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EastCoastBastard

High Ice 1980's climbing movie

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I found this movie, in it's entirety, on YouTube.

This is an absolutely terrible "climbing" movie. Bad story, bad acting, bad climbing scenes. But it was filmed in the Cascades (it jumps around a lot, but I'm pretty sure I recognized Johannesburg and a few others).

 

Only watch if you've got NOTHING better to do. High Ice

 

 

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The rigging dept had some famous faces:

From youtube:

 

Camera and Electrical Department

Dale Bard.... rigger

Stan McClain.... assistant camera

Rick Ridgeway.... rigger

 

Other crew:

Jim Bridwell....climber / rigger (as James Bridwell)

Robert Carmichael....mountain sequences filmed by (as Bob Carmichael)

Steel Clayton....aerial coordinator

Allison Clough....climber

Allison Clough....double

Rick Dominy....aerial coordinator

Richard Holley.... pilot: aerial photography sequences (as Rick Holley)

Mike Hoover....mountain sequences filmed by

Beverly Johnson.... climber

Beverly Johnson.... double

Pritchard White.... mountain sequences filmed by

 

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I remember seeing that movie on TV when I was a kid. As a 10 year old I thought it was pretty cool, but even then I still questioned some of the movie's logic. Why would you put all of your climbing gear in a backpack and pass it back and forth? How could one person pull an entire helicopter into a cliff rather than just get pulled off the ledge? How come the old guy had to cut the cord rather then just get pulled up, as the next morning they didn't have any trouble pulling him off the cliff?

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Sure, the plot is awful. But if you're from Washington it's strangely fascinating. The thing I always wondered is whether they actually dropped a flaming helicopter down the east face of Whitehorse Mountain during the filming of this movie. Sure looks like it.

 

Four years after this movie was televised Whitehorse was included in the Boulder River Wilderness. So you couldn't make this movie today. That's another reason why it's so interesting.

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I have wondered the same thing about the helicopter Lowell. Considering there was no CGA or advanced special effects at the time I would think that was the case.

It would be interesting to find out for certain.

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Wow that was a pretty massive toprope whipper in the begining scene.

 

Ha! The only way off the glacier is through the sketchy loose rock wall!

 

This guys' pretty rough on his n00b wife too...

Edited by Rafe1234

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I didn't know there was a prequel to Vertical Limit! I sense a new drinking game coming on.

Please explain the rules of the drinking game. :brew:

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Wow that was a pretty massive toprope whipper in the begining scene.

 

Ha! The only way off the glacier is through the sketchy loose rock wall!

 

This guys' pretty rough on his n00b wife too...

Yeah, he pretty much gets the abusive alpine dick award in those scenes.

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I'll have to check with my peeps in the know, but I am 99% certain that the helo was indeed crashed on Whitehorse. IIRC, it was the cause of no small amount of controversy.

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I'll have to check with my peeps in the know, but I am 99% certain that the helo was indeed crashed on Whitehorse. IIRC, it was the cause of no small amount of controversy.

 

They didn't have the cameras rolling for the first helo crash, so they had to crash a second one...cameras obviously caught that one.

 

From the Everett Herald, Aug. 24 :

 

'High Ice': It may be cheesy, but 1980 TV movie belongs to Darrington

 

North Cascades town celebrates 30th anniversary of filming

 

By Gale Fiege

Herald Writer

 

DARRINGTON — “Below freezing and beyond fear,” the movie trailer begins. “North America's last great wilderness. Whitehorse Mountain, the ultimate challenge for every climber who dares.

 

“A towering adventure filmed on a killer mountain,” the narrator continues. “A reflection of true events and real people. Eleven men and women were killed or injured on these mountains during the months it took to make this film.”

 

“High Ice” was an NBC-TV movie of the week in February 1980 viewed by an estimated 25 million people. Later it circulated in theaters internationally with the addition of nude love scenes that had been edited out of the made-for-TV version.

 

During the filming in the summer of 1979, “High Ice” gave the small town of Darrington its most enduring brush with Hollywood. Thirty years later, the community will celebrate with a special event Saturday that includes two showings of the movie.

 

The “High Ice” story involves a forest ranger played by actor David Janssen who clashes with an Army officer played by Tony Musante over how to handle a search-and-rescue operation to save three hysterical rock climbers stranded after an avalanche pins them on a ledge high up on a mountain in the Cascade Range.

 

In reality, 6,852-foot Whitehorse is popular with climbers and on the most-traveled route requires little more than routine mountaineering skills and equipment.

 

For Janssen, perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Richard Kimble in the TV series “The Fugitive,” it was his final movie. He died at age 48 about the time “High Ice” was broadcast.

 

Having been born in a small Nebraska town, Janssen bonded well with the people of Darrington. He graciously posed for photos, gave lots of hugs to the ladies and signed many autographs. He even took time to pose for a drawing by Pete Selvig, who still lives in Darrington and served as the film's technical adviser from the U.S. Forest Service.

