March 11, 2000That's
It is 10,000ft above sea level on a mountain ledge that could
be anywhere in the world. A film crew works on a climbing scene.
The mountain is supposed to be K2 in the Himalayas, but it's
really Mount Hamilton in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.
For this shoot, producer Lloyd Phillips and director Martin
Campbell are on site with the actors and their assistants. About 50 crew are required for
tasks such as throwing buckets of snow towards the gas-powered wind machines, handing out
drinks and food, keeping a constant watch on the weather, and making sure no-one stands
where they shouldn't.
While all this organised chaos is taking place, who makes
sure the environment is protected? The Department of Conservation has granted a concession
to Mountain High Productions, who must comply with conditions to protect pristine alpine
The Mountain High Productions base camp near Mount Cook
airport looks more like a military camp than a base for Hollywood stars and their
The half-hectare camp is a main artery to the success or
failure of The Vertical Limit, an action-adventure film. Catering facilities, special
effects tents, aircraft landing pads, actors' wardrobes, day accommodation, and an office
for logistics staff and safety crew are all on site.
This morning the decision to film in the mountains is an easy
one. The weather is perfect, the walkie talkies have been charged for the day, and the
crew is ready to be choppered to the mountain site.
About 50 crew will be flown up the Tasman Valley, to a perch
on Mount Hamilton. It is supposed to represent the highest peak of K2, which is why the
helicopters have had an 80kg paint job to make them look like they're part of the
Among the crew going up is environmental monitor Dave Morgan,
who has been contracted by DOC and paid for by the production company to liase with the
film crew, look at potential on-site impacts from filming activities, and minimise the
effects, including the landing of aircraft.
the rest of the article here.