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"The Summit": Things Go Wrong at K2's Death Zone 

Wednesday, Oct 9 2013

The Summit If you try to climb K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth, there's a 1-in-4 chance you'll die, and you're statistically more likely to die descending than ascending. Those are good odds for some people, and Nick Ryan's harrowing documentary focuses on a ragtag conglomeration of climbers who went for it on Aug. 1, 2008. On this deceptively nice day, 18 people made it to the top of the appropriately nicknamed "Savage Mountain," and judging from the pictures, getting to see K2's shadow cast hundreds of miles into China would be worth the climb. (What a bummer if you were to reach the summit at noon!) Only 11 of them made it back down, and through interviews, archival footage, and re-creations of the climb, The Summit attempts to unravel what can charitably be called a clusterfuck: too many people from too many different countries and differing climbing philosophies all tackling K2 at the same time. It's not always clear which of the footage is re-created and which is actually from the expedition, and some of the survivors who are interviewed are also portrayed by actors in the re-creations. This uncertainty helps to gives The Summit an occasionally vertiginous feeling which is of course nothing like climbing K2, but is a whole lot safer.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


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