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‘Everest’ film fraught with error

Hollywood turns mountain disaster

Liam Moore-Tobiason, Staff Reporter
Originally published October 28, 2015

You may be familiar with the 1996 disaster on the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. You may have even seen the new movie based on the disaster, “Everest.”

The movie tries to recreate the harrowing events on the top of the world on May 10, 1996. Three world famous guides and two of their clients died in a storm near the summit.

Some clients from the expeditions did survive, barely escaping with their lives and diagnoses for PTSD. One of those clients was Jon Krakauer.

Krakauer, world famous author, journalist and alpinist wrote the 1997 best seller “Into Thin Air” which tells his story on the mountain and the stories of those who died.

Almost 20 years later, the movie “Everest” was made. The movie tells an exciting story, but not the true story.

“Total bull” is how Krakauer described “Everest” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. Many other climbers have noticed incongruities between the book and the movie.

One of the biggest mistakes in making the movie was the total absence of the guides who actually saved climbers’ lives. Neal Beidleman, a guide on Scott Fischer’s Mountain Madness expedition, was barely even mentioned in the movie.

Beidleman, according to many witnesses, single-handedly saved the lives of Sandy Hill Pittman and Charlotte Fox, two clients. Beidleman also assisted in saving the nearly dead Beck Weathers, another client.

“If you want a fact-based account of the disaster you should read ‘Into Thin Air,’” Krakauer said quoted as saying, who mentions Beidleman’s heroic efforts countless times in his book.

Krakauer was also annoyed at his portrayal in the movie. In one scene, Krakauer (played by Michael Kelly) was approached in his tent by Anatoli Boukarev, a guide. In the movie, Krakauer says he will not go out and help save the lives of other stranded climbers. Krakauer denies this ever happened.

“I never had that conversation. Anatoli came to several tents, and not even Sherpas could go out. I’m not saying I could have, or would have. What I’m saying is, no one came to my tent and asked,” Krakauer is quoted as saying.

Although there is controversy, the disaster remains one of the greatest adventure and survival stories of all time.

Both the book and the movie were dedicated to telling the story of those who lost their lives on Everest. Unfortunately, only one hit its mark.

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‘Everest’ film fraught with error