The deadliest day on the worlds most dangerous mountain. Premiering at the London Film Festival. Trailer for the feature documentary below.
The Summit was produced by Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Productions, in association with Passion Pictures, Diamond Docs and Fantastic Films. It is also funded by Irish Film Board, RTE, BAI and BBC Storyville.
Directed and produced by Nick Ryan.
It has been chosen to screen as part of the official competition for a London Film Festival Grierson Award for Best Documentary.
" I would like to send a personal thanks to all the team in the production of this film. Also to all who participated in being a part of this amazing story and for the support given by all of the families and climbers in the making of this film, The Summit." - Pat Falvey
In Memory Of Ger McDonnell and Rolf Bae: This week we remember our good friends Ger McDonnell and Rolf Bae who died on K2, August 2nd, 2008. From their family and friends we have lost two great lovable people. Our thoughts are with their families.
Thoughts of Ger and Rolf:
I just can't believe that three years have gone by since Ger McDonnell and Rolf Bae have passed away on K2. This has had a huge effect on my thinking of the risks we take, especially when it goes to those that we leave behind and our families in particular. Yet we as adventurers would not be who we are unless we follow our dreams and passions. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of those that we love that understand the passion that we have or had as adventurers. This week I celebrate all the good memories of working, climbing and adventuring with two of the most gentle climbers I have known. I think about their families and how much they miss them. I have lost 14 friends on high altitude mountains over 8,000 meters, but none has effected me as much as the death of Ger and Rolf. They are gone to a more heavenly place, they are missed and yes their memory continues on in those of us who knew them. May they R.I.P and never be forgotten.
Irish adventure based film makers, Image Now Films (Dublin) and Pat Falvey Productions (Kerry) achieved a new world record of filming from a helicopter on K2 the second Highest mountain in the World to almost 8,000 meters which is known to climbers as The Death Zone.
'The Summit' film crew reach a new altitude record for aerial filming in a helicopter. Flying to an altitude of 23,500 feet (7,162m) on K2, Nick Ryan operated the Cineflex camera system mounted to the Pakistani Army Ecuriel helicopter, filming aerial footage of the shoulder above Camp 4 and the Serac. Stephen O'Reilly in the backup helicopter reached an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,620m) from where he photographed the mountain.
The Summit: A film about the deadliest day on the worlds most dangerous mountain. The story of the death of 11 climbers on the ill-fated 2008 expedition to the summit of K2.
An epic journey, starting in Islamabad, the crew which consisted of Nick Ryan (director/producer), Stephen O'Reilly (Production manager/Camera), Mike Wright (Camera/Aviation engineer) and Nisar Malik (Pakistan co-ordinator), drove up the Karakorum Highway with 400kg of equipment to Skardu.
With the co-operation of the Pakistan Army Aviation Wing (5th Squadron), they flight tested the Cineflex equipment on Friday 22nd July and carefully observed the notorious weather patterns around K2. Monday the 25th was selected as a flight date, and the crew left the base at Skardu at 7.00am on the 50 minute flight to Paiju and then on to K2 where the mountain was completely clear, enabling the filming of some incredible aerial footage on the Cineflex Hi-Definition system (used extensively in the BBC series Planet Earth).
On behalf of all our production team we want to congratulate Nick and all on the ground in Pakistan for their amazing commitment and dedication of creating the final sequence of shots for our new film "The Summit".
This week we commemorate Ger and Rolf's passing three years ago. May they R.I.P. Their friendship and love are still with us, all of us that had the privilege of being part of their amazing lives. Nick, was very emotional when speaking to him over the weekend as he gave account of this amazing feat.
"We were incredibly lucky to get the weather to see the mountain, as mostly you will see either the top or the bottom of it, but not both. The light was fantastic, and winds low enough for safe flight and allow us to reach such great altitudes. The pilots are amongst the very best in the world and their knowledge of the region enabled this incredible journey. Their assistance and collaboration on the planning of the mission was fantastic. After three years of studying K2 in photos and video, to actually cast your eyes on the mountain was quite a moment. The shear scale of the mountain is breath-taking. To look down on the slopes of the south-east face and realise the climbers who never made it back are still resting there, was an emotional experience for me."
