Last July, I got an email from Joel Wolpert about filming me on some of the mountains I was running up at the time. I'd first met Joel in November 2010, when he contacted me about making a short film for Running Times about running in the winter.
Our subsequent actual face-to-face meeting was quite odd. I was out for a typical jog up Green Mountain when I came upon Joel about halfway up the hill, at the junction of the Saddle Rock and Greenman trails. He was wearing a plaid shirt, a blaze orange trucker's hat, and had a camera tripod slung over one shoulder, which---given the rest of his outfit---from 100 yards out I thought might actually be a rifle. He introduced himself, though---"I thought I might find you up here"---and after doing some filming with him the next day and seeing the final result, I was impressed with what he could do with just a camera, a tripod, a rented steadi-cam, and his running fitness (even with low-altitude, West Virginia lungs).
So, when he called me up in July, I was happy to work with him again, knowing that he had the vision and ability to produce something beyond the standard mountain porn. What sets Joel apart---and what I think will be apparent in the final product---is his impressive commitment to the craft. Eventually, Joel was able to russle up some backers---including support from my personal sponsors, Ultimate Direction and New Balance---but before any of that happened, Joel simply packed up his aging Subaru wagon in mid-August and sight unseen drove half-way across the country to meet up with me in Leadville for the 100 mile race.
Post-Leadville 100, we spent virtually every day of the next month together, each of us living out of our respective vehicles as I bounced back and forth between Boulder and the state's high mountain ranges, chasing as many summits and scrambles as I could before the weather turned and I had to fly off to Spain for a race. A family man, Joel committed to my itinerant summer lifestyle of 14er summits, mountain stream baths, Flatiron scrambles, trailhead sleeping, and coffeeshop internet-snaking. Don't worry, it's not as romantic as it might sound to some, but it does let me see a lot of mountaintops.
Lots of people can wield a camera, a few more can work some magic in the editing room. Not very many possess those skills while also being able to keep up on pre-dawn 14er missions and 5th Class scrambles with a 1000'+ of exposure, clinging ropeless to the rock with one hand and pointing the camera with the other. And then keep it up for a month, also dealing with my at-times obsessive and uncompromising personality. Without getting paid.
Obviously, I have a bias, but I'm excited to see what Joel comes up with this time around.