Large everest

The Summit Film

Friday, October 4, 2013
This past Monday, Discover Outdoors snagged some tickets to an advanced screening of Sundance Winner The Summit. It was bound to be an exciting night as the film was screening at IFC in the Village and director Nick Ryan was talking afterwards.

For those who haven't heard of The Summit it's the story of the 2008 mountaineering tragedy on K2, the Savage Mountain.

Today we interview Discover Outdoors guide and Director of Operations Max Stewart to get his take on the new film. While Max hasn't been to K2 yet, he came to the movie with significant mountaineering experience including Aconcagua, Denali, Mont Blanc and Elbrus.

What was the best part of the film?
I had several favorites for the same reasons. Any time there was a big group decision being made, which directly effected the overall safety of everyone on the mountain, the decision making process was very interesting to me. There was a general sense of "someone just fell, but they weren't on my team, so I'm gonna keep moving forward and let them fend for themselves". This happens more often than not these days, so I thought it was interesting to see the discussions and thought processes throughout the expedition.

So would you recommend it?
100%. I think the film did a great job of portraying the nuances of coordinating big climbs with multiple teams. The "round-table" type discussions that happened to determine who was going to do what from each team. The realization that some teams showed up empty handed, hoping to tag-along basically, and others that just showed up totally un-prepared. These are big problems happening all the time on big mountains. I think films like this are great to show that it's not all pretty sunrises, and if you pay enough money it'll all be taken care of. There's quite a bit of responsibility that comes with deciding that you're going to put yourself on a mountain with other climbers, and that your preparedness directly affects their safety, regardless of whether you signed up with them or not. Once you start sharing a route, rope, etc., you're essentially affecting others in front or behind you.

I heard that the director was at the screening. What was that like?
Nick Ryan was great, super humble and personable. This was the first movie he had done in this type of setting, and over beers afterward, he shared a few stories of the learning curve he went through personally while making the film. The film crew put themselves on a big mountain, surrounded by climbers and sherpas, and lots of equipment. There are a lot of personalities right there already, then you've got the producers, financiers, etc. Everyone with an opinion on how the story is presented. I think Nick did an excellent job managing all of those personalities, while preserving and portraying an incredible event in the world of mountaineering. Bravo! I don't remember the name of the bar we went to"_but it was perfect. The Sherpa crew from Tent and Trails came out and joined us, including Pemba Sherpa. Its always nice to be able to shake the hand of someone who selflessly helps to save the life of others.

The Summit comes out in theaters tomorrow so make sure to check it out if you can.

Submitted by Sarah Knapp.

Categories: Adventure