The Mountaineers - Tumwater Canyon Rock Climbing Home
This is an instructional film. The producer is unknown. The film is silent, in color, and runs about 21 minutes. There are no titles or captions. It was probably made in the late 1940s. Some scenes were filmed on Castle Rock. Fred Beckey is one of the featured climbers. He wears a red stocking cap in most scenes in which he appears.
The film begins with Beckey and another young man swapping leads on easy rock with the Wenatchee River below. The climbers have tied into the rope using a bowline on a coil and they use anchored hip belays. As the climbing steepens, they start placing safety pitons. Once the leader places a piton, Beckey switches his belay to place the rope under his seat instead of around his waist. In a later scene, the belayer feeds out rope to a leader who has not placed any protection. There is a simulated fall (the rope flies past the belayer) and the belayer stops the fall.
Climbers are shown anchoring themselves to trees and rock horns using a loop of the rope. Anchored to a rock horn, Beckey holds a fall while belaying another climber on a top-rope. In another scene, Beckey (in a tan brimmed hat and white shirt) is anchored to a piton on steep rock and he passes the rope through another piton to direct the pull on his belay.
There are closeups of piton and bolt placements, piton removals, tying into a piton anchor, and running a rope through a carabiner clipped to a piton. In one scene a test pull fractures the rock behind which a piton has been placed. There is also a short scene showing a Z-pully setup.
A climber leads Midway Chimney, placing a couple of pitons as he goes. Fred Beckey leads another pitch using double rope technique. A climber wearing a billed hat leads the South Face of Jello Tower using a couple of stirrups for aid. Another climber stuffs pitons into his bulging pant pockets then leads an overhanging aid pitch using pitons and a bolt. This climb is located right next to the river.
Rappel anchors are prepared by tying cord around a horn and through pitons. Climbers make free hanging dulfersitz rappels, touching down next to a road. Beckey makes a tension traverse on rappel, then demonstrates how to remove pitons while ascending a rope with prussik knots. In the final scene, a climber pulls down the rappel rope.
On 29 August 2008, I watched this film on DVD with Fred Beckey. He identified some of the climbers in the movie. (The time of each person's appearance in the film is noted in parentheses.)
(Film notes and video clip by Lowell Skoog.)
- Fred Beckey makes his first appearance in the film near the beginning (0:12) wearing a red cap, red shirt (no ear flaps) and blue pants.
- Wearing a navy blue shirt, Herb Staley belays an unidentified young man in a white T-shirt (2.55). Staley is later shown (6:05) setting up a piton belay anchor.
- Jack Schwabland leads Midway Chimney (next to Jello Tower) wearing a red ski cap with ear flaps (7:30). In the following scene, Schwabland belays Beckey using double-rope technique.
- Joe Hieb, wearing a tan colored brimmed hat and plaid shirt, leads the South Face of Jello Tower, using mixed free and aid climbing and belayed by Beckey (12:05). I think Hieb is also seen briefly in the very first scene of the film.
- Standing near the Wenatchee River, Ralph Widrig stuffs pitons in his pockets then leads an overhanging aid pitch with pitons, stirrups, and a bolt placement (13:50). Widrig later sets up a rappel anchor with pitons (16:55) and demonstrates a dulfersitz rappel.