'The Summit' film crew reach a new altitude record for aerial filming in a helicopter.
Image by Image Now Film and Pat Falvey Productions courtesy Image Now Film and Pat Falvey Productions, SOURCE
Irish Film makers in record flight on K2 for Ger McDonnell

Posted: Aug 01, 2011 04:44 pm EDT
(Newsdesk) "This week we commemorate Ger's and Rolf's passing three years ago," said the film makers.

Irish Ger McDonnell died 2 August and last week fellow Irish Adventure based film makers, Image Now Films (Dublin) and Pat Falvey Production (Kerry) achieved a probable new world record of filming from a helicopter on K2 for the final sequence of The Summit - a film about the 2008 K2 disaster.

Flying to an altitude of 23,500 feet (7,162m) on K2, Nick Ryan operated the Cineflex camera system mounted to the Pakistani Army Ecuriel helicopter, filming aerial footage of the shoulder above camp 4 and the Serac. Stephen O'Reilly in the backup helicopter reached an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,620m) from where he photographed the mountain.

The Summit: A film about the deadliest day on the worlds most dangerous mountain

Shooting the story of the death of 11 climbers on the ill-fated 2008 expedition to the summit of K2, the crew which consisted of Nick Ryan (director/producer), Stephen O'Reilly (Production manager/Camera), Mike Wright (Camera/Aviation engineer) and Nisar Malik (Pakistan co-ordinator), drove up the Karakorum Highway with 400kg of equipment to Skardu.

With the co-operation of the Pakistan Army aviation wing (5th Squadron), they flight tested the Cineflex equipment on Friday 22nd July and carefully observed the notorious weather patterns around K2.

Monday the 25th was selected as a flight date, and the crew left the base at Skardu at 7.00 am on the 50 minute flight to Paiju and then on to K2 where the mountain was completely clear, enabling the filming of some incredible aerial footage on the Cineflex Hi-Definition system (used extensively in the BBC series Planet Earth).

Nick: "The sheer scale of the mountain is breath-taking"

Nick, was emotional when speaking to Pat over the weekend as he gave account of the flight:

"We were incredibly lucky to get the weather to see the mountain, as mostly you will see either the top or the bottom of it but not both," he said.

"The light was fantastic, and winds low enough for safe flight and allow us to reach such great altitudes. The pilots are amongst the very best in the world and their knowledge of the region enabled this incredible journey. Their assistance and collaboration on the planning of the mission was fantastic."

"After three years of studying K2 in photos and video, to actually cast your eyes on the mountain was quite a moment. The sheer scale of the mountain is breath-taking. To look down on the slopes of the south-east face and realise the climbers who never made it back are still resting there, was an emotional experience for me."

In 'The Summit' movie the events are reconstructed by the Sherpas and told through the featuring of interviews by those on the mountain on that ill fated day. The story will tell of Ger McDonnell, a young and talented Irish climber who was the first Irishman to summit K2 on the 1st/ 2nd August 2008. He was killed on descent whilst attempting to rescue two Korean climbers and Sherpa Jumik.

Executive producer, mountaineer and polar skier Irish Pat Falvey summited Everest from Tibet in 1995, and from Nepal in 2004.


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