Military Outdoors Adventure Film School: Full Ruck

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.

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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.

Full Ruck, by Brian Mockenhaupt, tells the tale of Josh Brandon feeling stuck between his old, pre-war life, and his life in combat after leaving the Army following three tours in Iraq. Full Ruck looks at the role outdoor adventure and the mountains have played for Brandon, who heads up Sierra Club's Military Outdoors, which runs adventure programs for veterans.