Everest

Everest movie is a fantastic 3D experience. From the beginning you feel a part of the story. Baltasar Kormákur directs the screenplay by William Nicholson, and Simon Beaufoy with the outstanding cast of, Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, and Jake Gyllenhaal. I highly recommend this movie. Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind.  Their mettle tested by the harshest elements found on the planet, the climbers will face nearly impossible obstacles as a lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival. www.EverestMovie.com

The plot from Wikipedia, spoilers ahead.

In May 1996, two expeditions, Adventure Consultants and Mountain Madness, meet at base camp and prepare to summit Mount Everest in the following days. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) is one of three guides for Adventure Consultants, whose eight clients include Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), who had been climbing for ten years, Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), who was climbing to prove an ordinary man can pursue an extraordinary dream, and Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), who had previously climbed six of the Seven Summits and was attempting to become the oldest woman to summit Everest. Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) was the guide for Mountain Madness.

A month earlier in the day he leaves New Zealand for Nepal, Rob says goodbye to his pregnant wife, Jen (Keira Knightley), and promises her he’ll be back in time for the birth. Later on, while at base camp, she sends him a fax message to inform him that the baby is going to be a girl, and he suggests they name her Sarah, which Jen isn’t too keen on. There, the two expeditions are introduced to Helen Wilton (Emily Watson), the base camp manager, who keeps in contact with all of them via walkie-talkies while they climb. On May 7th, they climb from base camp to Camp II, which includes walking across a fixed ladder to get from one section of the mountain to the next. Suddenly, large chunks of ice fall away under the strain of too many climbers crossing one after the other and it almost detaches, which concerns Rob. He tries to persuade the opposite group to ascend at a later date but they refuse. Therefore, both expeditions keep climbing and reach Camp IV on May 9th, starting to use the supplemental oxygen when needed.

They later reach the “death zone” and set off in the early hours of May 10th from the South Col, with a plan to reach the top and turn around by 2:00pm, the last safe time to reach base camp before nightfall. Smaller expeditions sponsored by the government of Taiwan and India also ascend in the same morning, but from the North Face. On the way up, they quickly encounter delays. Upon reaching a bottleneck at the Hillary Step, they discover that no fixed line has been put in place and are forced to wait an hour while the guides install one, which pushes their time plan back considerably. Three climbers decide to turn back. Meanwhile, Beck takes a break after his vision decreases. He informs Rob that he had an operation the year before, but believes he will be fine after he rests for a while. Rob allows him half an hour, but tells him he must turn back if he can’t see better by then.

Gradually, the climbers reach the top of Everest one by one. Anatoli Boukreev (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) is the first to do so at 1:07pm, with Rob follows soon after, but many others don’t reach the summit by 2:00pm as planned due to several more stops along the way. Yasuko also reaches the top and plants her Japan flag into the snow, thanking God and celebrating with Rob, who tells her how proud of her he is. During this time, Boukreev notices that the weather does not look good and at 3:00pm, snow starts to fall and the light slowly diminishes. On his way back down, Rob encounters Doug struggling just above the Hillary Step and orders him to turn back since it’s too late to keep going, but Doug expresses that he won’t get the chance to do this again and says he must go on. Knowing how important it is to him, Rob agrees and goes with him back up, and they reach the top several minutes later. Scott did not summit until around 3:45pm, exhausted and becoming increasingly ill after suffering from high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) even before he started his ascent, but didn’t tell anyone. He tells the two climbers he’s descending with to carry on without him.

The weather begins to worsen, particularly the blizzard on the south side of the mountain, causing much difficulty for descending members. Supplemental oxygen is also running out and there are no full emergency tanks hidden where Rob had asked. Doug falls unconscious from lack of oxygen, so Rob radios Helen at base camp to send somebody back up with tanks and water, knowing they are in trouble. When Rob leaves Doug for a moment, he unbuckles his carabiner from the guide rope and allows the heavy wind to knock him off the ridge to his death. Meanwhile, several climbers nearing the bottom pass by Beck, who is still sitting down on the Balcony, who tells them that he cannot see. He has become temporarily blinded by the effects of high altitude and overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. They all pull together to help him down. Beck, unable to see clearly, trips and knocks several climbers down the mountain some 20m from a drop off of the Kangshung Face. They later become lost after the blizzard obliterates the trail back to Camp IV and end up wandering around until after midnight, until they can no longer walk. When the blizzard clears, three of them set off to find help, leaving Beck and Yasuko behind.

Andy Harris (Martin Henderson), one of the other guides for Adventure Consultants, makes his way back up the mountain with oxygen for Rob and Doug, only to be told that Doug is “gone”. Unable to move due to the blizzard, Rob and Andy are forced to wait it out on the side of the mountain. Soon after, Andy, suffering from hypoxia, hallucinates that he’s overheating. He strips off his clothes and accidentally kills himself while Rob lies next to him. In the early hours of May 11th, Hall radios, base camp to tell them that he is still at the top of Hillary Step but Doug and Andy are gone. Helen and others break down in tears. They tell Rob that he needs to start making his way down now before he gets any worse, but he informs them that his hands and feet are frozen, and his oxygen regulator is blocked with ice. They call Jen and put the phone near the walkie-talkie so they can hear one another, believing that if anyone can get Rob down the mountain, she can. She tells him he’s got to get moving and he tries, but doesn’t get far. Shortly after, knowing he doesn’t have much time left, Helen calls Jen again to inform her he is still up there and puts her back on to Rob. He tells her he is cold but comfortable, asks her to name their daughter Sarah, and finally says, “Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don’t worry too much.”

Scott, now alone, knows he cannot make it back and lies down in the snow before slowly passing away. Boukreev later finds him dead on the mountain and shrouds his face with his backpack. His body remains on the mountain to this day. Many climbers reach base camp with the news that Beck and Yasuko are still up there and need help, but it’s too dangerous for anyone to ascend because the weather is still treacherous. They eventually agree that they won’t be found alive regardless. Helen calls Beck’s wife and children to inform her of the news. However, later that day, Beck miraculously regains consiciousness and begins walking back to camp alone, much to the surprise of everyone there. He is severely frostbitten and desperately in need of medical assistance, so the group make him warm and comfortable in the tent, believing he won’t make it through the night. Meanwhile, his wife, after later being informed he is in fact alive, calls the American Embassy and organises a helicopter rescue. It’s risky since the air is thin for a helicopter, but the Western Cwm was the only feasible route, becoming one of the highest altitude helicopter medical evacuations.

In the closing scenes, everyone is seen going home. Helen and several other climbers meet Jen at the airport who embrace one another, and Beck returns home to his family. He is bandaged up and later loses his nose and both hands as a result of the frostbite. Jen later gives birth to a daughter, and she names her Sarah.

About The Author: DC Rahe

Contributing Editor