Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
“Coming back down is the hard and deadly part in mountain climbing: Climbers are exhausted, and can become careless in the euphoria of their accomplishment. This document of the notorious quest to the top of K2 in 2008, considered more daunting than conquering Mt. Everest, is a heart-throbbing experience. In that quest, 11 of 24 expert climbers lost their lives. A packed, Sunday night house [at Sundance 2013] was spellbound, some viewers clutching their seats while experiencing this mesmeric film.
Mixing archival footage with glorious footage of the mountains themselves, director Nick Ryan charts, essentially, an autopsy of the deadly and controversial trek. After the world learned of the carnage, and the Internet erupted with provocative and often premature conclusions, the ‘truth’ of the trek was lost. International outcry heightened when it was learned that mountain climbers who had fallen had been abandoned to die. In short, this document is an attempt to set the record straight, and it’s also a moving testament to the courage, resourcefulness and skills of the diverse mix of adventurers who teamed in this quest.
Screenwriter Mark Monroe intelligently blends an account of the immediacy of the climb with a back-story insight into the dynamics of such a death-defying mission. It’s a stirring mix… Similarly, the technical contributions merge in ferocious splendor: Howling winds, topped off by Nick Seymour’s edgy musical score, acclimatize our senses to the deep drops and harrowing heights of The Summit.” — Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter