25 years ago, in 1996, I teamed up with my friend and climbing partner Jerry Moffatt and film maker Simon Tucker, to make the first feature length bouldering movie The Real Thing. At the time I was 30 years old and a professional climber, and had been climbing full-time since leaving school at 16. The sport of rock climbing had seen massive changes in that time and the changes weren’t about to stop any time soon. One of the biggest changes that was about to happen was that bouldering would become an end in itself and that 100s of 1000s of people would only boulder, and that a large majority of these would only boulder indoors in huge, purpose-built bouldering gyms all over the world. At the time that we made The Real Thing both Jerry and I had been bouldering extensively both indoors and outdoors, home and away, for many years, but it was mainly as a form of training for sport climbing. We both loved climbing and had pretty much dedicated our lives to it, and we wanted to make a film that conveyed what made climbing so special to us. Climbing, for me, is far more than just a sport and we both felt that bouldering was climbing distilled. We felt that a film about a road trip to Fontainebleau, the Mecca of bouldering, would be the perfect vehicle to convey what we felt was so special about climbing.
The Real Thing 25 years on is a short documentary that looks back at the making of the original bouldering movie. I hope you enjoy both films.