THE QUEST: Nepal makes you reach for the majesty of the peak – Psychiatric Times | Episode Movies

“This film makes wonderful use of Kathmandu to mentally transport you, like the mountaineers, to the journey ahead.”


It’s 40 degrees below zero. They breathe thin air with a quarter of the oxygen content at sea level. You haven’t slept for 2 days. Every step you take feels like your legs are encased in concrete. They are flanked by 100 m long crevasses.

Is this a form of torture? Maybe the photo on the right shows a climber frozen since 1962? Could this be payment due for buying all that disposable gear at Eastern Mountain Sports? Or maybe it’s a Himalayan scene from an upcoming movie Male cat Movie?

It is worse. Because it’s no joke climbing to Everest Base Camp (17,500 feet) in Khumbu, Nepal after flying to remote Lukla Airport (9400 feet) in what looks like an old toy airplane. Then there is the climb to Camps 1, 2, 3 and 4 (the last one at 23,000ft) – the intermediate stations for those fixated on the climb to the summit (29,032ft).

Let’s start in the capital of Nepal – Kathmandu (4600 ft, population about 846,000, not counting the “urban” sprawl) – like the climbers there THE SEARCH: Nepal. Tourism dominates your first day as your local guide, who speaks fluent English, takes you to a gigantic market of narrow, winding streets lined with vendors at every stripe. Hindu and Buddhist shrines are features of the tour, some restored or under reconstruction after the earthquake (7.8 on the Richter scale) in 2015. The itinerary never bypasses the 24-hour crematorium, where followers of Hinduism lay their dead burn and sweep their remains into a tributary of the Ganges.

This film makes wonderful use of Kathmandu to mentally transport you, like the mountaineers, to the journey ahead. You’ll mingle, pay respect to their historic shrines, witness their dead being cremated in the open air, and find that in many ways you’re a very far from home.

I was in Kathmandu in 1995 and started a trek to the base camp of Annapurna (13,550 feet), the tenth highest mountain in the world (26,545 feet), which is as deadly as Everest to those seeking its summit (not me). The people of Nepal exude a warmth and hospitality that is uncommon today. This immersion in Kathmandu will be the most significant Nepali experience most tourists – and they are legion – will have. THE PURSUIT offers a tender and detailed account of the city – a gift, and no less than the icy places that lie ahead.

The Everest quest then continues to Lukla. THE PURSUIT focuses his cameras on individuals, particularly Ryan Waters (the American lead climber), lightly touching his climbing team, Nepalese Sherpas and guides. Tall, blonde, slim and college-looking, Waters exudes great interest and humanity. only later will you see his unwavering courage when it becomes impossible by most human standards. It’s hard to read – to understand what drove him on this over-the-top and potentially deadly adventure. About 300 climbers have died on Everest; We see the cairns marking their burial sites along the climb.

There isn’t much technical talk in the film’s depictions (not that I mean there to be). We see the exceptional mountaineering gear and massive support team, but they’re not the focus. I had a group of 10 people to help me on my 4 person, non-technical climb. There is not a word in the film about the financing THE PURSUITwhich was certainly a steal given the cost of an Elon Musk SpaceX rocket launch.

We march the white mountain from one harrowing place to another as if we were alongside Waters and his team. This is the closest possible perspective of the mountain and him. Watching Waters persevere with a smile begs the question: why would an individual subject himself to what appears to be enormous punishment?

Metaphor and simile are useful to discuss this question. Everest is a mighty mountain, cold and unforgiving soaring into the sky, exercising its dominance over people like us. Climbing it would be like a heavyweight boxing championship: glory be to the victor of the fight, though the mountain won’t feel the blows – you will. Climbing the mountain must also be an exercise in trying to master one’s fearful, less-than-invincible self.

The amygdala is an almond-shaped bundle of nerves, barely 2.5 cm long, located in the temporal lobes of the brain. It is the source of our fears (from “fight or flight” to intimacy). The mountain challenges the amygdala as the amygdala challenges the mountain. Talk about David and Goliath.

An everyday life could be changed by the majesty of the peak. There would be pain, but not the variety that debilitates – rather a pain that runs from head to toe screaming that you really are alive. There is no doubt about it.

The loneliness that pervades our lives, which is as unhealthy as 15 cigarettes a day, would evaporate – diffuse into the clouds. Because in extreme climbing, the climber has 2 intimate and passionate ties. One is for the fearsome giant, the mountain to be tamed, the yin for your yang and – ironically – the source of the juice in your blood. The other is the extraordinary bond you have with your teammates who, like you, throw themselves into danger — eyes, ears, and desires beyond your own. It is this type of bond that trains the military into soldiers so that “no one is left behind.” You are bathed, if you will, in an otherwise almost unimaginable closeness.

Reach THE PURSUIT Summit seems disappointing but it’s a rare moment. The film ends on a well-deserved triumph. Yet it is still less than we can comprehend. If you ever meet a climber, offer him or her a drink to get a glimpse into their soul.

learn more about it THE SEARCH: Nepalvisit

Mr. Sederer is a contributing writer for Psychiatric TimesTMand a psychiatrist, public health physician and non-fiction author.

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