Screening on Friday 11 Jun – 7:00 PM

Everest, The Hard Way


Is it possible to climb the most difficult route on Mount Everest in alpine style? Chris Bonington, who led the expedition that made the first ascent of the southwest face of Everest in 1975, named this route The Hard Way. The expedition used “heavy” means, high altitude camps, oxygen, fixed ropes, support of Sherpas… The most difficult route, on the highest mountain in the world, the success of the British was widely celebrated and Chris became Sir Bonnington.

But in the early 1980s the “alpine style” appeared in the Himalayas. Light climbing, no high camp, no fixed rope, no oxygen, no porter… Big walls started to be climbed, but the southwest face was considered as an inaccessible absolute. “Impossible” said the specialists. Too steep, too high, too committed… In 1988, four Slovakian climbers set out on the wall. The only deviation from the “alpine style” ethic, they put some fixed ropes at the bottom of the face. They set off into the unknown, with no possibility of escape, except by the summit. They will write one of the most heroic and tragic pages of modern Himalayan climbing. This film tells the story of their forgotten ascent on a wall that may never be climbed again.

The choice of the festival

The Hard Way is a very moving film. Even those who are not Everest experts will understand the incredible drama of the Slovakians’ ascent in 1988. Their feat is forgotten today, but not for Ivan Fiala, the expedition leader, who waited a long time for his four friends at the base camp and never got over their disappearance. He also remembers, with bitterness, the accusations of which he was the victim when he returned from the expedition. In 1988, Slovakia was still Czechoslovakia, under the influence of the USSR. The regime was not particularly kind to expedition leaders who lost their friends in the mountains. The testimonies of Chris Bonnington, a legend of English mountaineering, and Peter Habeler, the first with Messner to summit Everest without oxygen, in ’78, and Marek Holecek, the Slovak climber who received the Piolet d’Or in 2018, illuminate the story from complementary points of view. An important film for the memory of himalayism.

Unpublished film in France

  • Director

    Pavol Barabas
  • With

    Chris Bonington, Ivan Fiala, Peter Habeler, Peter Hámor, Marek Hole?ek, Milan Skladaný
  • Duration

    52 minutes
  • Country

  • Release date


The projection

  • Screening date

    Friday 11 June – 19:00
  • Place of screening

    Cinéma Vox Chamonix
  • In the presence of

    Rodolphe Popier

Ticketing info

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