Saturday, October 10, 2015


Some time ago, I went to see the Everest -movie. It's about the 1996 Rob Hall's Mount Everest expedition, when several climbers were caught in a storm and died - Hall as one of them. I know the story well, since my ex in New Zealand is very interested about mountain climbing and he injected me some of the same spark when I was living there. I was still in New Zealand when Sir Ed Hillary died, and the local tv was filled with documentaries and history about his life and naturally also the first climb on top of Everest. (Or was it first? I still haven't made up my mind if I believe Mallory and Irvine managed it. I wish they'd find Irvine's body and his camera...)

I thought the movie was quite good, but I think it was easier for me to follow, because I already knew the characters (and also knew their fate), for someone who doesn't it might be tricky to follow a dozen stories at the same time. I've seen the IMAX Everest documentary from 1996 before and real footage is of course better, but the story was rather faithful to the facts we know (omitting most of the other people on the mountain that time). Worth watching.

When reading some of the critics I noticed Jon Krakauer's comment that the movie was bad and that people should read his book "Into thin air" to find out what really happened. (It's nowadays somewhat a classic about mountaineering catastrophes.) I'd noticed the local library actually has it here in English, so of course I borrowed it. I've read Anatoli Boukreev's "Climb" already in NZ, but for some weird reason I hadn't read the Krakauer book before. It was great, and in some parts it's still haunting me. I don't have any urge to go mountain climbing myself, but I love to read such stories where the survival is often hanging on a very thin line. (I don't have any ambition whatsoever for anything, so maybe that's the reason why I like to read about people who do.) All in all, I think the Everest catastrophe in 1996 shows once again that the true stories can often be more heart-braking than the fictional ones...

Everest poster
The poster for the movie Everest. (Pic: Universal Pictures)