An unparalleled set of sheer mountains -- part of the Colorado
Rockies. The peaks rise a challenging half mile and more out
of the valley -- wind-whipped snow mists over the mountains
like a low fog. The tranquility is broken as a helicopter
BLASTS into view, fighting the wind as it heads for the center
of it all.
Our CREDITS fly us past and through this magnificent range.
There are sky-piercing peaks that slope up to a narrow, high
pinnacle -- and others that are steel, straight-up approaches
to large plateaus. One of the mountains has a crystal lake on
top -- with a waterfall that drains from it and exits from the
middle of a mountain wall. Nearby, an abandoned cable ladder
is bolted into the same wall, leading to the top.
BACK IN THE HELICOPTER
We can see a man sitting in its doorway, looking out --
INT/EXT HELICOPTER - BINOCULAR POV
The glasses scan systematically, slowly -- to us, it looks
like nothing more than a field of gray and white.
EXT. THE MOUNTAINS - LONG SHOT
The helicopter now circles this tallest mountain -- "The
Tower", separated from a lower but equally formidable peak by
a chasm of two hundred feet -- that drops 3,500 feet below.
INSIDE HELICOPTER - FRANK AND MAGGIE
Spotter FRANK NEWELL (50s) scans the mountain wall. MAGGIE
DEIGHAN (30s) expertly pilots the helicopter through the storm
winds. Both wear orange jackets identifying themselves as
members of the Rocky Mountain Park Rescue Team.
Wait a minute -- there's Hal.
And his date.
BINOCULAR POV - A LEDGE
that's part of the smaller peak. HAL TUCKER (30s) and his
"date", SUSAN COLLINS (20s), are decked out in climbing gear.
Hal's aplomb suggests he's a veteran climber -- Susan's
worried look shows she isn't. Hal and Susan huddle together,
both cold, but okay. Hal has a makeshift splint wrapped
around his lower leg, and a slow burning flare in one hand.
Frank lowers his glasses -- Maggie struggles with the wind.
How do they look?
BINOCULAR POV - HAL AND SUSAN
Hal, now aware of the copter, looks towards it, smiling -- and
starts jerking off the flare.
He's signalling "okay."
The POV dips down -- there's somebody climbing below, in an
orange rescue jacket.
Right where he's supposed to be.
CLOSER ON THE CLIMBER
This is GABE WALKER (30s). In spite of the cold and the snow,
he's fearlessly, swiftly scaling the tower without safety
lines, as if he's done it a hundred times. That's because he
has done it a hundred times. This is what Gabe lives for.
ON THE LEDGE:
Gabe, almost there, finds a fingertip-width handhold at arm's
length -- grabbing it, he pulls himself up on the ledge with a
move that's just a little tougher than chinning yourself on a
doorjamb. Winded, Gabe slumps down next to the couple, and
tries to light a cigarette. The lighter only sparks.