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Field Journal



The whirr of the incoming missile grew louder. I was on a port-a-ledge 200 metres up the northwest face of the Mirror Wall, a 1,200 metre monolith that towers above the Edward Bailey Glacier in northeastern Greenland. We were spread out in a hanging camp, my partners Joe Mohle, Matt Pickles, Waldo Etherington, and Matt Pycroft inside the nylon cocoons of fly sheets, while I lay outside. Exposed.

Alone in a majestic but hostile wilderness, the severity of the landscape was thinly veiled by the temperate conditions that had greeted our arrival. Our mission, strategically simple but tactically complex, was to climb the Mirror Wall in the best style we could, capture the story to the highest standard we were able, and return home safely. – Leo Houlding

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The need for adventure and a changing horizon is a natural instinct for many people. In the case of renowned adventurer Leo Houlding, this has manifested itself in the form of completing world class expeditions with tight-knit teams to unclimbed peaks around the world. ‘Mirror Wall’, a new film from Coldhouse Collective, is a story that delves into the psyche of a man who has dedicated his life to adventure.

Following the death of his long term climbing partner Sean ‘Stanley’ Leary and birth of his daughter Freya – ‘Mirror Wall’ finds Leo approaching his latest expedition with a reconsidered mentality and a completely new team.

With the responsibility of achieving his own goals, mentoring his talented but inexperienced companions and coming home safely to his family, this big wall adventure film challenges the tallest known face on the east coast of Greenland, while providing moments for reflection 1200m off the ground.

For all my questioning of high risk escapades in pursuit of fun I had over looked the proverbial ‘getting hit by a bus tomorrow’ and come as close as I ever have to not seeing my daughter grow up. I found this completely random near-disaster strangely comforting, reigniting my drive to seek real adventure albeit with perhaps a greater margin of security then before. – Leo Houlding

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Mirror Wall will make its global premiere headlining the opening night of Banff Mountain Film Festival on the 29th October 2016. The UK premiere is screening at Kendal Mountain Film Festival on the 18th November 2016, when it will also go live and free-to-view-online at

Also, Leo’s story from the expedition Reflections is featured in Sidetracked Volume Seven.

Photography by Matt Pycroft / Coldhouse Collective.




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