by Mario Casella and Fulvio Mariani. In Italian. 69 minutes. Filmed in 2002. Extras include a 157-page book without photos by Mario Casella about the expedition. This film follows a 2002 Swiss / Italian expedition as they attempt to climb Gasherbrum IV by the first ascent route.
The expedition team arrives in Pakistan just as military tensions rise between Pakistan and India. They quickly reach Skardu where we see the life of the common people like washing clothes in the river, the shops and the markets. The team drives in a jeep to Askole contrasted with the 1958 expedition who had to cross the Indus on a raft and trek. They hire porters in Askole and trek to Paiju, where the porters bake bread and prepare meat, and sing and dance just like they did in 1958. The weather is perfect as they trek along the Baltoro Glacier with views of Trango Towers, Uli Biaho, Cathedral Peaks, and Gasherbrum IV. They pass military camps at Urdukas and on the Baltoro Glacier, scattered with green cans and garbage.
They set up base camp (5100m) and climb through the glacier to set up Camp 1, with excellent views of Gasherbrum I, II, II and IV. Bad weather forces them back to base camp where they see a military helicopter dropping off supplies at a Pakistani Army camp on the Conway Saddle (6110m). They climb back up and set up camp 2 (6100m) and move towards the icefall below the col between Gasherbrum III and IV. After another spell of bad weather, they climb through the icefall to set up camp 3. They call off the expedition with more bad weather and increasing avalanche danger. We see a brief snippet of the 1958 expedition as Walter Bonatti reaches the summit ridge.
The filming is excellent with a good balance between the lives of the porters, the mountain scenery, climbing, and the day-to-day lives at the camps. The views from the Baltoro Glacier and of the Gasherbrums from camp 1 is excellent. I really liked the time-lapse film of sunrise from Urdukas of Uli Biaho Tower to the Cathedral Peaks. It's a pity the team didn't get to climb the Gasherbrum IV ridge - that would have been fascinating.