Human beings seem hopelessly obsessed by challenges. To pit ourselves against whatever nature has to throw at us. To navigate the uncharted seas, scale the most difficult routes on treacherous peaks. Mount Everest has been a beacon for adventurers since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first successful accent of the summit in 1953. Indeed, it has become something of a cottage industry, with the slopes overrun by different teams of mountaineers. Queuing to reach the top.
There is a current glut of climbing and mountaineering films, especially about those daredevils who choose free climbing. The world’s highest mountain has been the subject of countless productions, but The Quest: Nepal tackles the peak from a different angle. Alex Harz makes a very personal pilgrimage to Chomolungma, not only capturing his attempt to fulfil a childhood dream but visiting Nepal and Tibet and uncovering the culture and history which is often overlooked.
Most people seem to treat conquering Everest as an adventure holiday, with little or no interest in what else is around them other than what they need to succeed. It has become a kind of ghastly form of extreme tourism with visitor numbers causing pollution, environmental damage and waste. The Quest: Nepal reminds us of what it actually should mean. The majesty and danger of nature. The people whose lives are based around this industry and the history of an area which remains politically perilous.
The Quest: Nepal is released on TVOD and Digital in North America on 24 May.