my wine.

The film was only 40 minutes long, but my was it ever beautiful. I was both inspired and petrified, as I alternately marveled at the scenery and cringed at the effort those climbers were undertaking. However, through the entire film I was thinking to myself, “I can do this!”

Of course, I was also thinking, “oh, crap. That looks really, really hard… but I can do this. I..wow, that’s really kind of muddy in that section, and… hey!! IS THAT A SPIDER?! Oh god. I can do this. I can do this. ARE THOSE TENTS?! Oh dear God… where’s the shower? I’m not seeing a shower! WHERE’S THE SHOWER?! I can do this. I can do this. Breeeeeeathe, breeeeeeeathe…. be calm, breeeeeathe…”

I was grateful when Keith offered to refresh my drained wine glass.

This is not going to be an easy climb. I get that. But I do have a feeling that whether I summit this mountain or not, this adventure will change my life forever.

I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.

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In The Shadow of Motivation

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

Last night I was watching TV at my mom’s, when I saw that the Knowledge Network was going to be showing a documentary called In The Shadow of The Chief. It’s a film about the first ascent of the grand wall of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, BC. A friend of mine from long ago is in the film, and as I had yet to actually see it, I decided to give it a glance.

Talk about motivating!

In May of 1961, two young men (Jim Baldwin and Ed Cooper) looked up at the nearly 2300 ft of towering rock face of the “unclimbable” Chief and said to themselves, “let’s do it!”. While everyone else said they were crazy to put their lives at risk, they knew that they were doing something monumental and historic.

Their equpiment was less than ideal; having shoes that were full of holes and devoid of grip, an insufficient supply of ropes and bolts, and having no map to guide them nor any route to follow. To make matters worse, while they were on The Wall one day, some heartless knob decided to root through Ed and Jim’s tent at base camp, and stole their supplies and money ($8.00).

However… Ed and Jim had the support of the town, (that still thought the two boys were lunatics), and without that support, the climb could never have been done. They were supplied with new shoes, ropes, bolts, custom-made pitons, and food. After two weeks, their climb had become a massive media spectacle, bringing their story to others who offered assistance in any way.

It took them about a month to finally summit (a climb that can be done in less than one day now), battling intense heat on their backs, crippling cold granite under their finger tips, swarms of grateful mosquitos, and fearless scavenging rats. At one point during their final push to the top, they ran out of water and had to resort to sucking on moss for hydration (funny note: the media at the time reported that Jim and Ed were “sucking on moths” for hydration). But they did it. They did it!

As I look at my own journey compared to Ed and Jim’s, I marvel at their determination and cringe at my own silly fears. I have the best equipment, the greatest guides and porters, and am essentially going on a very long walk up a well-traveled mountain. I’ll be inoculated, sun-screened, hydrated, and camping in luxury. And, like Ed and Jim, I have my good friend with me, and the support of my community. I find it all entirely thought-provoking. And so, as I contemplate, ruminate and think, think, think, I guess I can really only come up with one thing to say about all this…

“Let’s do it!”.

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