Three climbers, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, attempt to ascend Meru, a mountain in the Himalayas, up the Shark’s Fin route which looks exactly as it sounds. They are not successful. While planning a return trip all three face hardships, each worse than the last. Conrad has to decide if he can leave his wife and children, a family that already lost one father to a climbing disaster. Jimmy miraculously survives an avalanche and is soul searching to figure out what to do with this second chance at life. Renan suffers a horrific head and neck injury but against all odds recovers and believes he is ready to climb Meru, despite the warnings of his doctors. All three return in October 2011 to Meru and conquer the peak.
I have no desire to rock climb, and this movie reaffirmed that for me, but the visuals are astounding. Seeing the tent secured in midair off the side of a peak and knowing that these guys were able to sleep that way was the perfect illustration to me that these guys love what they are doing and trust in their gear and each other. This is a stunning film that brings home the realities of the dangers of this sport in a number of ways, but the perseverance of these men, and the sights we as the audience get to see, make this a documentary not to miss.