In “The Ghosts Above,” Sony Artisan photographer and filmmaker Renan Ozturk join an expedition to solve the Mount Everest mystery of who reached the summit first.
A really brutal expedition. You read about the gruesome open graveyard that is Everest but it’s not often shown. It looks wrenching. Using bodies as back rests. So tired you can’t care. Their exhaustion is so apparent, I wonder how they felt editing the footage and seeing how badly they were doing. They struggle to put together sentences. They arrive at Camp III too tired to set up tents and decide to sleep in abandoned, half broken tents. It’s horrifying as a viewer to watch their mental capacity erode, for everything to go but their resolve. This is how you get people who just sit down and die on the way to the top, or the way back down. Frankly I’m glad not to be someone with that kind of drive, someone willing to turn back without reaching the end because getting home again is always the most important to me.
This documentary centers on Ozturk’s experience on the expedition, and they also made a longer one for National Geographic I haven’t watched yet. He speaks bluntly about how he wishes to respect the Sherpa people but acknowledges he’s a colonizer. I was impressed with how he handled himself and some decisions he made.
I’ve always been captivated by the mystery of whether Mallory and Irvine made it, so I had to watch this.