For the most of us that will never experience standing on the top of Mount Everest, mountaineer Elia Saikaly filmed the final moments of his climb as he and his team reached the summit. The result is an intense film, where you feel every step and breath they took to achieve their goal.
My goal was to create a video that would transport viewers to the summit of Mt. Everest. No music. No sound effects. No slow motion. No extreme wide angle helmet-cam footage. Just the raw sound of the environment, the flow of oxygen being inhaled through climbers’ masks and the deep struggle and gasps for air as each person endures, suffers and ultimately prevails.
Climbing into the death zone at the cruising altitude of a 747 jetliner is a serious undertaking. They call it the ‘death zone’ because your body literally starts to die. You are deteriorating faster than you can recover. You are on the edge of space and the margin of safety is razor thin. You’re racing against the clock to descend before the weather turns and you’ve got approximately one-third of the atmospheric pressure at 29,000ft above sea level. Everything, as a result, is excruciatingly painful, difficult and slow. For most climbers, this is the most physically and mentally demanding moment of their lives.