Mountaineer Dave Hahn has stood on top of the world 15 times — more than any non-Sherpa climber. But after 30 years as a guide, attaining the summit of Mt. Everest is no longer the driving force behind Hahn’s adventures. He recalls President Teddy Roosevelt’s words that "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who strives valiantly … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…” Hahn understands that the heart of mountain climbing is about the journey, not the destination.
Drew Hardesty wakes up early every day and skins up the mountain to examine the snowpack — building snow-pits, inspecting individual snowflakes, recording temperatures and carefully testing aspects. The Forecaster is a short film that provides the visual reel behind the daily reports on the radio, offering a glimpse into the everyday tasks required to help keep the masses safe in the backcountry.
Henrik Westling used to work too much. He had insomnia, panic attacks and felt the walls creeping in. So he made a change. Over six years, he slowly checked off each of the 178 summits in Sweden’s Jämtland province, becoming the first person to climb and ski them all. The ambitious project was about exploring new places and finding new terrain, but Westling discovered the journey was also an inner one. One Seven Eight is about finding a work-life balance and yourself in the process.
Jurek Kukuczka isn’t a household name, but in the niche of alpinism his feats made him a legend. He’s considered a pioneer of the sport, marked by a tough-as-nails style, huge ambitions and steely drive. And before Kukuczka died during a 1989 attempt to scale the south face of Llotse, he attained an impressive list of high-elevation achievements: second person to climb all 14 of the world’s 18,000-foot peaks; first to make winter ascents of Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga and Annapurna; and, with a partner, he established a new route on K2 that hasn’t been repeated.
But his rise to success was unlikely; Kukuczka came from a working-class background, and before he was a climbing star he was a poor miner in Communist Poland.
Using archival footage, interviews with friends and photographs, Jurek creates a portrait of a man whose outward stoicism masked an intense fire to be in the mountains — giving insight into a mountaineer who was known by many but understood by few.