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Looking at the Wave twenty years on


This month, we're featuring the Wave- undoubtedly the hardest wall at The Castle.  Just getting to the top is an achievement for many (it certainly is for me!)  The Wave isn't like the bouldering areas of The Castle. In addition to colour coded blocs, the board is filled up with random holds, including wooden ones, for climbers to make up their own circuits and problems.  Many of these are so hard that they take months of training to achieve, so instead of reseting the wall every couple of months we only reset it twice a year to give the Cave dwellers adequate time to create, project and send these super-hard problems.

Last year, Christian Lund, one of our Wave addicts approached me with the idea of documenting the Wave.  Out of this came the Beta Reel, which immortalised one of the sets and this documentary which talks more about its place in The Castle's history.  It seems fitting for this project, celebrating one of our original walls, to come to fruition this year- our 20th in operation.  

Asked to comment on the making of this film, Christian said the following:

 From the many routes and boulder problems through my sadly inglorious climbing career, I remember only a few.  I remember my first tendon injury (a pocket on the featured top rope area at the castle).  I remember my first alpine solo, my first winter solo, and a near miss involving a widescreen-TV-sized block, insecure crampon placements, and poor coordination due to fatigue at altitude.  All of these stand out because they were unique, unrepeated and unrepeatable experiences in the panoply of average.
I also remember my first problem on the Wave.  This is curious because unlike the others, I’ve spent countless hours sat staring at the Wave, and a good proportion of those hours either actually climbing it or trying to climb it by various routes.  I’ve done easy problems, a couple of quite hard ones, circuits, 4x4s, campussing.   Perhaps the fact that doing that first problem gave such a sense of immediate achievement and opened the door to a world of training, focus, dedication and obsession is why it stands out in the mind.  Or perhaps it’s just a coincidence.  Either way, for me and for others, the Wave occupies this slightly odd place in the world.  

The film tries to explore a little of the strange world of the Wave, from the perspectives of those that were there when it was first built, through to those who probably weren’t born when it was first built.

The Castle would like to thank to Christian and all those who helped in making this documentary.


The wave from sgruff on Vimeo.