Fuelled by the desire to see what lay behind a one-line description of an epic route in a climbing guide, director and climber Ivan Hughes explores the story of two young climbers, Jim Baldwin and Ed Cooper, who in May 1961 decided to try the impossible - a first ascent up the then-"unclimbable" Stawamus Chief.
The result of Hughes's intrigue into the historic and now legendary clim, is the award-winning documentary In the Shadow of the Chief, which will have its Squamish premiere on Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Eagle Eye Theatre.
The event is also a fundraiser for the Don Ross Outdoor Leadership Program and will feature a silent auction from 6-9 p.m. in addition to the screening.
"We want this event to be a showcase of the wealth of outdoor opportunities in the area and the outdoor businesses that operate in Squamish," said Don Ross Leadership Program co-ordinator Michele Desjardins. "The large foyer area outside the theatre will be set-up with photos, silent auction items, and displays from the many local businesses that provide services to the outdoor community."
In the Shadow of the Chief had its world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival in December, where it received the People's Choice Award for Best Film at the film festival and sold out two screenings.
Using never-before-seen archival footage, the documentary film takes a unique look at a part of local climbing history and the spirit of the community that rallied behind the climbers.
"Hopefully this film will serve as a reminder of how far Squamish has come since it was a quiet logging town to being the centre of outdoor recreation that it is today," said Hughes. "While it shows just how far the sport of climbing has evolved from those early days, most importantly I hope this film begins to honour the efforts of the early pioneers of the sport of climbing.
"Let's face it, they were a couple of young guys who wanted to get a climb done; they weren't seeking any media attention at all," said director Hughes. "The real push to tell the story was so that these guys could be remembered. We wanted to let the climbers of today know what the pioneers back then were doing.
"Squamish has an incredible history in this sport - we could've covered many stories but we focused on this one because it has so much significance."
The film was produced by Angela Heck, who added, "We see this as a great opportunity to give something back to the community that inspired the film."
The film includes interviews with climbing enthusiasts and pioneers Dick Culbert, Ed Cooper, Jim Sinclair, Tim Auger, Hamish Fraser, Adam Diamond, Conny Amelunxen and Kevin McLane.
For many long-time locals who can recall the early days of climbing in Squamish, this film will definitely rekindle some very fond memories.
"A lot of people involved in the climb and who lived in that era can come out and re-live the adventure, and a lot of the local climbers now can get a chance to see what it was like back then."
Tickets are $10, and are available at Climb On!, Valhalla Pure Outfitters, and Don Ross and Howe Sound Secondary Schools.