The popularity of climbing is at an all-time high and things don’t seem to be slowing down. The climbing film Meru has won an award at Sundace Film Festival.
Climbing has been in the news nearly everyday in 2015. We can call this the post-#DawnWall era. When climbing’s most recognizable faces appear on Ellen Degeneres for having freed a route on El Cap or Fox News for making the first ascent of Niagara Falls.
Now, the climbing film Meru took the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 31. The movie features Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk during their journey to climb Meru Central, a 6,310-metre peak in India’s Gangotri Region. Despite not being comparatively very high to the better known mountains in India, Meru has an esthetic alpine prow called the Shark’s Fin, which had been attempted by other parties.
The mountain was first climbed by Valeri Babanov in 2001 up Shangri La, which he soloed and won a Piolet d’Or for. The route was repeated with variations by a Japanese and Czech team.
In 2011, Anker, Ozturk and Chin spent 12 days aid, rock and mixed climbing the to make the first ascent of the Shark’s Fin.
In 2003, Anker made his first attempt on the Shark’s Fin and was joined by Doug Chabot and Bruce Miller. Climbers Hiroyoshi Manome, Yasushi Okada, Makoto Kuroda and Yasuhiro Hanatani attempted the Shark’s Fin in 2004 and climbed higher than Anker’s team, but had to retreat after Hanatani broke his legs. In 2008, Anker, Chin and Ozturk made their first attempt and made it within 150 metres of the summit, but had to bail.
In 2009, Silvo Karo, Marko Lukic and Andrej Grmovsek tried the route Anker, Chin and Ozturk attempted, but their alpine style ascent was thwarted by conditions and aid difficulties. Due to the technical rock climbing, it simple isn’t an alpine style route. It requires portaledges and haul bags.
When Anker, Chin and Ozturk made it to the summit in 2011 on their third attempt, they said the good weather played a major role. The route has not been repeated.
January 2015 is over, but it will forever be remembered by climbers as the start of the post-#DawnWall era when Niagara Falls was climbed and Meru won an award at Sundance.
–Written by Gripped’s editor Brandon Pullan.