Military Outdoors Adventure Film School: 1000 Steps
Note: For more than 15 years, Outdoor Research has equipped our front-line soldiers with the best gloves and accessories in the world. Today, we are also supporting our veterans in their transition back to civilian life through our efforts with Paradox Sports, the Sierra Club, Tragedy Assistance Program, and the Wounded Warrior Project. Climbing and outdoor adventure have proven to be very effective helping soldiers return from combat, heal, and re-enter life as civilians. In April of this year, six veterans ventured up into the North Cascades to climb, and learn to tell their stories through the Sierra Club Military Outdoors Adventure Film School, a program partly sponsored by Outdoor Research. Each day this week, we'll share one of the five films they produced.
The 2014 Sierra Club Military Outdoors Adventure Film School attempted to recreate the positive challenges and outcomes of combat for veterans to tell their stories for themselves and for the world, in the wilderness of Boston Basin in the Cascades. This was no canned veteran event. Success and failure hinged on our veterans' ability to act as a team, to move beyond their perceived limits, and to learn about themselves.
After two months of pre-production training and expedition planning, our team began the expedition with a grueling approach hike, followed by top class instruction in mountaineering and outdoor technical filmmaking. In small teams, they filmed their endeavors while working together in climbing Sahale Peak, Shark Fin Tower, and the Aiguille. After six hard days in the mountains, they returned to Snoqualmie Pass where they were mentored in post production, crafting their stories through three sleepless days. The filmmakers debuted their films at the North Bend Theatre at the first annual Veteran Film Festival in an emotional yet thrilling night.
1000 Steps, by Melanie Barrow, is a film about self-discovery, friendship, enlightenment, and most importantly, the journey. Sometimes many factors play into a "light bulb moment." For me, this experience was not only a defining moment, but a life-changing one. It truly was the hardest thing I have ever done, but it certainly won't be the last.