Following a group of climbers attempting to climb K2 in 2009, on the 100-year anniversary of its landmark 1909 expedition. Experience the adventure, peril and serenity of a group's attempt to climb the most challenging peak on earth.
Uses astonishing visuals to tell the intersecting stories of George Mallory, the first man to attempt a summit of Mount Everest, and Conrad Anker, the mountaineer who finds Mallory's frozen remains 75 years later.
After a near-death mountain climbing accident, Joe Simpson's injuries were so severe he was told he'd never climb again. His recovery left him to confront the question: why, after coming so... See full summary »
For the past 26 years 16 expeditions have tried and failed to climb one of Pakistan's 8,000 meter peaks in winter. On February 2, 2011, Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards became ... See full summary »
Feature documentary about mountaineering icon Reinhold Messner and how he became what he is. This film is as much about his personality as it is about his extraordinary exploits - the psycho-gram of a controversial mountaineer.
Based on a true story, North Face is a suspenseful adventure film about a competition to climb the most dangerous rock face in the Alps. Set in 1936, as Nazi propaganda urges the nation's ... See full summary »
On 15 May, 2006, double amputee Mark Inglis reached the summit of Mt Everest. It was a remarkable achievement and Inglis was feted by press and public alike. But only a few days later he ... See full summary »
An international team of climbers ascends Mt. Everest in the spring of 1996. The film depicts their lengthy preparations for the climb, their trek to the summit, and their successful return... See full summary »
"He discovers things about his own body and mind that he had almost forgotten in the day-to-day, year-to-year routine of living." James Ramsey Ullman, High Conquest.
I don't know about you, but if I were approaching the "death zone" while mountain climbing, I'd turn back. However, you can bet the heroes of the documentary, The Summit, hiking the world's second biggest and most difficult mountain (it defeats 1 out of every 4 climbers), K2, had no such thoughts. The Summit won the Sundance World Cinema documentary award this year.
More interesting than the physical exploits is the rationale for doing such a dangerous sport in the first place. Yet, such psychoanalyzing is not a matter for The Summit, a thrilling doc long on the difficult climb and more difficult decisions while fates are decided in sometimes inscrutable and random ways. It's short on the motivation, which pretty much is accepted these days as, "because it's there."
Eleven climbers of 25 lost their lives that day in 2008 without an adequate explanation for any of the deaths. However this thesis is proved once more: Most lives in climbing are lost on the descent. The film has a fragmented, multiple-points-of-view (think of a climbing Rashomon) approach that cuts among the several players and history while featuring a couple of the more charismatic climbers, especially Ger McDonnell, whose death is the most difficult to understand even as he's touted for his alleged attempt to save 3 Korean climbers.
This discursive storytelling can be confusing while it saps the thrust of the inherently intriguing story. The many re-enactments drain the film of its immediate "what-the" doc impact. The film retains some of the awe we all feel when in the presence of such a manifestation of Nature's power:
"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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