 

The glaciers on Whitehorse and White Chuck mountains, where most of the outdoor action scenes were filmed, have retreated some. Selvig's memory of that summer, though, is fresh.

 

Selvig, who was 36 that summer, made sure everyone worked in compliance with wilderness regulations, frequently had fire crews standing by and got the movie company to clean up the mess on Whitehorse when crews were done blowing up helicopters on the side of the peak.

 

Despite what the trailer claims, “Nobody died and everyone had a lot of fun. With the current federal regulations, you couldn't do today what they did back then,” Selvig said. “The community really opened itself up to the cast and crew, who were very congenial. Whatever they wanted, we tried to get it for them.”

 

Darrington's community center doubled as the Whitehorse Mountain Lodge, and the gym inside became a sound stage for some of the movie's close-up shots. Townspeople often watched quietly from the bleachers.

 

According to an Aug. 20, 1979, article in Time magazine, the film cost about $2 million to make.

 

Much of that was spent for the use of Army helicopters and the two Vietnam-era Huey helicopter bodies that were blown up. During the first explosion, the cameras weren't rolling, Selvig said, but they got it right the second time.

 

“Sometimes we would go down to the movie theater in Arlington to watch the dailies, the film from that day,” he said. “It was interesting how they pulled it all together.”

 

Former child movie actor Zack Lewis played Janssen's grandson in the movie. Now a Web designer and marketing expert, Lewis lives in Everett. He was 5 years old when chosen to play the role at an audition in Seattle.

 

“I'm not nearly as cute or precocious as I was then,” Lewis said. “I remember picking my nose and eating it on camera. Watch close. It's in the movie.”

 

The “High Ice” writer-producer-director team of Eugene and Natalie Jones recently wrote to historical society president and event organizer Leah Tyson to send their regrets about being unable to attend. Now in their mid-80s, the Joneses told Tyson they have good memories of Darrington.

 

Kristi Reece, 20 that summer, worked for the Forest Service and still does. She was asked to be a stunt double for one of the actresses in a scene where the character dives into the river.

 

“Clay Bank is a swimming hole well known to the locals,” Reece said. “They got me in costume, did my hair and makeup and I made the dive. That was it. One take. It was exciting, and made me feel like a real movie star.”

 

Vivian Tollenaar was 51 in 1979 and known as the best school cook ever, famous for her chili and cinnamon rolls. She was hired to provide lunch for cast and crew. The required menu included veggies and gazpacho. No sweets.

 

One day her friend Julia Bowman Haga brought over a special yellow cake, complete with cream cheese, Cool Whip, vanilla pudding and bananas.

 

“It was like flies to honey,” Tollenaar said. “It was gone in a few minutes.”

 

Joyce Jones, now Darrington's mayor, was out of town during much of the filming that summer.

 

“When I returned, I went to pick up my mail. On the way home, I realized I was behind David Janssen walking down the street,” Jones said with a laugh. “You have not lived until you have seen David Janssen in a pair of tight jeans.”

 

Neighbor Janet Cabe had a walk-on part in the movie. The Cabe house, directly across the street from the community center, became a popular hangout for townspeople and crew members. The film's special effects manager Teddy Mossman ate with the Cabes almost daily and frequently bought big steaks to keep the Cabes' black Labrador quiet during filming.

 

“One friend said to me, ‘I'd like to be your dog.' The movie folks were all such nice people,” Cabe said.

 

Now a grandmother, Lena West Wright in 1979 was a 23-year-old mother of a toddler when the directors asked if she would don a wig to play the part of a Forest Service secretary.

 

“I was at the gym watching. The Forest Service girl who had the part had to go out on a fire. They offered me $20 a day to step in, so I said sure,” Wright remembers. “It was great, a lot of fun. I think I worked about five days during a two-week period.”

 

When she gets off work at Darrington Hardware on Saturday, Wright and her family plan to join the crowd at the grange to watch the evening showing of the movie.

 

“I only watched it a couple times when I was younger. I always thought I'd get a copy, but I never did,” she said. “I'm excited to see it again and look at the memorabilia. The filming of ‘High Ice' was wonderful time for Darrington.”

 

 

 

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Wow , such a great thread developing here. Fascinating history lesson!

It was a very impressive movie to me as a lad. Scared me right into the sport. I tried to stay up late one night a few years ago to watch it, but it was just awful to me that evening.

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That movie is great. Seems like a really bad mix of the Eiger Sanction and Cliffhanger... One of the funnier movies I have seen lately.

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I saw the article in the paper the week the town Darrington celebrated the 30 year anniversary a couple months ago. So a few of us drove over there and joined the town in watching the film in the local Grange Hall. Free brownies and juice for all while we watched along with several of the extras from the film who came to the event. They had a bunch of photos and other memorabilia on display from the making of the movie. There was even an "Intermission" while they fast-forwarded past the nude love scene to spare the young eyes in the audience.

 

John

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