‘The Summit’ Trailer Captures a Deadly Ascension of the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain

Written by on November 29, 2012 

From Vertical Limit to Touching the Void and a few inbetween, the history of mountain climbing films won’t lead to an extensive discussion, but at this year’s Sundance it looks like formidable entry has entered the arena. Announced in the line-up yesterday, we’ve already got the first trailer for Nick Ryan‘s intense-looking documentary The Summit. Telling the story of an August 2008 climb up K2, wherein 11 out of the 24 risk-takers were killed, it looks like a gorgeously captured, high stakes account of the events. Check out the trailer below via Twitch, as well as the first stills, for what will surely be on my must-watch list in Park City.

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.

Sundance Film Festival 2013 kicks off on January 17th, 2013.

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