row2k Features
Ergs Don't Fly: The Story of the Mountain Top Rowing Video
February 6, 2019
Ed Moran,

When Jane Erbacher posts her video of erging on a perch at the top of Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, Colorado, to her Instagram, one of the first, and most asked, viewer questions she gets is - "How did you get the erg up there."

Erbacher gets that.

Ergs are heavy and awkward to move around, even if they can be broken down into two parts, and have wheels on the heaviest end. And the video, taken by a drone during a promotion photoshoot for her motivational workout site, gives the impression that it had to be carried up.

Erging on the perch, photo by Mike Thurk
Erging on the perch, photo by Mike Thurk

Being that she likes challenges, Erbacher who is currently running sessions in gyms around the world to teach how to properly use the Concept2 rower and ErgSki, would like to give the answer she knows people want to her - which is that she carried it up there.

But, sorry folks, that isn't the case.

"I laugh all the time when people ask me about this video, " she said. "I get asked about it all the time, and the first question, is how did you get the rower up there, did you carry it? I say, I wished I had, so I could say yes to you right now. But no, I didn't." So then, how?

The story behind the shoot is this: There is a road that leads to the back of the rock face. It goes all the way to the top, all 6,938 feet. And they drove everything they needed up in the back of a truck. The perch is in a little-known spot Erbacher was led to by photographer friend Mike Thurk, who lives in the area and who photographs climbers there.

From the road, Erbacher and her team, including Thurk, and videographer Shane Farmer, carried the erg, and an ErgSki, through a wooded trail down to the ledge and set up the shoot. Erbacher does point out that the fact the equipment was driven up the mountain doesn't mean it was a tiny bit risky.

The erg had to be lowered down to the ledge and then balanced in a way that would allow Erbacher to row on it.

"At the time, I was not thinking of how dangerous it was," she said. "But now, every time I look at that photograph, I think I actually could have died. To get on the rower I had to balance on two rocks, sit on the seat, lift my feet up to row. And if I had shifted my weight badly it could have just rolled straight over.

"We were pretty smart about driving up the mountain, but it's still one of the coolest things I have ever done." That said, the end of the shoot was even more interesting, she said. "When we were done at the top we went down and set on a frozen creek. Which I think is just as interesting because I fell through the ice."

Erbacher and company made the video in December of 2017, but it is getting lots of renewed attention since she re-posted it a few weeks ago, and it was included as a row2k Video of the Day.

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