K2, Siren of the Himalaya is one of the more important documentaries about climbing in the Himalayas. What we usually see and hear about are the hundreds of climbers who go to Mt Everest. K2 is the most difficult of climbs, and at the time this documentary was shot in 2011, only 302 climbers made it to the summit.
The film shows us group of climbers in 2009 climbing the world’s second highest mountain, alternating this footage with early films and journal excerpts from a 1909 expedition. This team’s leader, Fabrizio Zangrilli, an American, discusses the risks, and tells us 25 percent of those who attempt the summit die.
One of Fabrizio’s comments made me shudder a little, “As soon as you eliminate the danger, you have just another sport”. some in his group climb without oxygen, which to me does not make sense. They talk about their heart pounding so hard in their chest, and this is the thrill Fabrizio’s is after. Their hearts are trying to pump harder to provide enough oxygen to their brain and base organs.
The ride to K2 is very dangerous. They go from Islamabad to small towns over narrow roads fit for one car, and on the side are steep ravines tumbling to nothing. One mistake and off you go. We go with themqq from base camp to camp one, rest for a few days and then to camp two for a day, back down to camp one to acclimate, then up to camp two, and onto camp three. K2 is known for its severe weather and slopes, and we see for ourselves. Several days of severe storms and a couple of avalanches. Finally to camp four, situated on a ledge, as most of the camps are, and then a try for the summit.