Last night we watched the 2015 film Everest; definitely worth watching, by the way. I didn't realise, at first, that it was a true story, and Him Indoors and I did our usual thing with the plot, ie, saying things like "That one's bound to die, his story is the most moving" and "No, he's the stuff of the miraculous solo descent, saving the one-he-didn't-like-much on the way down", etc etc. We both agreed that the kooky character played by Jake Gyllenhaal was not long for this world, to be outlived by the bolshy Texan who would, no doubt, grow less bolshy as the film progressed ~ do you do this, too? Maybe we watch too many films and TV thriller/conspiracy/mystery series, and have grown too plot-cynical! We're worst with TV whodunnits ~ we see how quickly we can name the killer, sometimes congratulating ourselves on correctly guessing 'he did it' within the first ten minutes of a four part series. Prime Suspect was hardly worth watching....
Anyway, back to the film. It is indeed a true account, and very well done it is too. It's about several parties headed by experienced guides who take
|Mountain Goat Rob Hall
Now, I've always been fascinated by polar exploration and have read loads of stuff about Ernest Shackleton in particular. When I've read and watched documentaries about all the risks he took to go where he felt he must, I've often wondered if, when he and Franks Wild and Hurley were planning the expedition, any of them ever felt, even for one tiny little moment, like saying, "I've got a better idea. Shall we just not go?"
....ie, shall we stay here, safe and warm, have long lives with our families, rather than leave them alone and possibly heartbroken? Shall we feed our hunger for adventure some other, slightly less perilous way?
|Shackleton was actually warned that he'd left it too late in the year to go, but did he listen?
Rob Hall of Everest had a pregnant wife. Okay, so she was a mountaineer too, so presumably she understood his obsession, and, okay, Adventure Consultants was his business, but one thing struck me all the way through the film: just how selfish do you have to be to do Everest when your wife is pregnant?
|Josh Brolin as Beck Weathers, Jake Gyllenhaal as Scott Fischer, Jason Clarke as Rob Hall
I know mountaineers and other adventurers have an intense need to risk life and limb and cross terrifying boundaries (I wonder if they ever consider why?), but maybe if you have a spouse and children you should put them first, and come to terms with not being able to do absolutely everything you want in life. As my husband said, when I was expressing this after watching the film, "Absolutely. I've had to accept that I will never shag Angelina Jolie. It's been hard, but I've learnt to deal with it."
|Angelina ~ the peak my husband will never climb
I love reading books and watching films about bravery in the face of great danger and adversity, but those who risk their lives in this way aren't so much brave as a tad foolhardy. They're not like war heroes or rescue crews. They don't have to do it. All that is to be gained is personal satisfaction (and glory...). They could stay at home and be parents to their children, partners to their spouses, children to their parents. One of my best friends was married to a mountaineer. She more or less brought up their son on her own, as hubby was never there. He's still alive, but the marriage isn't, and I will not go into the problems his absences caused her son.
Perhaps the very bravest thing these reckless adventurers could do would be to sacrifice having the back-up of a family, or consider that they might have to temper personal desires for the sake of those they love. On the other hand, adventurers and explorers add colour, excitement and discovery to human life. I dunno. There are two ways of looking at it, I suppose. And Rob Hall's wife is still climbing away, along with her daughter ~ you can read about it HERE. I now have to read the books about it, too; the first one I must get is Into Thin Air.
(Note 24/2/16: Since writing this I've read Into Thin Air; my review is HERE)
Something he said really stuck in my head, which is that climbing Everest should not be compared or classed with adrenalin buzz giving extreme sports such as whitewater rafting or bungee jumping - it's quite the opposite, and more the ultimate endurance test.)
It's a great film; just a shame it's a true story.