Glacier Climbing: Notebook

The premise of the series was to take a women from the east coast, with basic camping and outdoor skills. Bring her to some of the most remote locations in Alaska to experience and learn new and challenging outdoor skills, at the same time film her as she was learning these skills. Sounds fairly easy but like most things in life reality was quite different than the original idea.

For one thing our cameraman, and co-owner of IEBA Productions, had to learn these ice climbing skills at the same time. Not only did he have to learn these skills at the same time as our host, but he would also have to mix these skills with his background as a videographer in order to record her ascent. In essence, in the glacier climbing episode, he would have to climb the glacier first, then position himself to be able to video the host as she climbed the same wall of ice.

In the photo below you will note our host has a belay, a rope anchored at the top of the ice wall, and a spotter who controls the belay to insure the host does not fall down the wall if she slips. Whereas the cameraman has no belay.

We managed a bit of luck for the glacier climbing episode. We had contracted with Copper Oar Outfitters for the river rafting project. I had mentioned we were also doing a glacier climbing program and he was friends with the owner of St Elias Alpine guides. He made arrangements with St Elias to spend a day on the ice with them. So our glacier climbing video was shot in two locations giving us a much more varied backdrop for this episode.

As usual during our series the host begins with a short piece describing what she expected during the adventure. Our cameraman’s biggest problem was which of the striking backgrounds to shoot the host in front of. Here the mountains of the Wrangell St Elias National Park surround our host.

I think I should have been filming him instead of watching Anthony hang off the side of the glacier or even laying flat to get a steadier shot of the host as she ascended the ice wall. There were times when I thought there was no way he would capture the shot, but true professional that he is, he nailed it every time.

I know glacier climbing is not something most people have any desire to try. But some of the footage of the glaciers in this episode is unforgettable, and I think you will enjoy watching our host summit her first wall of ice.