Under a Sheffield house lies a head high cellar featuring steep plywood and sculpted wooden holds. It is the training venue of Ned Feehally, climber and co-founder of Beastmaker. He is a member of an elite group of climbers to have flashed V14. This is a film about his mindset, motivations and what it takes to be one of the strongest climbers in the world.
Back in October 2017 I had arranged to meet Tom Newman at Mother Cap above Millstone Quarry in the Peak District, he and Ned were planning to try an unclimbed line which was later to become Ned’s highball problem Death Cap. There wasn’t much filming done that day but I did loosely arrange to meet up with Ned again, maybe to capture the ascent when it happened. After this initial meeting and some behind the scenes discussion we eventually planned to do some filming in Ned’s cellar, a previously well kept secret. I had heard stories of the steepness and craftsmanship that had gone into making his board which I can only describe as a minimalist work of art.
We eventually completed the filming over two sessions deciding to pick three problems to show closely. Actually what amazed me about filming Ned wasn’t necessarily the board itself but his ability just to keep on going. Rep after rep of problems which just looked horrendous to me, when asked about difficulty he was very reserved—"somewhere in the eights maybe?"—but we got there in the end. One of the most interesting parts of making the film was doing the interview, we spent two hours on separate occasions chatting about climbing, training, board building, projecting, friendships and philosophy on life. For me it was a significant personal learning experience having this conversation and while I wouldn’t necessarily agree with every sentiment I do very much respect his view point. Keep it neat and minimal, work your weaknesses, don’t blow your own trumpet and let your actions speak for themselves.
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