“Fall Line”: Cliffhanger on skiis, with Shea as Stallone


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Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 9, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
Getting psyched for some sliding as the snow is falling in the mountains a bit, finally. I was noodling around on the internet, looking for the Bob Carmichael short film “Fall Line” that was made in 1978, featuring Steve Shea taking a long fall while descending a Teton couloir.

I haven’t seen the film since it came out, but I seem to recall Dave Breashears telling me he was a camera man on it, which was the start of his film career. Ski historian Lou Dawson says it was the first American film to feature steep skiing, well ahead the popular ski films that followed in the 1980s.

All I could find was this trailer, which has some fun climbing scenes in it, including a Tyrolean with skiis that would not have been out of place in Cliffhanger. Steve, it would be great to hear some tales from the making of the film. Must be some others on ST who were involved in it as well.


Also, does anyone know where to get a copy of the film?

Dec 9, 2012 - 02:25pm PT
Single oval biner on the tyrolean, hmm.
Ripping skiing on 1978 equipment.

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Dec 9, 2012 - 02:54pm PT
that guy has an arm throwing the tyrolean loop a hundred feet :0
steve shea

Dec 9, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
Rick did you have to bring this up again? I thought/hoped this had faded into well deserved obscurity. BTW I just got home from skiing this am at the Big One, Jackson Hole. In 35yrs of skiing here this is one of the best openings ever! top to bottom wall to wall. Don't know about ob yet. Huge slide on Cody Bowl, perhaps eight foot crown wall! December at JH, cold dry snow, no one, I mean no one here! It's been great. Greg Lowe, David Breashears, Larry Bruce, Bob C. and me. That was the film crew. I have LOTS of tales to tell about this film. They would best be told over some cold ones at the Moose apres glise. When you come up I'll show you the film. I do have an original 16mm print that hasn't seen the light of day since about 1980. It was a lot of work and fun looking back on it. Breashears and I got a lot of climbing in between film days. Got on some mixed and ice that had not seen a tool, really good stuff. May early June is the best time here for Alpine climbing. We got very fit. No helicopters. All human power for camera positions. We figured we gained and descended hundreds of thousands of vertical over the time we were there. Exum let us use the hut on the Lower Saddle. I think Greg is now prospecting for gold, David is probably saddling up for another trip to the big E, Bob is still filming, Larry is retired with his wife Molly Higgins in MT. and I'm still playing in JH.

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Dec 9, 2012 - 03:09pm PT

Did you have any permanent damage to your cornea from having ice crystals forced under your eyelids in the couloir fall on the Grand?
steve shea

Dec 9, 2012 - 03:25pm PT
I was more concerned about my Vuarnets than my eyelids. How I survived that I'll never know. We immediately went to Dornans to get tuned up for the Moose that night. That gully is actually on the north side of Middle. I skied it successfully earlier but they wanted more, I got tired, it was late in the day and broke through the edge of the moat as the snow softened more than I thought. That is all it took, I pitched off about 300 metres. I used Rossignol 207cm race room slalom skis, Salomon 555 bindings and Nordica Grand Prix race boots. That stuff was great when it was bullet proof, not so much when soft!

Dec 9, 2012 - 06:13pm PT
WTF man

Way homo, the dude is making turns.

Real men tuck it straight down to break the speed records .....

Trad climber
Dec 9, 2012 - 06:38pm PT
Hey Steve,

That film was fun to watch. Give me a call when your out this way again.

Best Steve A.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2012 - 07:01pm PT
You're killing me Steve. 20 inches of ersatz, unnatural snow at the resorts here and not worth the drive. I hope to take you up on the offer and look forward to hearing the story at the Moose during the new year.

I only saw the film once, and I never forgot it. Too bad it's apparently not available.

207s: big skis for big lines!
tom Carter

Social climber
Dec 9, 2012 - 09:54pm PT
Here's to you straight-arming those rock bands and making it!!!

Love and Angulation!

Trad climber
Jan 2, 2019 - 11:15am PT
Here it is boys and girls: Fall Line - America's first film on Extreme Skiing.
Please share.



FALL LINE - So here's what Greg Lowe and I created in 1978 as we decided to show America a new sport called Extreme Skiing: Producer/Director/Cameraman - Bob Carmichael and Greg Lowe. We won an Academy Award Nomination for this effort. Editor Tim Huntley, AC David Breashears. Skier Steve Shea .. Associate ... Producer Buck Tilly - key mt. grip Larry Bruce. Lots of talented guys and many many weeks on the Grand Teton, WY. Bill Briggs helped load us in.

Ice climber
Jan 2, 2019 - 01:03pm PT
This works

I could tell you the transformation algorithm

But I won't

Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Jan 2, 2019 - 01:11pm PT
Saw Bill Brigs last Spring. Just a quick "hi." Bowed to the master on my way out. Hope to catch up again.

Love those old skiis. Always shopping for a pair in mint condition.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 2, 2019 - 01:13pm PT
Greg has had 2 heart attacks and has slowed down a bit and generally stays close to home, although he made it into the high Uintas last summer.

Jan 2, 2019 - 09:12pm PT
thanks for posting up! just enough skinny ski style to give the velveeta cheese covering a palatable substrate... ha!

supersweet! :)

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 3, 2019 - 09:24am PT
That was classic!!!!

thanks for posting
great skiing
What a great fall sequence...

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 3, 2019 - 11:28am PT
Holy moly, presence of mind for straight-arming that rock and trying to keep oriented on the fall is amazing.

Was the earlier rockfall scene (within the climbing sequence) an orchestrated trundle or was that just lucky timing to be in the right place and have nobody get hurt?

The whole work was enjoyable to watch. Thanks for putting in the huge amount of work to make this thing, and being out there expanding the frontiers of what people think is possible.

Trad climber
Redwood City, CA
Jan 3, 2019 - 12:39pm PT
That was great!

right here, right now
Jan 3, 2019 - 02:32pm PT
Glad the whole thing finally got daylighted! I remember seeing a clip of just the fall sometime over the last dozen years here on the forum. Pretty decent production values all around. Did not know this film directed by Greg Lowe & Bob Carmichael was Oscar-nominated.

Seems to be a montage; in that sense reminiscent of Hoover's Solo, but in a fully alpine venue. Damn Steve! Several incredible recoveries to keep from cartwheeling. And remarkably, it even has a happy ending? I wonder if that's exactly what ensued after that horrific fall. It's a good story, overall.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 3, 2019 - 03:06pm PT
Victory shake of the pack towards the end is awesome!

I have a very crappy VHS copy (copy of a copy from TV I think)...nice to see it again!

Great to see the Meadows below in the final shots...
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