So what’s the story behind the name NIAD Productions?
Glad you asked!
NIAD is an acronym for Nose In A Day. The Nose refers to the Nose route of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, a 3,000 foot vertical granite wall and one of the most famous rock climbing routes in the world. Most climbers complete the route in 3-5 days. NIAD refers to those who complete the route in one day without spending the night on the wall. Approximately 600 people have done the NIAD.
How did I, a very average climber come to find myself completing the Nose in a day and why did I name my company after a climb?
I was on a shoot in Yosemite Valley working on a story about rock climbing. As we interviewed some of the world’s top climbers, hearing stories of their adventures on the big walls of El Capitan, I was absolutely riveted and decided that this rock climbing thing was something I needed to try. But one thing, I promised myself as I craned my neck to look up at the towering summit of El Cap, I will never go up there! It seemed unfathomable, impossible, terrifying and way too dangerous.
As luck would have it, a few years later I was working on another television project about Yosemite Valley. My boss, knowing that I had started rock climbing, suggested that perhaps I could climb El Capitan with an experienced climber and produce a story about it. At first, I wrote the suggestion off as pure lunacy. I could never do that! That’s insane! Way too dangerous! But the thought stuck in my head and I was unable to shake it. So I called a climbing friend of mine who introduced me to a man named Hans Florine, who had climbed El Cap more times than anyone and, at the time, held the speed record for climbing The Nose route – an astounding two and a half hours. I called Hans and he agreed to drag me up the route in 3 days. I was thrilled and horrified.
With Han’s guidance, I started a training regimen to learn the skills and gain the fitness necessary for the climb. But after training for a couple of months, the TV station where I worked decided they didn’t want me going up there – too risky. The shoot was off. At this point, I had become obsessed with the idea of climbing El Cap, so I asked Hans if he would take me up anyway. He agreed, but said since there was no television production to slow us down, we should just climb it in a day – NIAD. I hesitantly agreed to this and stepped up my training big time. It took 2 attempts over the course of 2 years, but I finally made it to the top of El Capitan in 16 hours. It was one of the highlights of my life and, for me, El Capitan has forever more become the physical symbol that you truly can do anything you set your mind to. I decided to name my company NIAD to serve as a daily reminder of this.