On Sunday 4th August six brave men and women ventured to 'Revolution' in Broadstairs. The primary purpose of this trip was a photo shoot for Ali's new company Hseven, on the cameras we had; Jonathon Lockwood, Francois Joubert and Mark Franks, the director/coordinator was Alistair Campbell and those being photographed; Rachel McCabe and myself.
Though the focus of this trip was the photographs we also went there to get in as much climbing as we possibly could, so after a quick trip to McDonalds for sustenance (possibly the worst place you could go before climbing!) we were ready to get geared up and on those walls! It had been Rachel, Mark F's and Francois' first time at revolution and you could see the excitement in their eyes as they entered. Rachel took naturally to the walls as she has had lots of experience in gymnastics and dance she was able to learn the techniques quickly and showed a lot of strength.
As we casually climbed any route that took our fancy the camera men started to take pictures from all angles, getting their eyes in for the best positions. They had a significant amount to take into account, for example; the lighting, whether or not the logo could be clearly seen, whether the shot looked better from height or from below, the colour of the tops against the colour of the walls etc. The photographers then began mercilessly requesting the hardest of poses! from hangs to dinos to heel hooking before getting simple standing still catalogue style photographs at the end of the afternoon (to the relief of Rachel and myself – and our arms!).
Francois and Jonathon then took to the ropes. Francois got into position on the high wall (in line with the lead climbing ceiling) to take the best possible pictures looking down from height whilst Jonathon belayed those going up. After lots of shots were taken on the high wall and many thoughts and ideas thrown around between the cameramen and Ali our feet finally found themselves back to the ground. Whilst Francois and Jonathon packed up the ropes the rest of us headed back to bouldering were we took on some of the tougher routes such as the overhangs to see how many we could successfully complete and how many positions we could get ourselves into that would look good on camera.
The afternoon was an array of first times, Mark Franks, having never been to revolution previously, left feeling excited about the prospect of taking his children there and learning to belay them up the walls. Whilst Rachel tackled and conquered Revolutions overhangs and Francois showed emphatic leg strength having climbed for the first time up the highwall in bare feet only to rest around 15ft up for the best part of 45 minutes taking pictures from different angles.
There were many laughs during this trip particularly when Rachel and I found it difficult to remain serious for the catalogue style photographs. But, after many 'thoughtful' poses and having being quickly reprimanded for making silly gestures to Rachel from behind the camera as she posed, the last camera clicked and the last photo was taken.
As the guys were packing up a few of us headed over to an overhang that had been giving us trouble and one by one we all conquered it – falling on each other plenty of times along the way.
Personally I really enjoyed the whole experience. Having always bouldered I have little experience of what it feels like to lead climb and so it was great to finally get on the ceiling and get a feel of the difficulty level involved in that type of move (all the while trying to keep my face straight for the camera). On the trip back I could definitely feel the strain of a good climb in my arms and fingers as I struggled to complete even the simplest of tasks like pulling down the sun visor – much the the amusement of Mark Franks!
All in all the whole afternoon was fantastic! It was great to see three more guys get in to climbing and to see all that it has to offer, not only in terms of the enjoyment you get out of it but also the physical challenges it brings to each climber.