Cool Stuff: REEL Rock, Pakistan and Drones

by Corey Rich

Back in 2012, I got the opportunity to climb Trango Tower with the great, late David Lama and Peter Ortner for the 150 Peaks Project for Mammut. 

At the time, drone technology was quite new. We were very much on the cutting edge of some of these early breakthroughs by trying to fly a drone in an untested environment: upwards of 16,000 feet in the heady slipstream of Karakoram mountain weather. The young Remo Masina joined our expedition as our ace pilot, and navigated these uncharted airspaces expertly! In retrospect, and especially when compared to the drone performances of today, it felt like we were about as lucky as strapping a GoPro to a pigeon just to get what we got. 

To underscore how early we were on this front, several mainstream news sources, from the AP to USA Today to Vice, wrote articles about our trip and described how we were using drones for adventure sports cinema in Pakistan, belying the common notion at the time that associated “drones” with special military ops. Just getting the drones into Pakistan was an adventure—I think we packed 4 drones, hidden in 4 different pieces of luggage, and only 2 made it through without being confiscated!

I was instantly whisked back to this trip by seeing the new REEL Rock trailer which features a film about climbing super stars Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher making the third free ascent  of Eternal Flame, which is the route David, Peter, and I climbed—though not all free, as David resorted to aid in several places. 

I can’t wait to see how my friends at Reel Rock and Sender Films have told this story about Trango and Eternal Flame. Big shout out to Austin Siadak for shooting this trip—your footy looks great, and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Click here to find a show near you!

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