As I sat catching up on videos this morning, it occurred to me that I hadn't yet checked out Shawn Seifert's latest, Yosemite Survival Guide. After putting out some beautiful footage from Virgin Gorda, as well as the first Hueco video that really made me want to go to Hueco, I was looking forward to seeing how he had managed to capture a place that I had been to and loved. Even after spending most of this summer traveling and seeing some truly amazing places, Yosemite remains the most memorable climbing trip I've ever been on. World class climbing with great friends, plenty of good food and beer, and to make things even sweeter a photo that won my friend Luke Anderson the 2011 Mammut photo contest in Rock and Ice.
From what I remember of the bouldering, Shawn nailed it. Although I hear a lot of complaints recently about climbing videos having too much talking and too little climbing, I thought Shawn managed to find a good balance, with what talking he did being completely relevant to the point of the film. There's a reason that the title was not "Shawn goes out and sends a bunch of hard classics and conveniently cuts out any footage of him falling, except to build up a bit of drama before he launches a mutant dyno past the crux section." Yosemite bouldering is hard. Shawn's advice about leaving egos at home, really applicable on any climbing trip, is that much more important in Yosemite. When we were there, our focus was mainly on routes, with bouldering being nothing more than a way to kill time in the mornings and evenings. Had it been the entire purpose for our trip, I'm pretty sure at least half of us would have immediately returned home to sell our gear in embarrassment. The humbling nature of these boulders becomes even more impressive in light of the history that Shawn also points out... that decades ago a group of people way more badass than we'll ever be were cruising up them without half of the gear advantages we now have.
Looking at the editing, Shawn gets better with every video he puts out. While I admit I was initially thrown by the short "pre-Yosemite" section, it was cool to see a few problems from an area I wasn't familiar with. For the rest of the video, I enjoyed the variety of angles, the relatively smooth cropping of longer sequences, and all of the little shots that help put the boulders into a larger context.
Can't wait to see what his future travels bring, and especially looking forward to seeing him put his talents to use on local rock!