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Best Forgotten Art
(Doco) A voyage of crack climbing discovery.

Format Video Category Non-Fiction
Title Best Forgotten Art  Mins 20 
Starring Johnny Dawes, John Allen, Joe Brown, Johnny Woodward, Chris Plant, Arthur Dolphin, Airlee Anderson, Ruth Jenkins, Leo Houlding, Boone Speed  RRP  
Director Johnny Dawes  Reviews
Edition 2001?  Ave Rating ***** (4.50 of 5)


User Comments
Best Forgotten Art was critically acclaimed by the UK climbing press as being brilliant. A lot of this acclaim may have come from the fact that it appealed to a large audience, but it is a lot more than that. It is not a film about cutting-edge ascents, hard boulder problems, or grunge music. What it is is a very well made film about the history of a certain type of climbing - that being gritstone cracks.

With that in mind, this is (for anyone that likes crack climbing of any type) a very important film - and equally entertaining. The film's director (Johnny Dawes) is undeniably one of the best climbers of his generation, and knows his subject matter well. Anyone not familiar with Dawes' talent should first get a preview of the original cult-classic - 'Stone Monkey' - if they are in any doubt.

In this film however viewers are treated to all types of crack widths, ranging from seams (the 'holdless' Green Death Direct Start), splitters (London Wall) to Rays Roof (offwidth). Historically the film really shines - even showing how the original ascents of things like Promontory Traverse (E2/21) were protected in the day (lassoed spikes etc). As stated, it's worth watching even for the amazing technique of Dawes himself - particularly his double-handed dyno into a double-fist jam, as well as his solo of an HVS (19) covered in snow. The (at the time) unrepeated Zippy's Traverse (V9) is particularly gruesome if you are not a fan of jamming!

The finale shows Dawes joined by the incredibly talented team of Chris Plant, Rich Heap, Johnny Woodward and Boone Speed, and their efforts at repeating American Ray Jardine's (the inventor of Friends) offwidth roof crack 'Ray's Roof' - which he gave E4 - (or well protected 23/24). Given that most of the climbers featured had climbed French 8c (33) by the time the film was made, you are sort of left thinking that this could be a bit of a sandbag!

In summary - a great film.
Quite good. Like an earlier version of Hard Grit. 

Further Reading:
Planet Fear - A review


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