NANGA PARBAT, whose name means Naked Mountain, is the ninth highest mountain in the world with an elevation of 26,658 ft, or 8,125 m above sea level. It is the westernmost mountain (also known as the Killer Mountain) of the Himalayas. Its vast snowy face is a powerful spectacle when seen from the arid Indus Valley, approaching the mountain from the west. Here the mountain towers in isolation over 22,000 feet from the valley floor.
The Karakoram Highway approaches the base of the mountain from the north, but is not so easy to climb. Unstable glaciers and frequent storms and avalanches have proved hazardous, most notably to the German party who first attempted the peak. Herman Buhl successfully reached the summit, but this was only after having lost eleven climbers and fifteen porters during the ascent. Many other climbers have subsequently been killed on this mountain.
The whole story is captured in 1986 independent Canadian film, ‘The Climb’. Almost documentary in style, Bruce Greenwood is top billed as Herman Buhl, a brilliant young Austrian climber who clashes with the leader of his expedition during the assault of Nanga Parbat, the world’s fifth highest peak and the most dangerous mountain in the Himalayas. The only member of the group to make it to the top, his climb becomes a soul-searching experience explored in letters back to his wife. Near death during the descent, he is joined by the ghost of another climber lost on the same peak 30 years earlier. Told through Buhl’s diary with soft voice-overs in a German accent by Greenwood, it’s a surprisingly serious film for so young an actor. Shown with distinction at the Seattle Film Festival, The Climb also won the Kodak International Award of Excellence in 1988.