"We are all delighted and are looking forward to seeing some spectacular footage from K2. Nick goes into the final stages of putting all the content together over the coming months and from what I have seen so far, the film is going to be gripping. It tells an amazing story."
"The Summit" is a story of the struggle of man against the mountain. The cost of living in the god foresaken place known to climbers as the "Death Zone" the heroic events of a day that cost the lives of 11 climbers that struggled in the thin air of the world's secpnd highest mountain, K2.
For the first time ever the events are reconstructed by the unsung heroes of mountaineering history - the talented Sherpas, told through interviews by those on the mountain on that ill fated day.
It will tell of Ger McDonnell a young and talented Irish climber who was the first Irish man to summit K2, the worlds most treacherous mountain on the 1st/2nd of August, 2008. He was killed on the descent whilst attempting to rescue two Koreans and Sherpa Jumik.
Image Now Fims (Dublin) and Pat Falvey Productions (Kerry) due for film release towards the end of 2011/early 2012.
TV Release 2013
DVD Release Late 2013.
This film is done in association with The Irish Film Board, RTE and The BBC.
For more information, contact us here at www.patfalvey.com
Here is a link for anyone who didn't see last night's Ger McDonnell Nationwide Special. Recommended viewing with a great insight to Gerard's life and how he left a mark on everyone he met.
For more in formation on this or any of Pat's projects - please contact us here at www.patfalvey.com
RTÉ's Nationwide celebrates local hero Ger McDonnell in a special programme.
Next Monday night (October 4th) at 7.00pm, RTÉ One television will broadcast a special half hour Nationwide programme about the life, achievements and legacy of Kilcornan man, Ger McDonnell - the only Irish person to successfully summit K2 - the holy grail of mountaineers worldwide. Ger raised the Irish flag aloft on top of K2 on August 1st 2008, but tragically, he lost his life on the descent the very next day, heroically attempting to save the lives of three other climbers.
This special Nationwide programme includes never-before-seen footage shot by Ger himself on that final expedition. Local journalist Marian Malone talks to Ger's family and friends, fellow climbers, including the Dutch leader of the 2008 Norit expedition team and Paul Whiting of Mountain Rescue Ireland, who nominated Ger for the posthumously awarded Targa d’Argento Pinzolo Gold Medal - one of a raft of humanitarian awards he has received for bravery. The Targa d’Argento honours those who risk their lives for others in the mountains.
On August 2nd after being on the summit and bivouacking overnight above 8,000 meters (the so-called death zone), Ger found the descent rope anchor to be dislodged or broken. This caused two Koreans and a Sherpa climber to be suspended upside down on ropes below. Ger spent over three hours with an Italian, Marco Confortola, trying to assist. Eventually, Marco was forced to descend as he could do no more; he described the climbers to be like ‘puppets on a string’.
Marco witnessed Ger climbing back up to release the tension on the ropes. Unbelievably, after over another three hours, Ger managed to free the trapped climbers. They were met by two Sherpas who came up to assist their descent. An ice tower or serac gave way above and tragically swept Ger to his death. A second subsequent avalanche hit and claimed the lives of the other five climbers.
Mountain Rescue Ireland nominated Ger because on numerous occasions his concern and actions for fellow climbers embodied the spirit of mountain rescue and outstanding humanitarianism. Last Saturday night, Ger's mother was presented on his behalf with the Meteor Mid-West Media Merit Award at the Press Ball in Limerick.
Prior to making the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow man, Ger’s last dispatch on his website ended prophetically: “Let luck and good fortune prevail, fingers crossed.
Sin é anois a cháirde, tá an t-am ag teacht." Ger was 37 years old.
