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Nanga Parbat Der todliche Berg (La montagne tueuse)

Nanga Parbat Der todliche Berg (La montagne tueuse), Pakistan, 24 November 2004

By Gerhard Bauer. In German with Fench subtitles. 44 minutes. Filmed in 2004. Released 2005. The video starts innocently enough with scenes of Nanga Parbat base camp, the Diamir face, and interviews with the climbers.

Story

here is a brief review of the first ascent of the Kinshofer Route in 1962 with interviews with Manfred Sturm and Anderl Mannhardt. On June 26, 2004 the climbers leave base camp for their sunmmit attempt. Günter Jung, Jörg Stingl, Jens Triebel, Christian and Markus Walter set out for the summit from Camp IV (7200m) in the early morning hours of June 30. If Günter succeeded, he would become the oldest Nanga Parbat summiter at the age of 64. The snow was deep, their progress slow. Günter was going exceptionally strong, time and again forging ahead and breaking trail. As evening approaches, Jens decides to descend while the others keep going up. Finally, at 9:15 p.m.Jorg, Günter, Christian and Markus reach the summit. Christian and Gunter quickly start the descent while Jorg and Markus take their time on the summit.

At 11.15 p.m. Markus catches up with Günter in the summit couloir. Günter is pretty much exhausted and freezing. Jorg catches them and the three descend together. Around 12.45 p.m. Günter loses his footing! Jörg rushes towards him, tries to stop him, but is knocked off his feet, sliding down with him. After 10 meters Jörg catches himself, but not Günter, who slides into the void at a steady speed. Markus hears the noise, turns around, but is too far away to do anything. From 10 meters away Markus has to watch helplessly as Günter slides past him, vanishing in the void and darkness. A steady sliding noise - after that, silence...

After dawn arrived, Markus wondered if it was possible that Gunter was still alive, and so, rather than go to Camp IV, he headed down the steep slopes to search for Gunter. The terrain gets increasingly steeper, but Markus keeps descending, stumbling, sliding, rolling, catching himself - only to climb on downwards and fall again. Finally his last fall stops almost 600m near the top of the Mummery Rib. After lying motionless in the snow for hours in the snow, he finally wakes up around 5 p.m. and realizes the condition he is in - over 300m below the Bazhin Basin without his hat, gloves, ice axe, ski pole, radio, and his thick down jacket, which fell off in his fall. With only one crampon, he ties one of his two shirts around his head and breaks a new trail upward. At sunset as the cold creeps through his body, he pulls the shirt off his head and puts it on. Around 1 a.m. Christian climbed out of his tent and on to a nearby scarp to look down the wall. Already Markus' shouts sounded much nearer. Shortly before 2 a.m. Markus staggers into his brother's arms - almost 50 hours after they had set out for the summit together. Markus was suffering from bruises, hematoma, and abrasions, as well as frostbite to his ears and a broken vertebra. Thew video ends with their safe descent back to base camp.

Baur intersperses interviews with the four climbers, Michi Schafroth at base camp and reenactments of the events high on the mountain to tell a riveting story packed with emotion and suspense. The filming and pacing are both excellent. The use of video scenes taken from the climber's perspective delivers the frightening experience in vivid detail.

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