A DARK PILE OF WOODLAND SCUM
THE VIDEOGRAPHER’S PERSPECTIVE
When I first stood under ‘Betom’, I was surprised, though differently to how someone might be surprised when they stand under something like El Capitan. In fact, it felt like the complete opposite: “I’m sorry, am I really supposed to film this dark pile of woodland scum and make it look interesting?” I said to myself.
The route is located on the ‘Brothel’, which by Elbe Valley standards is a tiny woodland mini-crag. Even the anchor sits below the treeline and the crag is more reminiscent of the German Frankenjura district, which is also hard to film and photograph, because it’s dark and the trees prevent any long-distance shots.
Another issue was Mišo’s climbing style. He is so fluid and elegant in his movement that it doesn’t at all appear as though he’s climbing something completely desperate. His moves were accurate, precise, and quiet, which makes it impossible for someone to comprehend how difficult the route is, unless they try the first couple of moves.
Initially Lukáš Černý came to help with the shooting, and then I filmed alone three times. I had a viewpoint on a nearby tree where the smoke from Mišo incense stick rose. The peace was once disturbed by a rowdy pair, but Mišo wasn’t planning on having his zen-state compromised and said: “Lads, I’m going to have to ask for total silence.”
The majority of Mišo’s attempts ended in the same place around the ominously named ‘turtle-shell hold’. We weren’t able to film Mišo sending it in the end. Out of nowhere one day, he called us on a misty November day and said: “It’s solved!”.
Even though I had filmed there four times, I was a bit unsure about the footage, but ultimately Kuba Freiwald our in-house editor, dealt with it. He created a film that is about loving the process, not the result. Compared to our other older films, in the end, we made something that isn’t particularly visually stunning, but tells a story of exceptional will and focus, which can be inspiring for anyone, not just climbers.
Mišo probably spent around 30 climbing days in the route while attempting his red-point in 2021 and essentially kept falling from the very same place. Despite this he never lost his good spirits and his belief that one day, he’d send it. What more is there to say? A famous Czech climber’s quote seems apt: “Focus is like a laser. The more concentrated the beam, the stronger it is and therefore the greater the chance that you’ll burn through something.”