Eye For Film >> Movies >> Ama Dablam (2007) Film Review
Reviewed by: Val Kermode
Paul and three of his mates set off to climb Ama Dablam, “the Matterhorn of the Himalayas” on a shoe string, avoiding guided parties and fixed ropes, in October 2006. At first it’s like watching someone’s holiday video, with shaky camera work and random editing. Here we are on the plane. Now we’re buying some stuff in a shop. There’s some people walking through a village. And the wobbly titles don’t help much.
Instead of this scene setting, I would like to have been shown a bit more about the characters. But the three guys sitting next to me, who were climbers, were obviously enjoying this from the start and as the real climb got going I found myself being drawn in by the charming “boys’ adventure” approach.
By the second day , bad weather sets in and things start to get tricky. It takes the lads 10 hours to get to Camp 2. They decide to have a rest day. We see them laughing and joking in their tent, talking about being in a precarious spot. But it’s only when they set off again and the camera pans round that we see just how amazingly exposed the little yellow tent actually was. Similar yellow tents are dotted all around the mountain. It’s like a high altitude car park, but an exceptionally beautiful one.
The next day brings the most difficult part of the climb, on snow and ice, the crampons splintering the fragile rock. After eleven hours this time, they reach Camp 3 when everyone else appears to have gone to bed.
Then it’s on to the summit, at 6,865 metres. By now I was willing Paul to go on, as fatigue was taking its toll and he struggled those last few feet. From below, this “Matterhorn” looks as if it should have a pointy top. (That’s not just me, Joe Simpson thought the same.) Surprisingly, there’s a large flat area, excellent for walking around and savouring your success. The stunning views, including Everest, just went on forever. Although I still didn’t know these guys, I felt so proud of them.Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2008
If you like this, try:Touching The Void