In 1996 three expeditions venture up Everest at the same time, with the obvious intention of reaching the summit. Rob Hall, the leader of one of the groups, is an experienced climber who has led many successful expeditions up the mountain. However, this climb brings its own challenges. The weather is unpredictable and they are attempting to take a lot of people up in the short amount of time they have.
This is an incredible story of endurance and struggle – there are breathtaking shots of the mountain and much of the time the climbers are forging their way through, snow, ice and freezing temperatures. You cannot help but feel cold as you watch these characters battling against almost impossible odds. One of them, a humble postman, is doing it to show to his kids that an ordinary guy can do this superhuman thing.
We talk of the world getting smaller these days, but there are moments in this film when we see again the massive size of creation, and the smallness of people. The climbers are trained and equipped, but as one character states, ‘The mountain always has the last word.’ When they are losing contact with another climber, one of the characters says, ‘He might as well be on the moon.’ In the biblical Psalm 8, when the writer looks up and sees the vast night sky, he wonders aloud, ‘What are mortals that you Lord should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?’ This film reminds me so much of this. The climbers appear so, so tiny against the backdrop of the mountain. Yet the Bible assures us that we have a God who understands that we are small and sometimes weak, but he never overlooks us, or sees us as insignificant. We really matter. ‘See how much our heavenly father loves us, his love is so great that we are called his children.’ So writes John in his first letter. (1 John 3 v 1)