Chronicling High Climbs and Alpine Misdemeanors

Aug 9, 2011
Outside Magazine

Back in March, Eric Hansen profiled 87-year-old Himalayan record keeper Elizabeth Hawley for Outside. Now there are plans to film a documentary about the woman whose records contain information about roughly 80,000 ascents of 340 Nepalese peaks. She's the ultimate source on whether a Himalayan climb happened, and has called into question more than a few elevated records claimed by athletes in the neighboring mountains.

Hawley started her chronicles more than 50 years ago after moving to Kathmandu to report for Reuters. Now, she is the most trusted source for climbing records in the region.

"If I need information about climbing 8,000-meter peaks, I go to her," says Italian climbing legend Reinhold Messner. "She has everything."

"She's the queen," says Beth Heller, director of the American Alpine Club Library. "There is nothing else like her records."

To tell her story in a documentary, the group from RealLab Productions—led by former Outside Adventure Film School student Allison Otto—opened a Kickstarter page to raise funds. They reached their goal and will soon start filming. Check out the video above to see what's in store.

--Joe Spring

Filed To: Adventure, Climbing

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