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21.03.2017

Cerro Torre film available on demand worldwide

From today on the award-winning film "Cerro Torre-A Snowball’s Chance in Hell" is available worldwide, on demand and free of charge.

Some years have passed since the Cerro Torre film had its release, and even more years passed since the production got on its way. Although our ideas seemed concrete from the beginning, all came a lot differently than anticipated. It’s not a story that someone made up and found worth telling, it was a story that simply happened. It’s not a film about a climbing project, more a hybrid of the two as things came about along the way.

In case you haven’t yet seen it, check it out here

Below you can find a few frames taken from the original film and film footage that didn’t make the final cut. Alongside thoughts that come to my mind every time I see these frames roll. Enjoy!

After Maestri’s bolts had been chopped, we needed a different plan to get the cameraman on top to film. Therefore Markus Pucher and Toni Ponholzer led cameraman Lincoln Else up to the summit via the iced up Ferrari route. On this frame you can see Markus leading the final pitch of rime ice to the summit.

The scene in the film that shows Peter and my bivi spot just below the ice towers during our free ascent. We had just settled on an ice ledge for the night. Seeing it always reminds me of when we found out just a minute later that our gas cartridge was leaking. This meant that dinner was cancelled, just as coffee in the morning.

Peter was the best partner I could have hoped for for this project. Even though it was always clear that I’d be the one freeclimbing, Peter was committed and genuinely psyched to be part. The project started off as mine, but we definitely brought it to an end together. Everytime I watch the film I have to laugh about the scene when we wake up hung over to find out in the new weather report that conditions had unexpectedly stayed good, meaning that we would head out to Cerro Torre soon after. This frame shows me checking the weather report while Peter is drinking some water to clear his mind.

This frame is from Peter and my last attempt in the 2011 season which was the first that ended on Cerro Torre’s summit. The attempt came unexpectedly just a couple of hours after the situation described in the frame above. The summit mushroom was split on the very top and upon reaching the top I briefly thought I had accidentally chosen the lower one, that’s why the first thing I did up there was turn around and look behind me.

Thomy wasn’t just the director of the film, his full throttle attitude helped shape the project and the time we spent together. He came to understand the importance to not interfere our climb while still trying to max out production value. He therefore was part of a climb we did in the Alps to test a new sound system for Cerro Torre and came just as psyched as unprepared. After giving his all on the climb he dislocated his finger on the decent and we ended up in the hospital way after midnight. This frame is from the project’s third year where the finger had healed again.

If you take a close look on this frame showing Patagonia legend Toni Ponholzer, you can see Cerro Toni written on his helmet. To me this is sort of a declaration of eternal love to the mountain. However I feel like the mountain to Toni doesn’t only represent the tower of rock and ice, it also stands for his love to the people and generally to life in Patagonia. Toni is truly a one-of-a-kind guy and for me the whole project wouldn’t have been the same without him.

To re-enact the scenes of Cerro Torre’s history we needed people to embody the fateful duo Cesare Maestri and Toni Egger. While Markus Pucher, who ended up guiding the camerateam to the summit, did a great job acting as Maestri, who would have been a more fitting cast for Egger than Peter Ortner, who is native to the same region as Toni Egger was. Peter still teams up with Toni Ponholzer every other year with the aim of doing Egger’s route from 1959.

El Chalten is often described as the village at the end of the road, which it truly is. When the weather is bad in the mountains everybody hangs out there until the moment when predictions look good. Then El Chalten becomes a ghost town, with all climbers and mountaineers leaving for the mountains. A few days later everybody is back again, celebrating climbs together or hanging out at one of the awesome boulders nearby.

This frame shows me hanging on the belay of the second to last pitch on Cerro Torre. Although we had one more pitch to go, I kind of knew we had it in the bag. Looking back not only meant looking down the climb that we had just done, but looking back to three formative years spent among a great group of people.

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