John Cunningham Climbing Ben Nevis 1976


Rare footage by Yvon Chouinard, initially created for National Geographic featuring John Cunningham climbing an unspecified climb on Ben Nevis.

The ‘climb’ is actually a montage of different shots, I’m not sure the exact climbs, but my best guesses, based on the forum posts that have gone up, and an email are that the initial shot zooming in is Zero gulley (see…​ ), except that the shot has been reversed so that the footage flows the same way. The middle section, with the avalanche is possibly Garadh Gully

page 189 of Creagh Dhu Climber “

part of the film was supposed to be fictional,” says Chouinard, with John playing a hard case from a rundown part of Glasgow. He rides on his motorbike across Rannoch moor, solos something and then slips and falls but no-one knows if it is real or imagined, it was kinda surreal. The film never got to be seen because in another section, filmed in China , half the film crew were caught in a terrible avalanche. The director was killed and I broke a couple of ribs.”

Chouinard also mentions the filming in his ‘Climbing ice’ book (page 157 in the original 1978 version). He mentions being caught in an avalanche near Comb Buttress, by a cornice collapse on Number Two gully.

The ferry crossing is actually the Corran ferry, but probably made to look like the Bally one. the bally ferry closed in 75 because the bridge opened, so I guess it was a substitute to make the movie look like it was set in an earlier time.

Cheers to anyone who has discussed this video.

Paul Cunningham

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