K2 the movie (1991)


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Big Wall climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 22, 2011 - 02:57am PT
K2 is on instant queue.

Anyone one to guess without cheating where the climbing is done and who is doing the climbing?

Pretty much Hollywood climbing but I dig it.

Trad climber
Oct 22, 2011 - 05:49am PT

I'm up waaaay to late, or Waaay to early? 4:50am my time.

Trad climber
Oct 22, 2011 - 07:18am PT
K2 "cheesy goodness"!

Now on to Cliff Hanger.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Oct 22, 2011 - 07:55am PT
I actuall liked that movie even though it was cheesy at times. It looked like the climbed El Cap and then did an alpine climb that was sitting on top of the captain?

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Oct 22, 2011 - 08:03am PT
Another good one is The North Face. It's a german film (english sub titles) about one of the early attempts on Eiger.

Excellent movie.

Boulder climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Oct 22, 2011 - 08:09am PT
Has it been twenty years since that thing came out?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Oct 22, 2011 - 08:57am PT
Tommy Herbert at Squamish yo?

The goofy f*#ks hanging out under the roof, with the avalanche thing above nearly ruint that movie for me. I still like it though.

The lead character, the guy who goes back to save his pussy whipped bro? He does come across as a climber, imo, particularly when he climbs up the building to get some tang.

My hero, putting climbing skills to good use.


Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Oct 22, 2011 - 09:36am PT
Dingus. that nailes it. For me the drunken buildering for poon stunt gave the movie climbing creds. the bigwall followed by the snow climb was pretty silly and almost wrecked it. The rest of the partner dynamic was pretty spot on. So many of us end up in situations where the one partner is so much better and more motovated than the other that we either get dragged up or drag up someone into situations that one person really wants to climb yet the other simply wants to survive and not let their partner down...
Tim Camuti

Trad climber
Oct 22, 2011 - 11:38am PT
The movie was apparently based on a play, and I have always been curious to hear about how they staged the climbing scenes in a theatre. I feel that because of the roots of the play, this has always been the most credible climbing movie. The climbing story is more human than the lengths that the true Hollywood productions go to for a story. And it has Michael Biehn (of James Cameron fame- Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, others)!

Trad climber
North Vancouver
Oct 22, 2011 - 12:12pm PT
Anyone one to guess without cheating where the climbing is done and who is doing the climbing?

I remember a couple stellar shots of Waddington (posing as K2) and the Tiedemann group for sure. I think Bruce Kay may be listed in the credits?
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
Oct 22, 2011 - 01:34pm PT
ah yes, K2. Tommy Herbert did the rock climbing doubling for "Taylor " while I did the alpine stuff.
Barry Banchard did "Harold", and there was a whole cast of others. Perry (Chief) took this golden opportunity like a pit bull, launching himself out of the pits of logging despair and into a career to beat all others. So did Many others. Dave Lane launched archteryx, Scott Flavelle rubs shoulders with the titans (or dreggs) of hollywood. Lawrence Perry went on to save lives and entertain multitudes.

Funny this should pop up. A while ago Don Serl called me to contribute something for an Alpinist Article on the Waddington Range. I have no idea what ever happened to that enticing idea but here's is a teaser:

K2 on Wadd

In 1990, the eminently forgetable movie K2 was filmed in BC, much of it deep in the Waddington Range. It represented a glorious touchstone for many of us locals as the cash flowed like honey, mortages were paid off and many a juicy career was launched - plus we got to jack around in the Waddington Range in winter! We had a huge tent city on the Tiedemann Glacier and it was a strange mix that instantly staked out their class conscious territories in the mess tent. In one corner was Production, generally a bunch of vaguely comical and pompous John Cleese style stiff upper lip Brits. The bulk of the working class regulars filled out most of the other tables, with by far the noisiest and at times crudest table reserved for the blue collar guides, climbers, special effects monkeys, and helicopter pilots. Master of ceremonies here was Lawrence Perry, a supremely talented and shamelessly flamboyant pilot who seemed to take mischiviously delight in subverting all attempts at hierarchical order. It was a dry camp, at least in theory, but everyone had a stash.

