There are a ton of options out there for people who are interested in mountaineering documentaries, especially about the world’s most dangerous, and second tallest mountain, K2.
Despite having seen a number of shows about the perilous, and often unsuccessful, climb to the top of the mountain, each one of these documentaries offers something different. K2: Siren of the Himalayas is no exception, and it, like many others, offers incredible views of the mountain as a group of expert climbers make their assault(s) on the summit in hopes of getting to the top of the mountain with the highest death rate and fewest summits (barely over 300) of all the 8,000 meter monsters.
The film begins with the trek to base camp, where things become very real almost immediately, as the group watches a man skiing down a portion of the mountain die. From there, we are provided with insight into the methods and routes that can be taken to get to the top of K2. Going up to camps and back down, simply to acclimatize the body for the oxygen deprived ascents is grueling work, and by the time a group tries to go for the summit, they have already basically climbed the lower portions of the mountain several times.
K2 is a fascinating beast. It has been determined that there really is no easy route to the top, each one providing climbers with its own unique set of dangers and perils. K2 is definitely not Everest, where a parade of people manage to summit the mountain on a daily basis during the peak climbing season. K2 is a wasteland of destruction, serving yearly reminders of just how dangerous it is, despite not being the highest peak on the planet.
Siren of the Himalayas is a solid documentary, full of interesting mountaineers, and it does a good job to parallel their current trip to the original journey on K2, 100 years prior to their attempt. This provides us with not only the modern view of climbing the mountain, but the original perspectives of just how difficult the mountain is, from a far more primitive time. From the original journey to attempt to map out the mountain and find routes up in 1909, it still took nearly half a century before someone was able to make it to the top, which speaks bluntly to the difficulty of the mountain.
As badly as we may want our group to make it to the top, they are an intelligent and experienced group of climbers, and are smart enough to know when their bodies have simply had enough, and when the conditions are dodgy enough that they have to turn around. We aren’t provided with a bunch of brainless adrenaline junkies, but people who love the experience, and respect the environment. The hardest thing must be to be at the fourth and final high altitude camp, with the summit only a few hundred meters away, and realize that today simply isn’t your day.
K2: Siren of the Himalayas provides us with the breathtaking sights seen from K2, including the famous pyramid shadow from the summit. It is always wonderful to look at, and has done a good job of capturing just how tough some of the sections of the mountain are, with its massive incline and waist deep snow.
For those who enjoy these types of adventure documentaries, you might as well add this one to the list, as it adds to the lore of the world’s most dangerous mountain. A good view.