Dave Black has done ropes, rigging, consulting and location scouting for 20 movies and commercials, the most famous being "127 Hours," the story of an adventurer who cut off his arm after 127 hours stuck in a slot canyon.
On a Utah shoot for "127 Hours," Dave and the Hollywood team waited as a local canyoneering group came through the narrow canyon they were shooting in. Ignoring the famous director and stars sitting in their personalized chairs, the group’s leader walked straight to Dave and asked: "Aren’t you Dave Black?"
Minutes later, a Boy Scout troop came through. The leader did a double take and said: "Are you Dave Black?"
Then a single hiker came through and stood around watching the production. Dave approached him and asked: "Can I help you with something?" The guy responded: "I heard Dave Black is here."
Someone in the crew yelled: "Get Dave a bloody chair!"
Dave is definitely the man to be in charge. He has been on Maui since 2006, one of the first to bring canyoneering / rappelling to The Islands. He is well known for his expertise and his books—six survival and canyoneering / climbing books.
He has been a soldier, firefighter, paramedic, mountain guide and writer. He spent six years in the Air Force as an Arabic/Spanish linguist and cryptanalyst, then three years in the Army as an SF intelligence analyst, and three years in the Navy Reserve as a Marine Corps medic. He is a veteran of search and rescue operations and he has taught disaster response and paramedic systems in the Middle East, the Balkans and Caucusus. He has been a climbing guide since 1976, and he’s happy to be back on the rocks.
In 1980 Ken Schmitt put a backpack on his back and left a successful city life to live off the land in the jungles of Maui. In universities on the Mainland, he studied classical Greek and Latin, Oriental philosophies and religions. In the jungle he learned the subtle energies of nature. He became an expert on the interplay of the birds, the plants, the ocean, the insects and the geology of these incredible islands. He lived outside and explored nature for the next three years until he felt ready to teach what he had learned. He did so by starting a hiking company in 1983 called Hike Maui.
Writer MJ Harden soon joined Ken. She has written a Maui guidebook and a book of cultural interviews with Hawaiian elders, published a local Maui magazine, written a magazine for the local hospital, edited a magazine for Maui’s arts & cultural center and scripted a Hawaiian documentary presented at the opening of the Smithsonian’s new American Indian Museum.
Together they built their hiking company into one of the best tour companies in Hawai‘i, winning several awards including Hawaii’s top ecotour company of 2010. By the time they retired, Hike Maui had grown from a once one-man show to 25 employees and 13 vans. Retirement didn’t last long, however. When the perfect private waterfall valley became available, Dave, MJ and Ken donned their gear and rappelled back into business.