Eiger Sanction - can you ID the real climbers?


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middle joe

Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 29, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
Can anyone Identify the climbers in this pic working with Clint on the filming of the Eiger Sanction?


Apr 29, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
mike hoover on the left. probably peter pilafian on the right.
middle joe

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 29, 2013 - 02:51pm PT
Thanx. Do you know how they got hired for the gig? Are they on taco?

Apr 29, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
doubt either of them post here. i'm not sure about how he got the gig but i bet someone who posts here could tell you, probably werner.

San Francisco, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 04:00pm PT
Mike Hoover was the liason for Universal Studios.

He hired Eric Bjornstad to climb the Totem Pole. Bjornstad hired Ken Wyrick to join him on the ascent.

The ascent was approved by the Navajo after EB and KW agreed to remove the pitons/fixed gear during their ascent to return the rock to its 'original state.'

I can't tell from your photo who those climbers are. Although I'd assume is EB and KW.

George Kennedy was deposited on the summit via Helicopter.

The below is a great link to all the locations in the film.


Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Apr 29, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
Wow, that is an awesome web site with those locations... but man, someone had a heck of a lot of time on his/her hands!


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 29, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
Martin Boysen was Clint's double.

San Francisco, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 05:50pm PT
Eric - My thoughts exactly. That person arguably must have enjoyed the film even more than I do (which says something!). I was pretty shocked at the level of detail.

Grindewald and Zion are two of my favorite places on the planet. Watching the film brings me back to both and seeing it again and again just never gets old.

That said...whoever made that site might have some serious OCD issues...

The point-of-view satellite images to zero in on some of the more obscure locations is seriously interesting work...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 29, 2013 - 07:19pm PT

Somebody was obsessed!

Interesting. (BTW I didn't name Cerberus Gendarme until 1977)

"I do not think so, but we will continue with style!"
Mark Not-circlehead

Martinez, CA
Apr 29, 2013 - 07:48pm PT
Best climbing movie of all time.

Apr 29, 2013 - 07:53pm PT
Not "Banner in the Sky"?

How many times have I used that continue with style line.....?

Trad climber
New River, AZ
Apr 29, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
PHD style research, but we all know it's OCD -- stunning menagerie of a microscopic view of the film.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Apr 29, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
The movie 'Solo' about my 1960s solo climbing career was the pilot film that inspired funding to be allocated at United Artists for the 'Eiger Sanction'. Note the pack that Eastwood carries throughout the movie is the same we used for 'Solo'. (Still have mine in the closet).

I was introduced to Mike Hoover as a classmate at Occidental College (where Joe Fitchen was my friend and fellow student). Mike was a talented athlete. I got him interested in climbing and taught him to climb, on the campus buildings and Stony Point and Tahquitz. I understand the school basketball coach was extremely unhappy with me for that. I also taught several other classmates and friends, particularly Jeff Schoolfield, who was an amazing gymnast and also worked as a Cobra race mechanic for Carol Shelby.

I took Mike to some of my favorite climbing areas where I had done first solo ascents and taught him to climb; Yosemite, Tetons, and Bugaboos.

During an outing at Stony Point, Mike and Jeff and I came up with the idea of doing a movie about rock climbing. I was the only experienced climber involved with filming 'Solo'. We learned film making together and I taught them to climb, and eventually carried a 16mm movie camera everywhere we climbed.

Dave Adams at Pyramid films was persuaded to provide us with cartons of expensive Kodak film, which was well beyond our means. When Dave liked what we brought back from the mountains, he would give us another box of film. Initially all the hard climbing was done by me filmed by Mike or Jeff. But as Mike improved, he stole the limelight, and little of the footage of me escaped the editing bin. I filmed him climbing, with one or another friend along to provide him a hidden belayer. I was usually soloing nearby with heavy camera gear.

Eventually Dave Adams assigned us a talented young film editor for the overwhelming task of trying to make a movie out of a big bin full of uncoordinated film. Tim Huntley was the one who really made a movie out of the mess, occasionally begging us to go back to some weird place for a pick-up shot so camera angles wouldn't completely clash in the edit.

At the time 'Solo' was released I happened to know a famous jazz musician who introduced me to the UA VP of Production. I went in alone and screened 'Solo' for the UA VP and he immediately offered me $1.2M funding for a feature film based upon it. However he also recommended I make the film as an independent to avoid the 'Hollywood sex and violence flavor' and preserve the artistic approach of 'Solo'. I had already written a screen play for a feature film called 'Up' that built upon my experiences in Camp 4 and Yosemite.

Mike and I went back to UA together and approached Clint Eastwood's office. I was a fan of Trevanian's books and mentioned the Eiger Sanction novel.

Mike and I had a falling out around this time, but a minor awkwardness was my still owning rights to the 'Up' screen play registered at the Screen Writers Guild.

Mike redid the credits for 'Solo' assigning me little credit. Then he made a film called 'How Solo was Made' that makes no mention of me and assigns all the climbing glory to himself...

I went on to other things in life with few regrets. Mike went on to build a career in film making. All the best to him...

Allen Hill

Social climber
Apr 29, 2013 - 10:10pm PT

Apr 29, 2013 - 11:04pm PT
Tom, I thank you for your share of the film solo. I remember in 1977 watching this great film, at the time I had climbed in Josh for the first time in 1976. This film along with the vertical world of Yousmite shaped my whole life and for that I thank you.

Social climber
Apr 29, 2013 - 11:05pm PT
hey there say, all... very interesting, thank you for sharing...
middle joe

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2013 - 04:59pm PT
Sorry it took me so long to get back to this. Great back-ground story.

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Apr 30, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
SOLO Man I bet I've seen that thing 50 times! It played for years at the old Seneca Rocks visitor center. Standard rainy day fare. The frog in the pocket still cracks me up!
Double D

Apr 30, 2013 - 08:10pm PT
Wow, interesting read Tom... thanks for posting.

Mountain climber
In the middle of the ocean
Apr 30, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
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