New film invites us to spend 40 Days at Base Camp

For decades Mt. Everest has held sway over the imagination of adventurers everywhere. Standing 29,029 feet in height, it is the tallest mountain on the planet and the focus of countless books, television shows, and movies. But a new documentary entitled 40 Days at Base Camp looks to offer new insights into what it takes to climb the mountain and spend more than a month living in its shadow.

As the name implies, filmmaker Dianne Whelan spent 40 days living in Everest Base Camp on Nepal’s South Side of the mountain. During the spring climbing season, Base Camp becomes a tent city, filled with hundreds of climbers from around the globe, along with their all-important Sherpa guides. The film follows a number of those climbers as they pursue their dream of climbing the mountain, no matter the risks and the costs.

Whelan’s film is unique in that it deftly mixes the drama of the challenging climb along with the daily routine of living in Base Camp, where climbers spend much of their time resting, acclimatizing, and physically preparing for their ascent. She also examines the effects of climate change on Everest and the implications for the future of the ecology of the mountain. As you’d expect, all of this is set with the stunning backdrop of the Himalaya Mountains – one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth.

The film is in limited release, so it may not be arriving in theaters everywhere. But if you have an interest in mountaineering or Everest itself, it looks like a fantastic documentary worth tracking down.