Silence: The story of the world’s first 9c. If you have not watched it yet, stop whatever you are doing and watch it immediately. This is a film that cannot be missed; it is both brilliant and moving; a rare opportunity for us to share in one of the most important moments in the development of climbing.

Beautifully shot in 4K with breathtaking scenery and incredible climbing action, the film really is good. Only 17 minutes long for those with busy lives and shorty attention spans. I was left with a feeling that I needed to get out there into the wild, and also to try that little bit harder! The message of effort is clear: the more you put in the more you get out… but if you want to climb hard you are going to have to put a lot in!

And Adam has clearly put in a lot. Multiple years, and a focus on just one route takes real dedication. This is not for everyone, in fact it’s not for many people at all! Though the film is all about the journey, from my personal perspective, being one of the few to have spent a long time on one path, I wanted more about the journey. I know what he was going through, but for most viewers they will think ‘Wow, that looks really hard’, but just won’t get the actual ascent at the end is just a tiny bit of the whole journey. There is a sense that he really invested, but I think you have to have been there to understand.

Flatanger is not exactly local, Adam had to pretty much live there. I was impressed by the visualization approaches and how a whole team worked together to make it happen. For the best climber in the world, the hardest route in the world required going the extra mile.

So we have 9c. But if it’s all about the journey, then is it really about the grade? Adam’s journey was epic, but there are many others on a similar path, if not a more difficult path. Their silent journey, un-noticed by the media is as brutal as any other. There is no support team, no financial help. Training and climbing is fitted around full-time jobs and families and normal life. Sacrifices are made and people are broken; some journeys take massive chunks of life and others never reach their destination. And for what? An arbitrary way up a lump of rock with probably an easier way a few meters to the side and a footpath round the back. The question of ‘how’ is hard to answer, but the question of ‘why’ is on a whole other level!

Adam’s journey to Silence really impressed me, but I’m equally as inspired by the silent journeys going on all around me; climbers who give their all to be their best. And their reward is knowing just that: they were the best version of themselves. No big grade, no film, no sponsorship, probably not even a pat on the back.

For me the best part of the film was the words of Iva Vejmolova, Adam’s girlfriend; “He always stays positive…He’s a dreamer and thanks to that he can do everything that comes in to his mind”. I think this is the lesson: dream big and follow it to the end, for that is where you’ll find the greatest reward.

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Adam at Malham trying Rainman in November last year, and doing rather well in just a day!

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