A new video showcases a rock climbing couple from Castlegar, British Columbia, who have overcome some of life’s hardest challenges and are now stronger than ever.

Rock climbing is once again in the news these days in Castlegar, British Columbia, with a non-profit organization hoping to purchase the private property that the popular Waterline Walls are located on. (See our story “Waterline Walls Campaign Underway.“) So it’s only fitting that filmmaker Carlo Alcos has completed a short video about a prominent climbing couple from the area who regularly climb at Waterline. The duo have overcome some of the hardest challenges humans can endure in this lifetime and they tell their stories of how they came to be stronger in their relationship and in themselves.

Called “Crux – A Story Of Love and Life’s Battles,” the movie showcases David Bristow and Anni Muhlegg, a couple who met while rock climbing in the West Kootenays. They’ve been together for decades and have overcome huge challenges in their lives: David broke his back in a rock climbing fall in 2000 and Anni was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. Watch below to learn about their entire story and read our Q&A with Carlo to discover why he decided to feature the pair.


Hey Carlo, first off tell us how you met Dave and Anni?

I was looking for climbers to shoot photos or video of to get practice shooting from a rope, so I posted a general callout to a Facebook climbing group. David was one person who responded and told me about his climbing accident in 2000. We met at Waterline in Castlegar to climb and talk and for me to shoot some photos. He brought Anni with him.

What made you decide to do a video about their story?

I was planning on doing a quick video about David and his accident, but when I learned about Anni’s journey – going through breast cancer and recovery – and the fact that they met through climbing and that it’s been a big part of their relationship for almost 20 years, I knew the story had to include all of that. I was envisioning a story about their love and support of each other as they each went through a major life challenge, and with climbing underpinning all of it.

Filmmaker and Nelson, BC, resident Carlo Alcos.

How long have you been working in the video medium?

I’ve been editing video professionally for about two years. I’ve always loved photography and got into video more seriously about three years ago, but have mostly just shot little personal projects.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Composing the music. I wanted this film to be 100 percent mine so decided I would also produce all the music myself. (Not counting Anni playing the piano and flute in the film.) I’ve written lots of songs on guitar…your basic folk songs, but hadn’t done much in terms of trying to create music to support film. It makes you really think about the emotion/feeling you want the viewer to have at any moment, and then try to figure out how to evoke that with music. I don’t have a strong background in music theory so it was more going with intuition. Trying to create something subtle that doesn’t stand out, yet makes the viewer feel something…that’s hard. If you feel moved by a film and don’t even notice the music, I think that’s well done. I had a bit of mentorship/feedback from my friend Robert Neufeld, a local professional film composer, so that was very helpful! (To read our interview with Robert, visit “Nelson’s Best Landscape Photographer.“)

What did you learn from the project?

My intention when I started this was to use this project as a learning tool. So I learned a ton about different aspects of the process, particularly because I did everything myself. So that included things like colour grading, sound design, music composition…and of course learning how to use all the tools needed to do those things (like Logic Pro). I also learned I probably shouldn’t have switched lenses halfway through. Trying to match footage from three different cameras and different lenses with very different characteristics is really hard!

What’s next?

Good question! My day job is as a video editor for the digital travel publication Matador Network. I’m looking to get on more film projects and hopefully collaborate with some local filmmakers in Nelson. There’s so much talent in this town!