Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Summit

In August of 2008, 11 climbers were killed over the course of a two days on the world's second highest peak, K2. Like the 1996 Mt. Everest tragedy, stories of what happened -- and what didn't happen -- were leaked to the international press almost immediately.  And to this day, the decisions made on K2 and the stories that were built from the tragedy are still controversial.

Last year we published a review of a book about this incident. Buried in the Sky is the story of the Nepali and Pakistani guides and porters that were on the mountain during the tragedy. But as people continue to dissect this incident, more books and films are coming out about it all the time. The Summit is one of those films.

The Summit was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, which just wrapped up in Park City, Utah.  Here is a little information from the film's press release:

In August 2008, twenty-four climbers from several international expeditions converged on High Camp of K2, the last stop before the summit of the most dangerous mountain on earth. Forty-eight hours later, eleven had been killed or had vanished, making it the worst K2 climbing disaster in history. 

In a century of assaults on K2, only about 300 people have ever seen the view from the planet’s second highest peak. More than a quarter of those who made it didn't live long enough to share the glory, or to tell the tale. 

At the heart of The Summit lies a mystery about one extraordinary man, Ger McDonnell. By all accounts, he was faced with a heart-breaking dilemma— at the very limit of his mortal resources, he encountered a disastrous scene and a moral dilemma: three climbers tangled up in ropes and running out of time. In the death zone, above 8,000 metres, the body is literally dying with each passing second. Morality is skewed 180 degrees from the rest of life. 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 climbers’ code, he might still be alive 

The Summit is about the very nature of modern adventure. Those who survive carry with them a commodity to sell— The Story. This one remains contentious and fiercely debated.

It's not clear when the film will be available at theaters or on DVD, but I would assume that we will be able to see it within the next year.

--Jason D. Martin

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