What I Love About ... Sherpa

Sherpa: Trouble on Everest    Dir: Jennifer Peedom | Australia

What I loved about Sherpa was its strong narrative and character arc. Peedom and her team set out to document the 2014 climbing season from the Sherpa’s point of view. What they never anticipated was following the tragic loss of sixteen Sherpas and the impact of that loss on their families and community.

The film shows how the people on Everest - the tour operators, the climbers and most importantly the Sherpa community – react as the tragedy of the 2014 climbing season unfolds. The balance between the commercial interests of the tour operators, the expectations of the climbers and the well-being of the Sherpas is a central tension explored throughout the film.

The other great strength of the film is the focus on a central character – Phurba Tashi Sherpa. A distinct character arc emerges as we follow Phurba Tashi Sherpa’s journey during the 2014 climbing season and learn about his family and their feelings on his dangerous job. He is struggling with his desire to continue climbing and his family’s fears for his safety. Following his story, the audience is drawn into his world and this fosters an empathy and understanding for the challenging work the Sherpas undertake.

Visually, the film is stunning. It contrasts the breathtaking beauty of Everest with the increasing tourism on the mountain that is likely to compromise this magnificent place. The shot of a line of climbers on the mountain, reminiscent of visitors at a theme park waiting for a ride, is a powerful illustration of how Everest is changing.  The film demonstrates the extent to which the mountain and the Sherpa people are exploited in the pursuit of the tourist dollar.   

If you have ever had a passing interest in what happens in the climbing seasons on Everest, Sherpa is the film to watch. Visit the Sherpa website to view the trailer and buy. 


By Bec Fleming