Between The Ambassador (review), Queen of Versailles (review), The Imposter, and a few others I haven’t seen yet but continue to hear good things about (Searching for Sugar Man, How to Survive a Plague), 2012 was a pretty solid year for documentaries. Nick Ryan’s The Summit, a mixture of archival footage and re-enactments about the deadliest day at K2, just got accepted to Sundance, and hopefully it can lead off an even better 2013. If not, we’ll probably just point and laugh. Here’s the rundown (trailer below):
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. [official synopsis, via Twitch]
To make matters worse, a bunch of those Westboro Baptist people showed up to the funeral holding signs that said “GOD HATES MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS” and ruined the party. Okay, not really, but that would’ve added a last bit of drama, wouldn’t it?