Wie man die perfekte Kletterpartnerin findet

Filmemacherin und Alpinistin Jessie Leong vom  #TeamMontane spricht über ihren neuesten Film, ‘Perfect Partners’, der von enger Freundschaft in Fels und Eis handelt. 

Im Rahmen unserer Veranstaltungen am Internationalen Frauentag am 08.März, zeigen wir erstmals Jessie Leong’s Film Perfect Partners um 19 Uhr auf YouTube und Facebook. Zuvor haben wir uns mit der Filmemacherin über die Entstehung ihres neuesten Films unterhalten und was die Zuschauer erwartet...

'Perfect Partners' ist ein Film über die Bedeutung von Vertrauen und Verbundenheit in Beziehungen, die durch das Klettern entstehen. Er verwebt allgemeine Themen wie Identität und Familienbeziehungen mit einer abenteuerlichen und herausfordernden Umgebung. 

Letztendlich geht es um die sich entwickelnde Freundschaft zwischen Ula Stopka Farooqui und Kasia Piatek, zwei in Großbritannien lebende Klettererinnen polnischer Herkunft, die im Laufe ihres Lebens sowohl beim Klettern als auch in ihrer Beziehung eine gemeinsame Ebene gefunden haben.

Für mich ist 'Perfect Partners' ein Aufruf zum Handeln für die Zuschauerinnen, denen es vielleicht ähnlich geht und die andere Frauen treffen wollen, die ähnliche Dinge tun wollen. Dazu gehört auch Eisklettern, Eisschrauben zu setzen, rauszugehen und das Beste aus dem Winter zu machen. Der Film zeigt auch, wie eine erfolgreiche Seilschaft aussehen kann. Je mehr ich über die beiden Sportlerinnen Kasia Piatek und Ula Stopka-Farooqui erfuhr, desto mehr merkte ich, wie gut sie zusammenpassen und miteinander verbunden sind.

Der Film begleitet Kasia und Ula vom Trockentraining im Peak District über die Expeditionsplanung in der Alpine Club Library in London bis hin zum Eisklettern im bitterkalten Rjukan in Norwegen und in Sikkim im Himalaya in Indien. 

Ice climbing in norway

Why do you feel passionate about sharing this story?

Perfect Partners mentions imposter syndrome and a particular quote that Kasia says in the film really stands out to me: ‘It’s a very Polish thing to want to do better, to work harder.’ I think this is a sentiment that anyone can relate to, who is not the ‘typical’ outdoor representation often portrayed in the industry.

As a person with British Chinese heritage, I fully understand the sense of not fitting into the outdoor stereotype. In the process of making Perfect Partners, I have also had my own doubts in myself. I often battle with feelings of not being good enough, or that you have to work ten times harder to prove you deserve to be there. Leaning into this, and acknowledging that imposter syndrome is something that is prevalent in alpine climbing, and in broader life experiences, is the essence of what makes these characters so relatable.Jessie leong climbing in Norway

How did you approach filming Perfect Partners? 

Initially, I wanted to make Perfect Partners over a short length of time, but as the project progressed, it turned into a much bigger story that culminated in Kasia and Ula’s successful expedition to the Himalayas to climb an unclimbed peak in October 2023.  

The concept for the film was developed initially with three characters, but as time passed it felt that it was a story that had three distinct chapters - an opening scene featuring a dry tooling sequence, a location shoot in Norway featuring ice climbing and a location shoot at the Alpine Club library in London to frame up the expedition planning sequence.  

The film ended up following the friendship and sisterly kinship between climbers Kasia Piatek and Ula Stopka Farooqui over the course of nine months. During this time they shared with me their insights on the importance of having supportive climbing partnerships, as well as passing on encouragement to others who may not see themselves as ‘expedition climbers’, so that they may plan their own future adventures to lesser-known places.

What Montane gear did you rely on in the Norwegian winter wilds?

I was heavily reliant on my Montane gear to give me protection from the extremely cold weather conditions we faced - the ice was particularly brittle and very hard to kick into. This meant setting up filming sequences at Krokan, Rjukan was very challenging  - especially when hanging around on an ice-screw belay!

I had eight layers on at one point, with the Montane Alpine Phase Waterproof Jacket over the top of my Down Jacket and synthetic Fireball Jacket. I had the Phase Waterproof Trousers over the top of the softshell trousers, so I was warm enough, although trying to not shred the built in gaiters whilst wearing sharp ice-climbing-specific crampons was tricky! The waterproof stopped chunks of ice from melting and seeping in, so it’s an essential piece of equipment in the cold Norwegian days when you’re effectively standing in the shade all day.Ice climbing in Norway

For anyone eager to find their ultimate partner in the mountains, what advice do you have?

To find your perfect partner, go into it with what you’d look for in a relationship - communication, a bit of a spark, and willingness to get the diaries out to work out when you’re free. Having a dialogue and acknowledging strengths and weaknesses quite early on can help with understanding if you know that the other partner brings a certain strength to the fore. 

Likewise, chatting through goals and ambitions eg climbing and travel objectives and how much you’re willing to commit to it is also very helpful!  Finally, a good sense of humour is important - there will be many many moments where being able to hold your objectives loosely, but looking after one another and seeing the positives, is very important.

ice climbing in norway

Watch Perfect Partners 

Catch the film, Perfect Partners at 7 pm on 08 March on YouTube and Facebook. Watch the trailer for a preview of what to expect and save the date!