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Climbers Soloing Big Ice Climbs in the 1980s

This is one of the most classic ice climbing videos from the 1980s. It shows Mark Twight and Randy Rackliff in the Rockies during a cold winter

Mark Twight and Randy Rackliff climbing in the Canadian Rockies back in February 1988. These two were among the best in the world at the time.

While working at the brand Wild Things, Twight learned his way around the video camera and editing gear. His first film was of  paragliding, of which he said, “The sport was quite fresh at the time and we recorded some fairly entertaining and harmless accidents.” Legendary American ice climber John Bouchard loaned Twight his VHS camera in 1988 and he brought it to Canada.

“Randy and I recorded each other soloing a few different ice routes,” said Twight. “I don’t know where the raw footage is otherwise I might re-master it but as it is the clip is a truthful record of a particular era. This trip is documented by a single paragraph in the chapter titled ‘I Hurt Therefore I Am’ in my book Kiss or Kill.”

In 2020, we talked to Twight about his new book Refuge and asked him about climbing the 900-metre Slipstream WI4. He told us, “You currently hold the speed record for Slipstream, did you think it would stand the test of time? At the time of that ascent in February 1988, I figured such a record might stand for a few years, especially in light of the speed trip most guys were on in the Alps at the time. Now, in some ways, I wish I hadn’t put the stopwatch on things to the extent that I did. It was driven by ego, which is a useful tool, don’t get me wrong, and a way to communicate competence but unnecessary in the larger scheme of living and dying.” Full interview here.

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