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La Ruta de Alejandro Magno (Al Filo de lo Imposible)

La Ruta de Alejandro Magno (Al Filo de lo Imposible), Pakistan, 24 November 2002

by Sebastian Alvaro. Al Filo De Lo Imposible, Spanish TV. 107 minutes. Filmed in 1999. Released 2002. Spanish mountaineers Jose Carlos Tamayo, Felix and Alberto Iñurrategi, and Jon Lazcano follow the Route of Alexander The Great, climbing Mount Olympus (2919m) in Greece, briefly visiting Athens, Persepolis and Tehran, climbing Alam Kooh (4850m) and Damavand (5671m) in Iran, and climbing Trango Tower (6230m) and Nanga Parbat (8125m) in Pakistan.

Story

After Greece and Iran their bus trip continues to Pakistan with a few city scenes and a visit to Hindu Kush and scenes of the villages, children, and women in beautiful traditional dress. The four mountaineers then travel to the Baltoro area where they climb Trango Nameless Tower (6230m), using lots of artificial aids. There is a spectacular view of the Karakoram from the summit.

The second half of the film begins with the bus trip and trek to the Diamir Base Camp to climb Nanga Parbat using the Kinshofer Route. As soon as they set up base camp, they are asked to help an injured climber at Camp 2. They climb the glacier, snow covered rocks, and rocks to Camp 2, with one of the high altitude porters carrying a stretcher. They strap the badly injured Columbian climber, Volker Stalbhom, to the stretcher and slowly lower him down the Diamir Face and a helicopter flies him out.

The climbers start again for the mountain and climb up ice and steep rocks to Camp 2 where they cook and eat pasta. The ever present danger of avalanches is illustrated with footage of enormous avalanches going down the face. They leave early in the morning and continue the climb up the ice and snow, getting slower and resting often as they gain altitude. Long telephoto shots are used to tell us where the climbers are and the enormity of their undertaking. Looking quite knackered, they squeeze into a small bivouac tent and eat and rest. They then continue up rocks with Jose Carlos Tamayo, and Felix and Alberto Iñurrategi reaching the summit in clear perfect weather on July 29, 1999. The camera circles around the summit, looking down on the Buhl route, as they enjoy the view and take photos.

There is also a short interview with Reinhold Messner who talks about his 1970 descent down the Diamir Face and his brother Gunther's death, and some footage from 1930s German climbs and Hans Ertl's 1953 film of the first ascent.

The filming of the Diamir face is excellent, clearly showing the climbing route and the summit area. The sunset scenes are especially beautiful. They use close up, broad view, and extreme telephoto to give the depth and scale and steepness of the climb. The rescue clearly illustrates the danger of mountain climbing and the difficulty of being rescued.

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