Directed by Dave Ohlson. Released 2012. 75 minutes. Narrated by Simone Leorin. Starring Fabrizio Zangrilli, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Jake Meyer, Chris Szymiec. Filmed in 2009.
Mountaineers Fabrizio Zangrilli on his fourth K2 attempt, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner with her partner and camera man David Gottler, Jake Meyer and Chris Szymiec attempt to climb K2 by the Cesan route on the 100-year anniversary of the Duke of Abruzzi's landmark expedition in 1909. Studio interviews and live interviews from base camp provide insights into why they climb. The film follows the team's journey from Islamabad to Skardu and on to Askole where they trek to Paiju, Concordia and on to base camp. On June 23 Italian skiier climber Michele Fait dies on a fall and creates a somber start to the climb. Fabrizio: "This is what we do. We have chosen to accept the consequences." Jake: "This is where we feel most truly alive." Fabrizio likens it to walking meditation.
They climb and set up camps while having to descend and wait out bad weather at base camp. In late July Fabrizio, Gerlinde and David attempt a summit push with Fabrizio turning around at camp 4 and Gerlinde and David turning around after attempting the rocks to the side of the bottleneck. They descend to base camp and have an all expeditions meeting to make one last attempt. Once again they push up the Cesan route with Jake turning around. On August 4, Gerlinde leads through the bottleneck on a beautiful sunny day, but waste deep snow halts their progress.
The documentary nicely justaposes films and photos from 1909 with 2009. The photos from 1909 are so vivid they could have been taken in 2009. The filming is excellent with just the right pacing between interviews, 1909 footage and climbing.