Thursday, October 3, 2013

"The Summit" of the most dangerous mountain

Ashley Wells, Pfc. Sandoval, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Pat Falvey and Pemba Gyalje Sherpa (, Beyond Endurance Publishing),
The film The Summit, produced and directed by Nick Ryan. In US theaters Oct. 4, 2013. (DVD and downloads available early 2014).
Not all Westerners respect Buddhist Sherpas
It was the deadliest day on the world's most dangerous mountain, K2. This is an early trailer for the feature book and documentary film "The Summit."

On August 1st, 2008, 18 climbers from around the world reached the summit of K2, the world's second highest (some argue the highest) and most dangerous mountain. It is a peak which claims the lives of one in every four climbers who attempt it. Over the course of 28 hours, however, K2 had exacted a deadlier toll: 11 lives were lost in a series of catastrophic accidents.
Beware: mountains do not exist to be climbed
Standing at 8,611 meters and attracting a climbing elite along the Pakistan-China border, K2 is known as the "Mountaineer's Mountain" (much like Denali in Alaska) because of its extreme technical challenges, its dangerously unpredictable weather, and an infamous and hazardous overhanging wall of glacial ice known as the Serac.

Snowbound at Base Camp for weeks on end and increasingly despairing of their prospects for success, an unexpected weather window finally gives the climbers the opportunity they were waiting for. In their collective desire to reach the summit, seven expeditions agreed to coordinate efforts and share equipment. Triumph, however, quickly turns to tragedy when a seemingly flawless plan unravels with lethal consequences.

Over the course of three days, a Nepalese Sherpa called Pemba Gyalje, along with five other Sherpas, was at the center of a series of attempts to rescue climbers who had become trapped in the Death Zone (above 8,000 meters), unable to escape its clutches and debilitated by oxygen-deprivation, chronic fatigue, delirium, and a terrifying hopelessness.

The tragedy becomes a controversy as survivors walk away from the catastrophe on the mountain into an international media storm. Countless stories emerge, some contradictory and many simply untrue.

More recent trailer of "The Summit" to be released in US on Oct. 4, 2013

Mahakala, Yeti, a fierce spirit, Tibet (MTP)
Based on Pemba Gyalje's eyewitness account and drawing on a series of interviews with the survivors, which were conducted for an award-winning documentary. "The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest Days" is the most comprehensive interpretation of one of modern-day mountaineering's most controversial disasters.
Also at the heart of The Summit lies a mystery about one extraordinary man, Ger McDonnell. By all accounts, he was faced with a heartbreaking dilemma -- at the very limit of his mortal resources, he encountered a disastrous scene and a moral dilemma: Three climbers were tangled up in ropes and running out of time.

In the Death Zone, the body is literally dying every passing second. Facing one's mortality, morality is skewed 180 degrees from the rest of life off the mountain. When a climber falls or wanders off the trail, the unwritten code of the mountain is to leave them for dead. Had Ger McDonnell stuck to the code, he might still be alive.
"The Summit" is about the very nature of modern adventure, one that remains contentious and fiercely debated. The book "The Summit" deals with the logistics, excitement, fears, successes, rescues, and fatalities of ill fated days on the world's most dangerous mountain.

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