Exploring and Filming: Glacier Caves for PBS

3172 Views0 Comment


It was 3 o’clock in the morning and we were hanging from ropes, midway down a 300′ vertical ice shaft high on Mount Hood in Oregon.  I was filming a pair of scientists who were using lasers to map the ice tube, called a moulin–one would take measurements and yell the information to the other over the constant roar of rushing water below and downpour of melt all around us.  Hayden had rapelled to the bottom of the cave and was using several large LED flashlights to illuminate the entire ice shaft from below–creating a dramatic and exciting light effect.  The scene took more than four hours to film and at the end both us and our cameras were soaked but happy.  We climbed the ropes back up to the dawn light, packed our bags and descended the mountain back to base camp.

This shoot was, without question, the highlight of our year.  The story was interesting and visually spectacular and the characters friendly, professional and good fun.  The filming conditions were challenging and ridiculously fun–running up snowfields ahead of climbers to get shots, constantly rappelling and climbing ropes, shooting in dark and soaking conditions, audio.  Despite the challenges, or maybe because of them, we ended up with a fantastic TV show.  Check out the full episode and behind the scenes clip to see how it all went down!

Photos by Andy Maser & Katie Campbell