Robert Redford to Adapt WWII Book ‘Climb to Conquer’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Robert Redford Sundance Distrubution
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Robert Redford plans to produce a film based on Peter Shelton’s book “Climb to Conquer: The Untold Story of WWII’s 10th Mountain Division Ski Troop.”

Kurt Johnstad (“Act of Valor,” “300: Rise of an Empire”) is in discussions to adapt the story about the U.S. Army division’s little-known victory in the mountains of Italy that had soldiers scale the treacherous rock walls of Riva Ridge and conquer a German position that was previously considered untouchable. It enabled the Allied forces to finally break the stalemate in Italy.

The story of the 10th Mountain Division is especially compelling considering it revolves around the sole group of Army soldiers trained to rock climb and ski and handle extreme mountainous conditions during the late 1930s. Group was made up of professional athletes, college scholars and potential officer candidates, and as the last U.S. division to enter the war in Europe, suffered the highest number of casualties per combat day.

Members included the Sierra Club’s David Brower, Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, who developed the waffle-sole running shoe, and Aspen Skiing Corps founder Friedl Pfeifer.

Redford will produce the film with Bill Holderman through his Wildwood Enterprises banner. Wildwood is in production on an adaptation of Bill Bryson’s book “A Walk in the Woods.”

Eric Bromberg and Stephen Michael of Bare Knuckle Media also are attached as executive producers.

Shelton, a writer for Men’s Journal and Ski magazines, is repped by the Elizabeth Kaplan Agency. Scribner published “Climb to Conquer” in 2003.

Redford and Johnstad are repped by WME.

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  1. Tom Duhs says:

    I have a WW II script for sale now with Imperium 7. It is a true story about the 10th Mountain Division. This is the real story Redford should read before using the Climb to Glory book. Mine is ready now. Please tell Redford and Holderman.

  2. BJD says:

    What is the status of the movie?

  3. Glenn Kinney says:

    As a combat veteran 10th Mountain Division(LI) infantryman – Somalia 92/93 – I think it is awesome that the division gets some coverage. Really glad that Tom Hanks is not involved after how he spun that bleeding heart feel sorry the pirates theme into Captain Philips. Can’t wait for about what really happened during our 5 years in Somalia

  4. Peter Burns says:

    I worked at a small ski area in upstate ny
    (Watertown), for about ten years when I was younger. At that ski hill, I had the pleasure of knowing a soldier from the 10th of that era. His name was Bud Hefty.
    He was a ski instructor. He skied into his 80’s. Such incredible stories he told of Italy and and their missions.
    He was a true gentleman, and the most graceful skier I’ve ever seen.
    This story is loaded with irony for me.
    I had the pleasure of skiing at Sundance a few years back, my favorite, and I recall thinking of Bud quite a lot for some reason. Remember it like yesterday.

  5. MFtiz says:

    As much as I love the 82d Abn & 101st Abn Div’s, having spent time in both, the 10th Mtn Div does seem to get “short changed” in having their stories told as well. If I didn’t live up here at Drum, wouldn’t know half of what they accomplished!

  6. MFtiz says:

    Why did they leave out the fact that Sen Bob Dole was also a member of the 10th Mtn Div?

    • dschmidt says:

      Senator Dole, while revered by many members of the 10th (old and new), he played a very small role in the 10th’s story. He was a replacement that did not train at Camp Hale and while seriously wounded he did not participate in the training that made the division famous.

  7. Steve Coffey says:

    Very happy to hear that the story of these incredible men will continue to be told. Hopefully one day the equally impressive story of the modern 10th Mountain Light will be told as well. President, 10th Mountain Division Descendants, Inc.

  8. mountsalish says:

    There used to a cabin on Vail mountain available only to former 10th Mountain men. The division did some of its training on the mountain and a couple of them decided to return after and found a ski resort. One of the best runs on the mountain is called Riva Ridge.

  9. Marilyn Mallory says:

    As a side note: The Germans still commanded the heights in central and northern Italy. It took the US 10th Mountain Division to conquer them in 1945. It had been training since 1941 in Colorado’s mountains. Italy has about eight peaks almost 14,000 feet high but Colorado has 54 peaks at least 14,000 feet high. The formation of this unit, its training, and its Italian campaign is told in the documentary, “Fire on the Mountain” (1996), available via instant streaming on Netflix. It makes for a fascinating, true action/adventure story.

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