Living and Dying on Everest

"Excellent"

Living and Dying on Everest Review


Most mountaineering movies show nothing but the glamour: Rugged men and impossibly fit women train, hire a couple Sherpas, then head for the top of Mt. Everest, smiling all the way. Sure, they huff and puff a little, but in the end, it's man proving triumphant over nature -- as if there was any doubt. The IMAX Everest, while gorgeous and breathtaking, fits the mold perfectly.

David Bolling's ascent to the top of the world is cut from something different. He's there to document the cleanup of the mountain, littered with trash and spent oxygen canisters from 50 years of tourists-cum-mountain climbers. He's also there to show us how truly dangerous the mountain is: for every six people who try to make the summit, one dies. He tells us more than we've ever known before about Sherpa culture, what they eat at base camp, how clothes are washed, how the toilet works, and so on.

All the while, Bolling tells us that he, along with everyone at the 17,000 foot camp, is dying. The wasting effects of high altitude are laid bare, and we get to see a little bit of the mindset of the person who would put themselves at such risk. I watched this movie in bed one night (it's only 50 minutes long), and I felt genuinely cold and sort of nauseous, just watching it.

If you're interested in Everest but don't feel you're getting the whole story, Living and Dying on Everest is a rare and important film. Definitely worth checking out.



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