Produced by Pallaskenry-based local television company, Matt Kelly Productions, the Nationwide special airs next Monday night at 7pm on RTÉ One television.
As the dust settles after the tragic disaster on K2, we would like to thank everyone who expressed their sincerest condolences to the McDonnell family. The condolences book which is being compiled at present will be presented to Ger’s family on completion. If you have not had a chance, and would like to be included in this book, please email us before the end of November.
Reports compiled by Pat Falvey and Niall Foley. As you will appreciate news of this source is patchy as we compile news from K2 and other home teams that are now feeding us information as it occurs. We will be doing our best with what is being relayed to be factual as we can be.
other connections for news
A celebration of Gerard's Life
17th August 2008
Kilcornan Community Centre grounds, Co. Limerick.
A memorial mass for everyone, who’s lives were touched by Ger, are more than welcome. A mass will take place along with a musical celebration following the mass.
All are invited to attend.
Issued on behalf of the McDonnell family.
They would like to thank all of those who are sending in condolences from our home page and also like to thank all of those who have been so considerate in their time of grief in the loss of Ger.
Tribute to Ger McDonnell by Clare O’ Leary
I first met Ger six years ago while preparing for an Everest Expedition; a couple of months later we were in Dublin airport, bound for Kathmandu. It was an exciting time and the 6 of us on the team laughed a lot, had great ole fun and an amazing experience... that expedition also left us with a close bond to one another – the friendships you make with teammates on expedition – living 24 hours a day in one another’s pockets, working towards the same goal, experiencing and sharing the same beauty, hardship, fear, peace and enjoyment, - is very different and the friendship runs deep.
I consider myself lucky to have been on three expeditions with Ger – and also took a trip out to Alaska to train and hang out with him there – I got to see what a great place Alaska is and more so how much he loved it – his many great and close friends, especially Annie, his band, Last Night’s Fun, and the many places he loved to climb and train.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve gone through several of my expedition photos, looking at pictures of Ger. Its amazing how he happy he looks all the time – the outdoors and nature was a real passion for him – it didn’t have to be extreme – even the simple things – like meeting a bear when out on his bike (!) was exciting for him. He reveled in the beauty of the mountains, the camaraderie of teamwork and the simplicity of expedition life.
On the mountain, Ger was exceptionally strong, fast, competent and safe. In all the climbing I’ve done with him, I’ve never seen him under pressure. My sister came out to Everest Base Camp in 2003 and when we met the team in the icefall after their summit bid, she remarked to me – ‘Ger looks like he’s only been to the local shop for a loaf of bread!’ – and it was true; it seemed to take so little out of him.
Ger made friends easily and in him, you knew you had a friend for life. He’s a really genuine, warm hearted, decent guy, full of life, energy and fun. He knew how to enjoy himself and drew people to him – people just enjoyed being in his company – having a laugh, messing about, hearing his stories or listening to him sing or play the bodhran.
For me, one of the things that stood out most about Ger from the start was the warm love he had for his family, particularly his mother. He always spoke a lot about them in a very natural, but touching way. I think that was made me trust him so quickly early on.
Ger’s death has had a profound effect on me and I know also on his many climbing friends. He was and is a very special person, a great inspiration to adventurers and dreamers. Ger’s achievements in mountaineering, particularly mountaineering in Ireland, are huge. Not only that, but his strength and honorability in spending over three and a half hours at 8,300m, attempting to rescue three other climbers, while well aware of the risk to his own life, makes him stand out as a real hero.
I know some people find it hard to understand or accept what draws people to the mountains and such extreme adventure; I think George Mallory sums it up -
‘What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.(George Leigh Mallory, 1922)
It’s hard to believe Ger won’t be coming home again. I hope his family, friends and loved ones can find strength and comfort at this difficult time, knowing that he died doing what he loved, in a place that he loved and having fulfilled a major personal ambition.
May you rest in peace, Ger.
Clare O’ Leary