Fifty Years in the Mountains

Fifty Years in the Mountains

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The 50th anniversary of Mountain Equipment is celebrated in this fast paced film showing decade by decade reflections of highlights through the last 50 years of climbing. Rare archive footage interwoven with emotional and motivating interviews.


The 50th anniversary of Mountain Equipment is celebrated in this fast paced film showing decade by decade reflections of highlights through the last 50 years of climbing. The transition from heavyweight expeditions conquering huge unclimbed faces to fast alpine style ascents without oxygen. An evolution from aid to free climbing and bouldering. Rare archive footage interwoven with emotional and motivating interviews from Messner, Scott, Zak, Parkin, Venables, Habeler, Boyson, L’Herpiniere, Hall and MacLeod.


In Conversation With Dave MacLeod (5 minutes)

Dave is Britain's best all round climber and has climbed 9a in sport climbing, V13/14 in bouldering, onsighted E7, climbed E11 and winter XII
He started climbing when he was 15 and climbed most of the hard rock and winter climbs in Scotland. For the last decade he's been making first ascents of as many hard routes as possible in most climbing disciplines but especially trad, bouldering, sport climbing and winter climbing. His route Rhapsody was the first E11 graded climb in the world. Dave's hardest climbs, Echo Wall (E11) and Anubis (XII) could be among the hardest summer and winter trad climbs in the world. 

In Conversation with Doug Scott (12 minutes)

Doug Scott has made 45 expeditions to the high mountains of Asia. He has reached the summit of 40 peaks, of which half were climbed by new routes or for the first time in alpine style. 
Apart from his climb up the South West Face of Everest with Dougal Haston during Chris Bonington's Expedition of 1975, he has made all his climbs in lightweight or Alpine Style, without the use of artificial oxygen. He has reached the highest peaks on all seven continents - 'the seven summits.' He is a past President of the Alpine Club. He was made a CBE in 1994. In 1999 he received the Royal Geographical Society Patron's Gold Medal.  

In Conversation with Reinhold Messner (7 minutes)

Messner is an Italian mountaineer and explorer from South Tyrol whose astonishing feats on Everest and on peaks throughout the world have earned him the status of the greatest climber in history. He is renowned for making the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen (with Peter Habeler) and for being the first climber to ascend all of the worlds fourteen peaks over 8,000 metres.

In Conversation with Andy Parkin (4 minutes)

Andy Parkin is regarded as one of the world's finest alpine climbers. But in 1984 he suffered a near fatal climbing accident in the Alps. His slow rehabilitation involved painting and sculpting the mountains that had so very nearly claimed his life. Now Andy is known as much for his inspirational artwork as his return to climbing.

In Conversation With Peter Habeler (7 minutes)

Austrian mountaineer Habeler joined Reinhold Messner in 1975 and made the first alpine style ascent of Hidden Peak in three days. This is seen as ushering in a new era of alpine style ascents of eight-thousanders, in contrast to the 'siege' tactics which had largely prevailed to this time. It was the first time an eight-thousander had been climbed alpine style.
His most notable achievement was the first ascent without supplemental oxygen of Mount Everest in 1978 together with Messner, which had previously been thought as impossible. He made the first European ascent of the Salathe Wall in Yosemite with Doug Scott and also climbed the 8000m peaks Cho Oyu, Nanga Parbat and Kangchenjunga. 

In Conversation With Heinz Zak (6 minutes)

German climber Heinz Zak is regarded as the pioneer of slacklining, he is also a world class rock athlete and a professional mountain photographer. In this interview he explains his emotional attachment with the mountains and how he prepares himself for extreme rock climbing such as his solo ascent of Separate Reality in Yosemite Valley, USA.

In Conversation with Stephen Venables (6 minutes)

Stephen Venables, mountaineer, writer, broadcaster and public speaker, was the first Briton to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen. He reached the summit alone, after climbing with a small American-Canadian team, by a new route up the gigantic Kangshung Face.
Everest was a thrilling highlight in a career which has taken Stephen right through the Himalaya, from Afghanistan to Tibet, making first ascents of many previously unknown mountains. His adventures have also taken him to the Rockies, the Andes, the Antarctic island South Georgia, East Africa, South Africa and of course the European Alps, where he has climbed and skied for over forty years.

In Conversation With Katie L'Herpiniere (5 minutes)

British explorer and endurance athlete Katie-Jane L'Herpiniere proves that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. As Katie says: we just need to be bold enough to begin. Katie-Jane L'Herpiniere worked hard to build a career as a successful model. Working for M&S and Alexander McQueen among many others. However meeting experienced adventurer Tarka L'Herpiniere changed everything. As romance bloomed, Katie and Tarka began a six month trek of the Great Wall of China - the most complete journey ever undertaken. It wasn't exactly an easy option. Katie had to commit herself to endurance training, putting on 3 stone and prepare herself mentally for the challenge, including blizzards, temperatures of minus 35C, frost bite, starvation, exhaustion and dehydration. During the trek, Katie went to hospital - twice. She lost an inch in height from the weight of her backpack. Despite the odds, Katie and Tarka completed this greatest of journeys from the West to the East - through the Gobi Desert and the sub-zero temperatures of the mountains. They completed 4300km (3,000 miles) in 167 days (this is the equivalent of 102 marathons). A world-first. Since then Katie has cycled through Ethiopia, worked on an environmental project at the North Pole and completed the first major crossing by a woman of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap (facing extreme storms and surviving 5 days in a makeshift shelter when their tent failed in a storm). 

About the Film

Release Date
Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Peter Habeler, Stephen Venables, Heinz Zak, Andy Parkin, Dave MacLeod, Martin Boysen, Brian Hall and Katie L'Herpiniere
Brian Hall and Keith Partridge
Brian Hall and Keith Partridge
Download Filesize
HD (16:9), SD (16:9)
Fifty Years in the Mountains


Way too short for a history of climbing in the past 50 years, many notable climbs and climbers not even mentioned. Half the documentary is taken up with the interviews of the climbers involved although this is where the doc is probably at its best.Watching Doug Scott, Messner, Parkin etc explaining moments on ground breaking climbs makes for capitvating viewing but again, too little time is given to each. A serious doc  recounting 50 years of climbing would  need to be in several episodes to really cover that time frame.

10 April 2012

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