40 Days at Base Camp

Dianne Whelan, 89 Minutes

One of the most hotly anticipated Everest films to come out in recent memory, Dianne Whelan’s no-holds-barred documentary uncovers the less palatable side of that emblematic mountain. Whelan focuses on the realities of Everest that we don’t typically see. She holds her camera on porters hauling tons of supplies to Base Camp—and equally massive loads of trash out. Using a mix of frank interviews, handheld confessionals, and compelling scenics, Whelan constructs a narrative about the environmental impact of our mountaineering obsession. We hear from the climbers not usually featured in films. For example, the first Nepali woman to summit Everest suggests, earnestly, that it’s time to stop climbing and just “clean the mountain.”

READ MORE: High Times June 2007, Kevin Fedarko

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