The Big Idea

Glacier Documentary Synopsis

Most people, even Washington locals, are not aware of the wildness of the Cascades mountain range and the large number of glaciers that inhabit them. Each of these glaciers tells a unique story of adventure, geology and history. Some glaciers have been keys to wild exploration, others the basis for scientific understanding of climate change. They are a crucial component of water sheds from the mountain streams to the Puget sound and help define life in the Cascades. Glaciers live in the high places that many of us are drawn to, fear to go. When we see a glaciated peak, our eyes are drawn to the icy patches that give the mountain definition, and we wonder how they are still there in the heat of summer. Few of us have had the privilege of walking on a glacier and feeling the thrill of its remoteness.

Glaciers are a symbol of the wild places and the rugged nature of the Pacific Northwest, but they are also a sign of changing and uncertain times. A few of the glaciers are expanding, but most of them are receding rapidly or have disappeared all together. What does our future hold as these forces of nature that carved the rugged peaks of the Cascades slowly melt away? Against the backdrop of old pines, granite peaks, and icy crevasses, Mauri Pelto and his team of scientists will travel on the glaciers measuring their movement, size and recession.

Mauri Pelto has been measuring, studying, and collecting information on glaciers for twenty-six years and hopes to continue for decades more. His data demonstrates drastic change in the North Cascades, and paints a picture of the glaciers as moving, changing things with their own characteristics and challenges. Traveling with Mauri is a troupe of scientists coming from across the country to document many aspects of the North Cascades. By studying the mountain goats, soil, ice worms and more they gain a better understanding of the challenges and changes in the future.

The documentary has two parts that come together to educate, entertain and tell the story of the North Cascades glaciers. The first is the traditional linear documentary that will play in festivals and on broadcast television. The second is an interactive documentary website that allows the user to explore each leg of the journey as a short vignette on the unique glaciers in the area. Look for it at UncertainIce.com.

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