Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Getting on top is only half-way
on July 5, 2012
Even if you know the story of Mike Rheingerger and Mark Whetu - and chances are, if you want to see this movie you're familiar enough with the history of climbing on Everest to have heard of them - this documentary is still a chilling, intense experience. You see Rheingerger talking on tape about his ambition, his dream, his obsession with Mount Everest, then you see him and Whetu climbing, slowly, awkwardly trudging up the Northeast ridge; then he's finally at the top, hugging the mountain as dusk falls ominously around him and his triumph turns into tragedy. The night settles in, the two exhausted climbers sleep out in the open. The next morning the agonizing descent begins and Mark Whetu's increasingly fruitless efforts to bring Rheinberger, severely impaired by altitude sickness, down the mountain, step by step, stumbling and falling, lead nowhere. And then he's left alone on the mountain to die. We can only imagine his last moments, lying in the snow, waiting, suffering - delirious, frostbitten and feeling almost warm. Did he have a sudden moment of lucidity and asked himself - is it worth dying for Everest?
Original footage from the climb makes the experience particularly harrowing. This is not unlike Shriya Shah-Klorfine's tragic climb in 2012 - she posted her progress on her facebook page and on her personal web site, only to turn both into funeral homes.