If one is to delve into the wealth of mountaineering lit that is easily attained, it doesn't take long to understand that mountaineering on tourism mountains like Everest (and now it seems K2), is ultimately an exercise in selfishness. A team experienced in mountaineering, minimising risks on a tough to conquer mountain is fine. Standing in a queue under a massive Serac, well past the turn-back time, deep in the Deathzone, is not mountaineering. In scenarios like that, I root for the mountain.
In this respect, I believe "The Summit" performs well. Blondie's crocodile tears seem specifically edited to fool no-one. The other protagonists all seem at ease with their dis-ease. They seem to realise the folly and they don't try to paint themselves in any more of a appealing light. So from that respect, the interviews with the survivors seem believable.
However the documentary is very fragmented and often confusing. No major attempt is made to shed further light on this wipe-out of human life and if you're looking for facts, you'll struggle.
The hero of this Irish doc is Ger McDonnell. The only climber who seemed to acquit him or herself with any bravery that those without a notion of the dangers of high altitude, could find remote sympathy for. While others struggled for their lives, he is portrayed as a hero, almost unaffected by his surroundings. In truth, the gravity of the situation is not well portrayed. With this in mind, watch "Touching the Void" or "North Face".
In short, fair play to those involved in the making of this documentary and their are some interesting perspectives (McDonnell's family portray strength and intelligence). If the point is to swipe at tourism mountaineering, then job done. Unfortunately, I've seen much better.
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