Blog

The Idea

When an idea arrives at the right time, we have no choice but to pursue it, to see where it leads, no matter how terrifying, irrational or ludicrous it may seem. Hidden somewhere in the murky depths of our sub conscious, the idea makes perfect sense. Once conceived, it refuses to disappear and we have absolutely no say in the matter but to work towards its fruition.

The sign that the time has come for a particular idea lies in its contagiousness. If the idea affects not just our own mental space, but reaches out with sticky tentacles and infects others as well, then we have no choice to admit that its realisation is not only possible, but necessary. Before we have time to cast it aside with pragmatism, we find ourselves unable to stay away from it. We work and we work and we work, to make it happen.

There is usually a catalyst. An actual, physical event that propels us to take the steps required to fulfill the calling. A sign, that appears and whispers to us of possibility. When the catalyst shows up, we have no choice but to start. And once we’ve started, the idea of giving up becomes unacceptable. We must continue, to the best of our ability, and carry our mission through. There is nothing for it, but to begin.

Wild Tasmania: even wilder in winter.

Wild Tasmania: even wilder in winter.

 

The idea at the core of our expedition is very simple. It lies in demonstrating the process of achieving a goal, no matter how difficult it may seem at first glance.  To achieve the nearly impossible we must cast aside rationality briefly and commit to the project, then use reason through the whole process to accomplish the end result: ascending the Blade on Federation Peak in mid winter.

The Blade.

The Blade.

 

It’s such a beautiful line. Wild. Gnarly. Difficult to access. It’s going to be wet, and cold. The objective risk is nearly unacceptable.

Is it even possible? Is there going to be anyone out there crazy enough to attempt it? Is there anyone out there who can actually do it?

These were only some of the questions I was battling with, when the idea materialised in my head. But it was already too late. The idea was there, and I had no choice but to work towards its fruition. I had to assemble a team.

Our reconnaissance team, including our strong backed volunteers. Thank you legends!

Our reconnaissance team, including our strong backed volunteers. Thank you legends!

 

The promise of $10 000 from North Face was our catalyst. It appeared the perfect excuse to bring a team together.  I approached Dan Haley first, a fellow wild mountain man.  He committed without hesitation to be part of the filming and support crew. Then, our chief film maker, Simon Bischoff came on board.

Next came the crux. We had to find our climbers. A team who wouldn't be put off by wet rock, blizzards and a really big wall. Surely, there had to be someone out there...?

Mark Savage, Nick Grant, Mickolas Epstein. We found them, one by one. Combined, they have enough experience to climb the Eiger three times over.

To complete the line up, Bischoff recruited one of his good mates, fellow photographer and adventurer, Olivia Page.  Her talent and experience with the camera is going to take our film to the next level.

With the team assembled, and all necessary preparations in place, we are now ready to roll. We are all counting the days as they tick away. We are a month out from our trip. We are ready. If the weather gods are kind to us, we are going to succeed.

In any case, we are going to try.

 

-Andy Szollosi

Dan Haley, capturing the sunset from the summit of Federation Peak, looking towards the Eastern Arthurs skyline.

Dan Haley, capturing the sunset from the summit of Federation Peak, looking towards the Eastern Arthurs skyline.

 

 

 

 

 

First Snow

 

First snow on Mt.Wellington this morning. It’s been a bit of whirlwind. On the surface these things seem quite simple . . .

 

Hey do you want to film an ascent of blade ridge in winter”? . . . “Totally (me).

Months go by and you slowly chip away at the planning. Trying to account for all potential situations. Bumps in the road appear where you least expect them. Frozen batteries, frozen lenses, unmanned aerial vehicle licensing . . .  "Do I really need to take in two pairs of boots"? . . . (Because you know that your boots are going to get soaked on the way in and they will never dry. So you want a pair of dry boots for the mountain). I’m lazy. Lazy people get cold feet I guess. Plan for the best and hope for the worst . . . wait, uhhhg no. But it's probably not a bad mantra for a filmmaker.

I guess you look at the objective, and if you know the area and what it's like, you begin to realise that even though it's something just in your backyard, the actual chances of success are quite slim. It all comes down to the weather gods.

We’ve got approximately ten days up on the mountain. We need a blizzard free day to climb the mountain via the walking route to fix ropes on the southern and northern sides - so that on the day of the climb some lucky videographers can quickly and safely ascend the mountain and rappel down the north-west face to film the climb. Then we need an absolute cracker of a day for the guys to climb the blade into the north-west face. Chances are that it will be climbable but cloudy, and we wont be able to film anything from any vantage point. Damn the gods!

Whether the climb is a success or not, it doesn’t really matter. Of course I’d love to get footage of the climbers ascending the steps of blade, silhouetted by the deep void on both sides. It's possibly one of the most striking features I’ve seen, anywhere. But I think the real magic is going to be in the small details: the journey in through the mud and up moss ridge, frozen boots, relentless porridge, lightly falling snow and maybe a glimpse of the sun and the smiles of relief.

Simon Bischoff