Got the new year off to a sobering start by seeing this excellent, moving and anger inducing film about climbing Mount Everest. For a change, told from the point of view of the Sherpa community. (most) Westerners come off looking pretty shabby to put it mildly – both the mountaineering “clients” and the mountain expedition industry that supports them. Many of the clients expose themselves as shallow, disrespectful, spoiled children frankly. Only one or two seem to get that without the Sherpa taking the burden of the risk, their dreams would not be possible.
Russel Brice, expedition organiser, despite his “continued attempts to campaign for a safer Everest” exposes himself as a self-serving exploitative, man – and he’s possibly one of the better western businesses on the mountain. I don’t doubt that he cares and worries about his team but seemingly only in the context of their benefit to his bottom line.
The Nepalese government doesn’t come out covered in glory either.
The Sherpa on the other hand come across as respectful, dignified, principled, and unprepared to take the shit any longer. By sticking together, they managed to negotiate better recognition of their dangerous work, improved working conditions, and proper compensation for themselves and their families from Nepalese government. Good on them.
The film is beautifully and sensitively shot and about as close to Everest as most people should get… Bring the mountain to the people not the other way round.
A brawl on Everest? Director Jennifer Peedom set out to uncover tension in the 2014 Everest climbing season from the Sherpas’ point of view and instead captured a tragedy when an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpas. Sherpa tells the story of how the Sherpas united after the tragedy in the face of fierce opposition, to reclaim the mountain they call Chomolungma. www.sherpafilm.com
This film made me think twice about my future travel choices – not that I’d considered climbing Everest or anything, but I have certainly thought trekking and photography in the area would be a wonderful adventure.
Kudos to the Sherpa and others doing similar work across the world in order that we may fulfill our travel dreams.