There are always two stories in mountain climbing, the story of the mountain and the story of the people trying to climb it. We know the story of Everest well after the tragic news stories and the IMAX film about it. There... more » may be more technically difficult mountains to climb, but none have the mystique of Everest. Above All Else is the story of Alan Hobson and Jamie Clarke's third and final attempt to scale the mountain. The two climbers, who had failed twice in 10 years to conquer Everest--once only 400 meters from the top--balance each other well; Clarke's surfer style is offset by Hobson's thoughtfulness. Clarke never lets things get too serious as he mugs for the camera, describing avalanche footage as "cool." Hobson on the other hand openly expresses the concentration it takes to suspend fear when crossing crevasses, moving beneath house-size chunks of ice that could fall at any moment, or climbing up high in the dead zone where there is hardly any oxygen. Knowing how Hobson feels about the risks makes the scenes in the terrible Khumbu icefall, a maze of broken ice and crevasses, much more frightening. The film also shows parts of an expedition that are rarely seen, from the tedious organizational work that takes place before a climb, to the practice runs in the Canadian Rockies. There is also a touching scene of the mountaineers' families huddled next to a fax machine half a world away waiting to hear about the climbers' fate. While Hobson and Clarke give the film a human element, the star is Mount Everest. The cinematography is well shot and there are some epic scenes of the peak. It is hard to understand what it takes to climb Everest, but Hobson says it best when he describes crossing the Hillary Step: "Eight thousand meters down on one side is China, eight thousand meters down on the other side is Nepal, and you are standing on a ridge all of two to three feet long. It just takes you apart emotionally." In its own way Above All Else does the same, while showing the deep, desolate beauty of Everest and the humanity of the climbers trying to attain its epic peak. --Aaron Abrams« less
Slightly better than average in the Everest video market
snowleopard | Oregon | 10/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Of the dozen or so tapes available made about climbing Mt. Everest, this one ranks slightly above average. The footage, and explanations of the route especially high on the mountain, is high quality. The two main characters, especially Jamie Clarke, carry much of the film with some personality and reflections on their attempts on the peak. But the dramatic content here, fueled by this being the climbers third attempt, and an around the world contact with a school back in Canada via the Internet, are not enough of a driving narrative to compel the viewer to stare with anticipation at each moment of the story. And the shots of the Khumbu Icefall, story of the Monasteries and Sherpas (though well respected here) are told better in other videos. If you have not seen many Everest videos and this one sounds interesting to you, it's well worth a look. If you're like me and have seen several others, this would be one to skip."
Good Stuff - Good Everest film
Catatau | World | 10/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jamie Clarke and Alan Hobson are two canadians who organized an Everest Expedition in 1997 totally funded by Sponsor's( Lotus, Colliers, etc), that would attempt to summit the mountain by the south face just one year after the worst season in Everest history (1996 - 15 deaths).They attempted the summit two times before, both times by the north face, both times without any sucess on the summit.
The film has some great scenes about the "entire" climbing, from Base Camp to Camp 4 , being the most notorious the ones in ; the Khumbu Icefalls, the Lotse Face(Camp3), the South Col(camp 4), the Hillary Steps, the South Ridge and of course the summit. Both guys actually make comments about the summit day and also of other difficult moments(Alan at the Icefalls). Jamie did pretty well on the summit day(proving to be a strong climber), but Alan had some serious trouble on the way back after almost giving up on the way up because of problems with oxygen and cold(very resilient).This is a good film about climbing everest with a great message in it. Note: the climber that appears hanging dead on the Hillary Steps is a british climber named Bruce Herrod. Before commiting his body to the mountain, a camera was found and the film in it was still intact.The camera was delivered to his former girlfriend, and the film in it revealed later that he actually summited but unfortunately died on the way back at the Hillary Steps. The picture of Bruce Herrod on the summit can be found in the last chapter of David Breashears book (High Exposure).He was the last person to summit in the 1996 season."
A DREAM COME TRUE...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 09/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This story recounts the dream shared by Canadian climbers and friends, Jamie Clarke and Alan Hobson. The dream was simply to summit Everest. It would be years before their dream was realized.They first tried to summit Everest with the 1991 Everest/Canada Climb for Hope Expedition. They were unable to make their summit bid, as gale force winds put an end to their ascent. Five hundred metres from the top they were forced to descend, their high camp having been blown right off the mountain. In 1994, they joined the Emergo Everest Expedition in an effort to once again reach the summit. Again, the fates intervened. When they were just two hundred metres from the summit, a fellow expeditioner fell prey to pulmonary edema. They made the decision to turn back and help evacuate a fallen comrade to safety, a choice they never regreted, given the alternative.They made the bid to try again in 1997, their third attempt to try and reach the top of the world. This trip was to be the culmination of their dream. The weather was great. There are some nice views of the Khumbu Ice Fall, as well as some shots of an avalanche in the making, some decent climbing footage, and the usual spectacular views of Everest. Both of them made the summit. They got to the top and down in one piece. Unfortunately, one of the Sherpas was not so lucky, as he fell into crevasse on the descent. Luckily, they were able to rescue him, and with a doctor as part of the expedition he received immediate medical attention. He was successfully evacuated, and his prognosis was for a full and complete recovery from his injuries. All in all, the expedition was a success, as there were no fatalities and the summit of Everest was reached, the realization of a long held dream."
Realistic and Moving
B. Page | 01/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen 5 of the 7 Everest DVD's I own and this one was the most 'human' in terms of feeling real and emotionally moving. So many of the others are more like generic documentaries on Everest and its climbing legends. This DVD was just what I wanted. No fancy camera shots or special effects, just plain and simple the realites of a challenge and how it affected those on the expedition. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who just want to see it from a more simplistic and real angle. I would also like to see the unedited version."
Two Thumbs Way Up!
Amirah | 11/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Read everyone else's review then come back to mine...This DVD is Awesome!! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!"