Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Review - Midwest Unknown.

So I don't do many reviews anymore cause, really, I normally don't care enough. A couple of you asked me to do this one and Ian was nice enough to give me a copy so here's my honest take. I want Ian's videos to be even better going forward so this is my true take on the video.

Bottom Line - If you're from the Midwest, go here and buy of copy of Midwest Unknown. It's well worth the 10 bucks you'll spend and you can glean lots of beta from a bunch of different problems encompassing Devil's Lake, Rattlesnake Mound, Taylors Falls and Governor Dodge. You also get the added bonus of seeing climbers you know climbing on problems you want to do.

The Good - My favorite parts of the video were by far seeing local climbers on the true classic problems at the lake. In no particular order:

Aaron on Smooth Operator - AWESOME. Love seeing someone who can climb 8's with relative ease have to try hard on a classic old school V4 with a terrifying problem. One of my personal favorites and a great moment from the spring.

Katie on Anchorpoint 2.0 - Knowing the history of that problem with Katie and knowing that it broke, making the topout even harder and reachier for her made this one fun personally.

Chris on Keymaker - I was truly heartbroken when I realized that my camera hadn't worked when Chris did Keymaker so it was especially nice to see that one on here. Chris had, in my eyes, the highlight of the year so far for doing The Keymaker and it was great seeing it and reliving it once more. Personally I wish that this was the ending problem of the video as it meant a lot to Chris that he finished it off this spring.

Remo on Sex And Chocolate - Just awesome. Whenever anyone thinks of this problem they'll think of Remo even if they decide not to go to the top. It's really, truly his problem.

Nic on Alpine Club - Really nice seeing this on video as Nic demystified this problem for a lot of people when he came through and did it in a couple days quite easily. I also enjoy seeing this wall with only one line on it and being reminded of what attracted me to the problem initially.

Ian on Tunder Tighs - Very glad to see this one on there as its turned into a neo-classic and is a must do for the grade. Absolute classic.

Remo on Slope of Dadaism - HE DOES THE CRAWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How can you not love that?????

Cory on The Godfather - Cool seeing one of the lesser known climbers get that one done.

Ian on Perfect Medium - Nice to see this one on video. In reality it really is a cool line with mostly nice holds and one of the coolest slopers at the lake.

Katie on Hangman - I was really sad that I missed out on seeing her do this problem in person. I've been up there with her maybe 10-15 times over the last two years and the one time I can't go she does it. That's one of the things I've missed the most this summer is seeing her work and finish off projects.

Ian on Chaos - A sick problem and I was glad to see it in the video. Even if he does take a left exit on it. Looks like it may be a more logical/easier exit too. I know I sure didn't see it when I was working it and fell of MANY times bumping to the final edge in the crack. Sweaty?

Ian on Flatiron - Just a cool classic problem and one that needed to be on there.

The Not So Good - So reviews that are glowing and never say anything negative always kinda tear at me. Nothing is perfect so get over it and offer some constructive criticisms. Ian, don't hate me.

1 - The Up-rates - I know ratings don't matter that much and that we need to find our inner peace to truly find out why we do what we do but I HAVE to give Ian shit for upgrading problems.

Bulbous, Massive Vertigo, Perfect Medium, So Dope, Like A Boss, Battleship, Tunder Tighs and Chaos all either got an added rating, slash grade or a friendly little '+' after them. Don't get me wrong, I actually like slash grades. Plusses not so much but whatever. The funny part about a couple of these is that they got uprated from their already confirmed grades.

Bulbous cracked me up the most. I think it's the first time i've ever seen a 9 placed on it and Huston has repeatedly called it a 6. It's always tough, especially with new problems like Battleship and Like a Boss which have each had new beta figured out that significantly changed their difficulty. But with the more classic, standard problems it made me laugh a bit.

2 - The Editing - I think we need to have an intervention with Ian. Who's in? gotta tone down the editing. The overall feel of the video was just too chopped up for my taste and it seemed like different edits were thrown in at random. Use fades on the music to transition things a bit better and pull back on the fast forward button. I watched it for a second time yesterday and was fast forwarding through a bit and when I pushed play again I had to click the button 4-5 times before I realized that the video was just edited that way and was moving faster than normal.

Another thing is the moving camera deal and as a result the Super Slab bit is annoyingly unwatchable. Instead of moving the camera around a bunch find a few other angles to show the problem and movement a bit better. It'll allow you to not use the fast forward as much and will also give the viewer a better feel for the problem.

I'll be very honest and say that I don't watch climbing videos for the ground breaking edits. I watch them for the climbing and that should be the sole focus.

3 - Problem Selection - I think a big majority of the movie was awesome. The problems were great and there were local climbers used whenever possible. That's awesome. Loved those parts. There were however some problems that just didn't fit in. It made me sad that problems like Jenga, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Beautiful Soup, Bark Biter and Group Leader weren't in there while others like So Dope Direct, Battleship, Like A Boss and The Rapture were all included. Knowing that there are so many classic lines that were left out kind of took away from the video for me.

That's about it. Aside from the magical outfits that Sam and Katie were wearing in the Battleship clip(each one of them switched tops multiple times....they're so talented!) the video was really good and as I said above, well worth the ten bucks that he's charging. In reality it's a couple of cups of coffee that will support a local climber putting out videos. Do your duty and download it. If nothing else it'll keep the psych going during the middle of summer.

I look forward to more videos in the future.


  1. For a second there I thought I was seeing Alex Honnold work his way across the Thank God Ledge but then I realized it was just Remo crawling across the relief ledge of Slope of D

  2. Thanks Steve! I like the feedback alot too! Ian

  3. I love that a few Sweaty FA's made the vid (Chaos and Hangman. So happy Katie finally finished that off!) Haven't seen the movie yet but will at some point for sure.

    I am interested to see how he finished the problem. I had a good heal hook with my right so it felt right to keep it and go up right with my right hand (same as you were trying i think steve?). I look forward to seeing how he did it. Sounds like he thought it was hard either way, which is cool.

  4. John KnoernschildAugust 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Gotta agree with Steve on all points. Good review sir. Ian, this video was a good step up from the last video for the southwest. So keep up the good work and keep your hands away from the fast forward button.