It’s a phone call we have received many times of over the last 35 years. A producer, director or location scout calling about a Top Secret project for a scene, commercial, TV episode or whole film that will be shot in the mountains. The person on the other end of the phone is always professional, very specific in what they want but highly secretive about any details. We are on a need to know basis and until a full confidentiality agreement is signed, we know very little about the production!
We took one of those calls last summer. A hit reality TV series was doing a road episode and coming to Banff for filming. The producer needed an adventure activity that was safe and professionally run, but it needed to have some risk to it. That’s all we knew. But this isn’t the first time our Operations and Guiding team have taken these calls so we got right to work and developed some options. Several discussions later we developed a long rappel down the Tunnel Mountain rock climbing route called ‘The Shoe’. To those of us who climb or work in the mountains, rappelling is part of the process but for a film shoot, rappelling is anything but straightforward. The crew and camera operators want to be right where the action is so that means a lot of rigging. We know from past experience that getting ‘the shot’ is very important to the Producers so its our job to make sure that safely happens in what isn’t always the safest of places. In most films we are involved in, our work takes place behind the scenes managing safety or getting talent and crew into the places they need to be.
Filming is labour intensive. The crews are huge and time is money so we are under a lot of pressure to make sure we do our jobs efficiently and safely. ‘The Shoe’ is normally a straightforward climb. Add a crew of 40 people with expensive audio/visual equipment and things get complex fast! Anyone who spends time with us in the mountains knows that safety is always the focus for our guides and in this case our team of Jesse de Montigny, Nick Sharpe, James Madden, Brent Peters, Deryl Kelly, Simon Robins and Phil Wilhelm did an outstanding job. We hope you enjoy the episode as much as we enjoyed being part of the making of it.
Our Film History
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures does site safety, rigging, location scouting assistance and stunt doubling for film productions of all budgets.
Climbing ‘The Shoe’ on Tunnel Mountain
Want to climb The Shoe with one of our guides? It is an excellent multi-pitch route with good rock and varied climbing (cracks, a small roof with good holds and a slab). Rated at grade 5.6, it is a good option for those with some previous rock climbing experience. You can also rappel the route just like the Bachelor!
The route is very scenic overlooking the Bow River, Mt Rundle and the Banff Springs Hotel Golf Course making it a great day out in Banff National Park. Please visit our Private Rock Guiding Page for more information.
Airing February 5, 2013 on ABC @ 7pm MST