Dougal Haston, one of the world's greatest climbers, was hired by Universal Studios to be in charge of the climbing aspects of the Clint Eastwood thriller, The Eiger Sanction. Since I had worked as a guide for Dougal for four years, he asked me to work with him on the film.
The big three: Dougal Haston who was in charge of the climbing aspects of The Eiger Sanction, Clint Eastwood who both directed and starred in the film and Norman Dhyrenfurth who was billed as Chief of Expedition. Dhyrenfurth had led the very successful 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition, was a filmmaker by profession and spoke fluent English and German.
Clint Eastwood at 6:00 am on the north face of the Eiger. In the background is the start to the famous Hinterstoisser Traverse.
Filming one of the bivouac scenes for The Eiger Sanction. Clint Eastwood is in the blue jacket, the Austrian climber, played by Michael Grimm, is in the green jacket and the German climber, played by Reiner Schone, is in the orange jacket. Cameraman Mike Hoover is in the blue jacket with his back to the camera.
Clint Eastwood ice climbing on the flanks of the Jungfrau.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Hoover and Dougal Haston take a lunch break high on the north face of the Eiger.
Filming on the north face of the Eiger. I am in the yellow jacket doubling the French actor while Clint hangs from a rope above my head.
Scottish mountain guide Dave Knowles scouting for locations during the filming of The Eiger Sanction. I thought this was a superb location, easy to get to and spectacular, but it was never used. Dave was killed by stonefall two days later.
Filming the fall scene high on the west ridge of the Eiger. Peter Pilafian in the yellow jacket (who did the fall) hangs from the rope while Clint Eastwood (blue jacket) and Dougal Haston (red jacket) are on the ledge above.
The Hollywood scriptwriters had dreams of hanging Clint high on the north face of the Eiger, over one of the railway tunnel doors, from an extendable 28-foot tripod. I was given the job, in foul weather conditions, of banging in pitons and drilling bolts to attach the tripod to. I thought that it would make a good photo so I gave my camera to Hamish McInnes, who was with me, and asked him to take a shot. In the end the location was judged too dangerous and we found an alternate location.
The Hollywood scriptwriters had visions of the actors climbing the bolt line on the Rot Fluh, a blank, overhanging wall on the Eiger north face. We were sent up to attach ropes to hang down beside the bolt line. Here I am traversing out to the side to create an anchor to hang a rope on from which the cameraman could hang. I thought it would make a good shot so I gave the camera to my companion to snap a shot.
Hamish McInnes, also known as the Fox of Glencoe, is one of the great Scottish climbing pioneers. He is also the inventor of the Pteradactyl, the first of the drooped pick axes that revolutionized ice climbing in the 1970s. I took this photo of Hamish while working on the Hollywood thriller, The Eiger Sanction, in 1974.