It’s a heartfelt tribute to those frequently forgotten – the Sherpas who do all the dangerous behind-the-scenes work to facilitate the wealthy mountaineers fulfil their dream of conquering the world’s tallest mountain.
Inevitably, Sherpa is awe-inspiring. How could it not be in one of the most dramatically beautiful places on earth? But it also has a story to tell and the daily dangers confronted by the guides. They traverse potentially lethal ice fields 20-30 times in one trip as they move supplies up and down the mountain (the ‘clients’ do it twice). But Sherpa was being filmed in April 2014 – on 18 April, a 14,000 ton ice block sheared away from the mountain, killing 16 Sherpas.
Australian director Jennifer Peedom (Miracle on Everest) revisits the Himalayas to see what is now a mass industry from the Sherpa perspective. It pulls no punches and firmly wears its heart on its sleeve. But, in doing so, Sherpa adopts a strangely singular mesmeric pace. The result is a moving story that becomes blandly told.