/ K2 film tonight BBC4

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L.A. on 05 Feb 2014
K2: The Killer Summit: Storyville
Documentary exploring the 2008 expedition featuring Irish climber Ger McDonnell, who faced a heart-breaking dilemma during his attempt to conquer K2, one of the world's most dangerous peaks. The series of events is retold through re-creations, home-movie footage and interviews with survivors and family members, bringing to life one of the deadliest days in mountaineering history during which 11 people died
Category Documentary
Director Nick Ryan
Series Editor Nick Fraser
BBC4 9:00pm-10:20pm (1 hour 20 minutes)
goatee - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to L.A.:

Looks to be the same one that was on in Ireland a few weeks ago. It is a great film, well worth checking out.
jack_44 - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to L.A.:

Is this the same expedition covered by the book "Don't look down"?
L.A. on 05 Feb 2014
neilwiltshire on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to jack_44:

Assuming you mean No Way Down, then yes it is.
felt - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to neilwiltshire:

It's like a random fruit machine

No Way Down
No Way Back
No Look Back
No Look Way
Don't Look Now
Don't Look Back
Don't Way Now
Don't Look Way

Take your pick

L.A. on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to felt:

or as Elvis said...
Way on Down
manumartin - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to L.A.:

'The Time Has Come'

This book about the life of the amazing Ger McDonnell is a must read. Written
by Damien O’Brien, 'The Time Has Come' for me is a superbly researched celebration of his life and achievements.
jack_44 - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to L.A.:

Ah yes, 'No way down', my mistake, 'Don't look down' was the programme about James Kingston climbing cranes!
stevieweesaxs107 - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to L.A.:

Cheers Mate good shout I'll be Tuning in
felt - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to jack_44:

Don't Look Now is of course the real classic
Muel - on 11 Feb 2014
streetfighterjeff on 11 Feb 2014 -
In reply to L.A.:

missed it last night, going to try and catch it on i player.
Martin W on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to L.A.: I watched the first half of it last night before turning in.

I wasn't entirely happy with the reconstructions. For example, the episode of Mandić's fall and that of Jehan Baig subsequently I think could have been recounted better by using first-hand witness accounts - yes, even just talking heads - and whatever photographs and footage were available from the time (with due sensitivity to those affected by the events). As it was, it seemed more like an scene that didn't quite make it in to the final cut of Vertical Limit. I felt that it strayed dangerously close to sensationalism, which is hardly appropriate given that the situation led to the sad loss of so many real people's lives.
Milesy - on 11 Feb 2014
In reply to Martin W:

I have "K2 - A Cry From The Top Of The World" which has the original footage without the dramatisation. I thought the dramatisation of front point vertical climbing on the serac on the way down was a bit much
Martin W on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to Milesy: Thanks, I'll try to get hold of a copy of that.

I watched the rest of the Storyville programme last night and it didn't get any better IMO. What was all the stuff at the end about, trying to pick apart Pemba's and Confortola's accounts apparently in an attempt to put the best possible light on McDonell's actions? I don't think there's any doubt that he put in a lot of effort to try to help the Korean team, but I don't see any reason to imply - as the programme seemed to do - that Confortola was being evasive or deliberately misleading in the accounts he gave of what went on up there, while apparently glossing over the effort that the Italian had himself put in to try to help the Koreans - an effort that ended up with him so exhausted that he had to be rescued.

The director is quoted on the BBC web site as follows;

...when I was told that of every four people to have stood on the summit of K2 one has died trying to get there, I wanted to know why someone would put themselves at such risk. Not being a climber myself, it seemed a peculiar form of insanity, and in the light of the August 2008 summit attempt, a particularly tragic one.

I think that casts a rather disquieting light on the apparent motivations behind this film. Is he suggesting that, for example, McDonell's motivation was to be able to rescue people, hence the focus on him towards the end of the film? All a bit bizarre. Not to mention the director's logic: how can one in four of those who have summitted K2 died trying to get there? That's as questionable as the assertion that K2 is "the world's deadliest mountain" (it's my understanding that Annapurna has a significantly higher % fatality rate).

So, as well as rather unforgivably crossing the line from dramatisation into sensationalism on more than one occasion, I think the programme's basic purpose was muddled, while some aspects of its account of the events seemed to have a covert agenda that it was unable to admit to.

But at least the pictures of K2 were pretty. So that's OK then.
Pursued by a bear - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to Martin W: I think one of the problems with the programme is that it was designed to appeal to a broad audience, many of whom would have been attracted in by the tragic events that took place. People on this forum and mountaineers in general were not the audience at whom the programme was aimed.

That means that the more informed nature of the comments here may not resonate with the programme makers. Doesn't mean they're wrong - far from it - but neither does it mean the programme makers will think they goofed if the comments from non-informed audiences are more in keeping with what they wanted.

Sensationalism sells, unfortunately.

allanscott - on 13 Feb 2014
In reply to L.A.:

You'd be better reading the book No Way Down by Graham Bowley. Narrative literally had me in tears which is odd for any book. Film had me in tears too but tears of boredom I'm afraid.
radson - on 14 Feb 2014
In reply to Martin W:

I thought that was a pretty good rundown. I watched the programme on inflight entertainment and yeah the whole thing left me very much perplexed. I thought the Italian was unfairly demonised and that McDonnell perhaps given the opposite treatment. I also thought Bonatti's inclusion would have left a lot of people scratching their head. Didn't seem to flow very well.
pass and peak - on 14 Feb 2014
In reply to Pursued by a bear:

Couldn't agree more, one of the better drama documentaries Iv'e seen!

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