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In August 2008, 11 climbers lost their lives after reaching the summit of the worlds second highest mountain, K2. A 48-hour period that will go down in history as the deadliest in modern mountain climbing.

Feature length documentary ‘The Summit’, directed by Nick Ryan, takes the audience through the events leading up to, during, and post that fateful day, including actual footage and photography from the expedition, reconstructions, and interviews with survivors and the families of those lost. The documentary highlights the story of Ger McDonnell, who lost his life despite being an experienced climber. He was the first Irish man to reach the summit of K2 and a real character within the team.

After the confusion that transcended in the media, ‘The Summit’ attempts to chronologically clarify the actual events. Director Nick Ryan explains “There was a lot of commentary as the tragedy unfolded, criticisms about commercial climbing, bad preparation, and lack of experience. The Sherpa’s, especially Pemba, who had done a lot to help save lives, were being written out of the story, and this was initially my attempt to readdress that.”

‘The Summit’ is a moving documentary showing how horrowing and dangerous mountain climbing can be, but at its heart tells a powerful story about survival and sacrifice.
words by Isabella Gamble