The Everest Movie

Because I just came back from climbing on Mount Everest five months ago, people keep asking me about the new blockbuster movie, “Everest”.  They’re curious how the film compares to actually scaling the mountain.

Here’s my perspective: Unless you plan to buy a down suit and spend two months climbing Mount Everest, then seeing the “Everest” movie is as close as you can get to experiencing what it’s like to climb the world’s tallest mountain.

Everest ppt branded

Sunrise in Nepal, with Lhotse backlit in the center, and the triangular summit of Mount Everest to the left.

Wonderful Sensory Treat

Through an excellent combination of mountain cinematography and expert computer graphics, the film faithfully reproduces the look and sounds of Nepal, the Khumbu Valley and Everest itself. Having just been there, whenever the camera panned across the spectacular landscape, it all looked accurate to me.

The grandeur of an icy summit soaring almost six miles into the sky is stirring, humbling and empowering. The broad sweep of a thousand white mountains draws your eye to the horizon.

Also, the film truthfully shows that on a bad day, Everest is as scary and dangerous as a mountain can get. Raging wind and cold pull away your warmth, making you wish you were miles lower on some beach. When your oxygen-starved muscles falter, you suffer and struggle. Everest can be deadly and unforgiving. It all felt quite accurate to me.

Jim Davidson at Camp1 on Everest (19,900 feet) the morning after the April 25 earthquake.

Jim Davidson at Camp 1 on Everest (19,900 feet) the morning after the April 25 earthquake.

It’s Just a Movie

The Everest movie is:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Made by Hollywood
  3. “Based on a true story”


That all means it contains some:

  • Technical inaccuracies
  • Factual over simplifications
  • Exaggerated character development
  • Flamboyant dialogue
  • Made up scenes and situations

It is not a fact-based documentary, nor is it a faithful reproduction of any single book about the 1996 Everest disaster. It most closely follows the memoir Left for Dead, by Beck Weathers (not the more widely known book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer).

In conclusion, unless you really intend to dedicate years of your life preparing to climb up to 29,000 feet, then watching the movie is as close as you can get to climbing Everest.

Sharing Everest Videos

When I was climbing on Mount Everest this spring, I shot many videos, including during and after the devastating Nepal earthquake on April 25, 2015. I have been sharing some of that powerful video with audiences at my Everest Resilience presentations recently.

In the weeks ahead, I’ll be posting short video clips from my 2015 Everest trip here on this blog. I will also distill some crucial lessons about resilience, teamwork, community and growth.

So, stay tuned.  Stay resilient!

Jim Davidson, Speaking of Adventure