The feature length doc “The Summit,” competing in this year’s Word Documentary competition at the soon-to-be underway Sundance Film Festival, recounts in detail the deadliest day in modern mountain climbing history on K2; commonly referred to as Savage Mountain (it has an unprecedented fatality rate of one in four climbers). Ahead of the film’s world premiere on January 18 in Park City, Indiewire has an exclusive seen.
“At the heart of ‘The Summit’ lies a mystery about one extraordinary man, Ger McDonnell, the first Irishman to summit K2,” the filmmakers shared with Indiewire. “His team leader left him behind in the death zone, his best friend on the mountain, Pemba Gyalje Sherpa, searched in vain to find him, rescuing several others. Ger’s final moments have been called into question by the last climber who spoke to him alive. By all accounts, he was faced with a heart-breaking dilemma— at the very limit of his mortal resources, he stumbled onto a disastrous scene: three climbers tangled up in ropes and running out of time. Had Ger McDonnell stuck to the climbers’ code, he might still be alive.”
Watch the scene unfold below: