Footsteps to the Sky

Mt Cook’s distinctive shape has become a strong symbol to all New Zealanders. This film explores all the meanings of this mountain. A dramatic re-enactment of the first ascent complete with historical equipment contrasts with a modern climbing expedition.

Produced by NHNZ

Standing clear from its surrounding peaks, Mount Cook’s distinctive shape has become a strong symbol to all New Zealander.

Most people are happy enough to come and look at the mountain and others have a more, compelling need to reach the top. But there are those who want to go further, these are the wild adventurers who ski, snowboard and even fly from Mt Cook’s Summit. This documentary explores what this mountain is to everyone.

The programme is presented by a dynamic member of New Zealand’s mountaineering elite. Information comes at the viewer from many directions; a re-enactment of the first ascent complete with historical equipment contrasts a modern climbing expedition; close up shots of footholds and handgrips emphasise the spectacular physical elements, whilst re-enactments portray the dramatic dangers. Tiny cameras mounted on climbers give “fly-on-the-wall” sequences as the climbers document their ascent.

The vegetation and life on Mt cook is contrasted with the massive avalanche of 1991 that tore millions on tons off the mountain giving New Zealanders a graphic reminder of their geologically unstable country. Time-lapse clouds, wind and sun capture the natural rhythms and changeable weather, a serious consideration in this environment but they also help illustrate the impressions of artful mood in the alpine zone. Extreme sports action adds excitement and adrenaline with sequences of gliders, helicopters, skiers and parapenters showing how the extremes are still being pushed today as we celebrate 100 years of adventure on Mt Cook.

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