Yakin speaks neither English nor Spanish, just his native language of Chuj. He shares a crowded apartment with other young men from his village, working as a janitor at Telluride High School while yearning to attend classes there instead. On their time off, the Chuj boys play basketball at the town park and hike the high country, where they ponder ghost structures left by earlier generations of immigrants, who also sought a livelihood far from home.
Despite their misgivings, a Sherpa family prepares to guide a trio of Western climbers up Kumbhakarna, a mountain so sacred they are forbidden to climb it. Tensions mount between the guides, who want to avoid risks but desperately need the money they will earn from completing the trip, and the stubborn westerners who push the group on even though the weather grows dangerous. Wall of Shadows flips the traditional mountain climbing narrative and offers a glimpse inside a Nepali family struggling to make ends meet and the difficult choices they must make when their reputation is on the line.