Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Summit": Things Go Wrong at K2's Death Zone 

Wednesday, Oct 9 2013

The Summit If you try to climb K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth, there's a 1-in-4 chance you'll die, and you're statistically more likely to die descending than ascending. Those are good odds for some people, and Nick Ryan's harrowing documentary focuses on a ragtag conglomeration of climbers who went for it on Aug. 1, 2008. On this deceptively nice day, 18 people made it to the top of the appropriately nicknamed "Savage Mountain," and judging from the pictures, getting to see K2's shadow cast hundreds of miles into China would be worth the climb. (What a bummer if you were to reach the summit at noon!) Only 11 of them made it back down, and through interviews, archival footage, and re-creations of the climb, The Summit attempts to unravel what can charitably be called a clusterfuck: too many people from too many different countries and differing climbing philosophies all tackling K2 at the same time. It's not always clear which of the footage is re-created and which is actually from the expedition, and some of the survivors who are interviewed are also portrayed by actors in the re-creations. This uncertainty helps to gives The Summit an occasionally vertiginous feeling which is of course nothing like climbing K2, but is a whole lot safer.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"