Usually in climbing, the crux move and the fiddly, difficult, exciting or scary-to-do bits come before the fall.
Not for Steve Wakeford.
Steve took a 75m fall on the Petit Jorasses, severely injuring himself ( read smashed shoulder, muscle torn from bone, severely broken leg and much much more..ed.) was airlifted off the mountain and ended up for a time in a wheel chair facing a long road to even walk again… let alone climb again.
But that’s where the journey began, not ended.
I’m keeping this post deliberately short as really you need to sit down and do your life a favour by watching the film he (and his now partner Menna Pricthard) crafted to chart his journey since that fall, exploring all our motivations, ego’s and sometime selfishness that create the unrelenting draw back to the mountains.
This post is also a bit sneaky because I could have gone off and asked Steve or Menna for an interview but well, I’m sure you all read enough press interviews – this instead is my view on it.
This film is unique in what can become an over saturated market of “adventure” film.
Yes it features some classic mountain shots, climbing sections, personal interviews about the mountains, clever footage of gear and crampons but what’s unique is that its the first open, emotional and honest story I’ve seen that includes all of the above plus the exploration with psychologists, climbing/mountain legends (such as Chris Bonnington, Andy Parkin, Steve House) and others surrounding Steve but mostly because it totally and utterly exposes Steve as a human being , with all its frailty as he opens up his whole life to the camera – his doubts, his mistakes, his ego and his life journey from party boy in London to now dad of 2 two in Chamonix (all the while the pull of the mountains tugging at him).
For me as I watched it, the journey in life echos the climbs.. the plans (or lack of), the decisions that need to be made, the sacrifices, the mistakes, the difficult but essential moves and the triumphs that can come from unexpected places.
All the while it tries to answer, “what makes Mountains so magnetic that after a near fatal fall someone would return to try again?”
You can watch a candid Interview with Steve here on Vimeo
Already its winning awards around the festival circuit and audiences at Kendal were overwhelmed by it.
I have the real pleasure of knowing and climbing (The Monch in May) with Steve, I’ve known Menna for a while (initially via social media and latterly trips to Chamonix) and I’ve watched them both raise the amazing little pocket rocket that is Ffion over the last couple of year (and what a bloody brilliant job they’ve done!). And its for these reasons I knew this film would be something special. And it is. Very!
This film is truly worth your while. Hope you enjoy it as much as we all did, let me know in the comments. And why let Steve know via twitter @officialwako
Magnetic Mountains is available on Vimeo click here
Full disclosure both my wife and I backed this film via Kickstarter. We don’t receive any funds from its sale of course and but both backed as we simply believed so much in it, support Steve and Menna 100% and knew it would be an awesome film.