Scaling mountain, challenges in documentary

Updated: 2015-08-12 10:48

By NIU YUE in New York(China Daily USA)

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Director Jimmy Chin says that "following your passions is not always a beautiful thing".

"It can be fraught with internal conflict, doubt and intractable compromise. I often ask myself: Where do you draw the line between following your heart and your responsibility to others?" Chin asked.

Chin answers those questions in the documentary Meru, which he co-directed with his wife, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. Meru tells the story of three renowned climbers who navigate nature's harshest elements and their own inner demons to ascend Mount Meru in the Himalayas.

It will be screened on Friday at the Angelika Film Center in New York.

For climbers, Meru is the most complicated and dangerous peak. In the high-stakes game of big-wall climbing, the Shark's Fin on the central peak of Meru (20,700 feet) is the ultimate prize for mountaineers.

Sitting at the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in northern India, the Shark's Fin has seen more failed attempts by elite climbing teams over the past 30 years than any other Himalayan peak.

The film tells the story from October 2008, as three friends - renowned alpine climbers Chin, Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk - arrive in India.

Their planned seven-day excursion unexpectedly devolves into a 20-day march in subzero temperatures with depleted food rations due to a massive storm. Within 100 meters of the elusive summit, their journey - like all previous attempts - falls short.

Heartbroken and defeated, the trio return to their everyday lives, but Mount Meru still beckons. By September 2011, Anker convinces his team to reunite and tackle the Shark's Fin once more, under even more extraordinary circumstances.

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