Prior to seeing this film the Kendal Mountain Festival was somewhat littered with macho precedents, so this was a beautiful break. There was no better introduction for me to one of the most self-effacing and talented trad grit climbers in the UK.
The film describes Hazel’s ascent to the top of Peak Gritstone climbing with her peer Emily Harrington and her father, both climbers. She’s now 23 and has a remarkable number of ticks on her list of ascents, with Once Upon a Time in the Southwest amongst them, rendering her the first British woman to climb an E9. Despite this outstanding accolade, Hazel remains both largely unknown to those outside the hardcore climbing community and also remarkably placid in the face of increasing media exposure.
The film is a heartwarming introduction to the nature and core of gritstone climbing and the life of a climber – including the downs and the ups. It documents her ascent of Once upon a Time and really shows what it takes to climb that hard in terms of determination and commitment. The thing I loved most that she is so strong and just goes out there and climbs amazingly difficult routes, but there is no song and dance. She works hard at it and doesn’t give up. Her dad also calls her Hammie on screen, which is quite endearing.
Her blog is honest, articulate and funny:
You can see her here: Hazel talks about UK trad climbing – Hotaches Productions
Hope you thoroughly enjoy it.
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