Views from the Top: The NFB and Mountaineering

Views from the Top: The NFB and Mountaineering

This playlist features some of the most important NFB films about mountaineering. See you at the top of the mountain.

  • Cliff Hangers
    1950|10 min

    Over a gleaming ice field and up steep cliffs of bare rock, the camera follows members of the Alpine Club of Canada. Before they set out we are introduced to the climbers' basic equipment and learn the uses of rope and ice axe. Excitement mounts as the alpinists leap gaping chasms, inch their way along icy ledges, and drag themselves up what looks like a sheer wall of rock. Arriving breathless at the top, they pause in triumph for a view of the magnificent mountains lying around their vanquished peak.

  • Sheer Sport
    1969|49 min

    In this documentary, climbers from the Club de montagne canadien scale a nearly perpendicular wall of Precambrian rock, 65-meters high, in the Laurentian Mountains north of Montreal. Mini-transmitters carried by the climbers, and daring camerawork, convey every moment of suspense as two men and a woman grope and pull and inch their way upward. Two veteran mountaineers, Fritz Wiessner and John Brett, appear briefly in the film.

  • Ice Birds
    1978|15 min

    Crystal Pillar, White Lady, The Whale--these are the names given by ice-climbing enthusiasts to the spectacular ice formations surrounding Quebec's Montmorency Falls. Ice Birds shows two experienced climbers scaling the breathtaking wall of the Crystal Pillar with precision and considerable daring, appearing from below as black spots on the vast landscape of one of nature's masterpieces. Film without words.

  • How to Climb a Mountain
    1954|29 min

    In this short documentary vignette, members of the Alpine Club of Canada display their skill and talk to host Fred Davis about why they climb. The film take us to a ten-thousand-foot peak in Yoho National Park, a practice slope on Grouse Mountain near Vancouver, and a steep precipice known as Devil's Leap, providing ample scope for a demonstration of mountain climbing.