The Shark’s Fin on Meru Peak in the Garwhal Himalayas of India is the climbing objective of Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk in this documentary. Anker is the master planner of the climb; Chin the director, producer, and cinematographer of the film; Ozturk the artist and visual storyteller. The three elite climbers set out to make the first ascent of the 1,500 feet of nearly featureless granite that is the Shark’s Fin. As the story unfolds, the climb grows in significance for each of them.
Chin and Ozturk perform filmmaking feats at 20,000+ feet as they capture the moments that relate the experience of high altitude big wall climbing. From base camp a time lapse camera reveals the team’s progress, lending a sense of scale to the endeavor. For those with an affinity for mountains and mountaineering, there is much to like. The images of Meru and the surrounding range of peaks are reason enough to rent or buy the Blu-ray, but the superior athleticism and alpine style ascent on display are equally impressive.
Meru won the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The fin on the central peak of Meru is instantly compelling; after watching the climb, even the most unfamiliar with the sport will recognize the appeal of the route and its ability to inspire alpinists.