October 6, 2015

Meru: Strictly for the Climbers

By Stephon Boatwright In Reviews

Brew: Guinness 1759 Edition. 5/5 Stars
I’m a Guinness fanboy so I had to review one of my favorite editions.  Before Guinness made their world famous stout, the original brewmaster made an ale.  This is a throwback to the original.  The malted flavors burst through with sweet caramel and butterscotch notes.  9% ABV. Go find it!


Meru 4/5 Stars

I know everyone is excited about the new Everest film, but for anyone in the climbing community, you have already heard that tragic story the better part of a hundred times.  Furthermore, all the theatrical effects and creative license taken by its producers (touching the “tip” of the summit, really?) it’s not really a climber’s film anymore.
Meru is strictly for the climbers (available now for streaming and preorder).  No special effects, no dramatizations, not even a camera man really.  Instead you’re left with a portrait of three men, suspended in mid-air, slowly scaling one of the most technically difficult climbs on Earth.

I’ll be honest, I never heard of Meru or its notorious “shark fin” until the film.  After a quick bit of research before the film I got a good sense of the daring/insanity in attempting the climb.  The mountain is nearly 21,000 feet of unforgiving mixed-climbing.  The three climbers were far from amateurs though.  Jimmy Chin has been the subject of many articles, always glowing with admiration.  Conrad Anker was the veteran of the crew, having been trained by the legendary Mugs Stump, and credited with finding the body of George Mallory on Everest.  Renan Ozturk was the newcomer.  I’ve always dreamt of being a climbing dirt bag and living out of my Camry for while.  Renan kicks it up a notch by forgoing the car and even a tent, living out of a sleeping bag in the American Southwest.

Meru 5 - newportFILM
I won’t spoil too much for you, but I will say that this is actually about three stories in one.  There’s multiple climbing attempts and numerous scrapes with death, both on and off Meru.  **Minor spoiler alert**  One of my favorite parts of the film occurs when a storm pins the team in place for about a week.  Having only brought enough food for another couples days, logically it would seem that the expedition was coming to an end, as one member of the team believed.  I couldn’t help laughing when the other two members never even considered descending, despite being left with only cheese.  Needless to say, the third member was quite confused.


This is definitely a film strictly for climbers.  What I mean by that is those outside the community will do what they always do when confronted with the types of images and situations mountaineers find themselves in: roll their eyes at best, call us selfish lunatics at worst.  This is what climbing films often look like without the dramatization, I think this is a good thing though.  While the masses fill up seats for the next Everest film, Meru will act as a realistic counter-balance to Hollywood.

Thrilling.  Captivating. Breathtaking.  Heart Breaking.  Go see Meru!

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