About 3/4 through our stay, in the midst of a good coast range dump, someone turned up the music in the mess hall, tables were pushed aside and a few bold souls started gyrating on the floor. Before long bottles appeared and the party picked up a notch. Shmengi Brother (aka Barry Blanchard) could be seen off in a corner right by the full volume speaker, thrashing with himself. Burnt Toast was getting into some sweet dirty dancing with the leading lady. The ever present Balti's clapped, hollered and banged on pots. "Taylor" did his usual coke addled claw from chair to chair - shaky, but heading with wild eyed determination for the jelly beans. A much needed spontaneous blowout of tension was just what the doctor ordered. The Production heads were nowhere to be seen.

Some of us wound up in wardrobe with the Balti's trying on some costumes. These guys were certainly pushing thier cultural boundaries with this gig. What happens in Waddington will never be repeated in Skardu, thats for sure! A scene I will not soon forget is that aforementioned court jester prancing about wearing nothing but a pair of fishermens chest waders. The gay wardrobe guy, no doubt sporting a strong crush on the handsome pilot, took one look and gleefully dove both hands down his pants, grabbed his nuts, bit his nipples and refused to let go as Lawrence twisted about with his eye's popped wide in shock - or was that a tinge of pleasure? You could never quite be sure with that guy. After that we rejoined to the hot tub for a wind down and people started drifting away while a few stars signaled the storms end. Deano drifted straight into a snowbank and things could have ended tragically if Corbin hadn't spotted his feet sticking out and dragged him up and off to bed.

The following morning we flew up to bomb a location on Sierra peak, then it was off to work with a steady hangover. I forgot one of my ice tools in the valley which cemented my nickname (I see no need to repeat it here) that Barry gleefully yelled up at me all day while I sketched around on 50 degree boiler plate with one tool. Not long after that pretty much everyone had had enough of the Coast Range in November. The pin was pulled and the retreat from Saigon began. We did a bit more work in the Rockies and at Blackcomb but that was all fluff and inserts. The money shots were in the Wadd. As anyone who's been there will tell you, its a fair approximation of the Karakorum if you close one eye and drop a hit of acid, which of course is hollywood in a nutshell.

note: Lawrence is well know to many climbers and guides. he got the medal of valor (or something) for a long line rescue of numerous casualties off of the Grand Teton a while back. I can say with certainty that lawrence would not take offence at his inclusion here. He's a complete dog. Absolutely charming and a great guy, but a dog none the less.


Trad climber
So Cal urban sprawl Hell
Oct 22, 2011 - 03:09pm PT
I loved that movie!!!! Cool history, thanks!

Oct 22, 2011 - 03:16pm PT
I thought I remembered Barry Blanchard being interviewed about doing the pendulum scene during their "training" climb. No? Almost bit it/face skidded on one of the swings...


Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Oct 22, 2011 - 03:19pm PT
Pretty cool movie. The key art (movie poster) sucked. But that's Hollywood.

Thanks for the tip Acer!

Oct 22, 2011 - 04:26pm PT
Danny Redford was the climbing double for the Japanese guy

Hobart, Australia
Jun 4, 2013 - 05:35am PT
Watching this film now for the first time on iTunes. Fun to see my portaledges in the hollywood film...

Trad climber
Jun 4, 2013 - 10:46am PT
"cat burglar?"

"pussy thief!"

I love how they film the same move a bunch of times like it's differet

fun movie

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 4, 2013 - 11:16am PT
The portaledge party shot was done on Steinbok Peak if memory serves.

Social climber
Jun 4, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
As anyone who's been there will tell you, its a fair approximation of the Karakorum if you close one eye and drop a hit of acid, which of course is hollywood in a nutshell.

Fabulous Special K. Too bad that piece on Wadd withered on the vine. Dang.

Weren't the Brothers Spat also in that melée? But their characters hit the cutting room floor IIRC.

Thanks for that great summation Bruce.

Trad climber
Jun 4, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
That was well worth dredging up. Tell us moar Bruce Kay.
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