Mountain-climbing documentaries are straight up and down. The objectives are clear, the risks known, and the complications inevitable. Yet there's reason for the genre's cult appeal: It's the everything-yet-nothing mythology of struggle, kitted out in the very latest from the North Face. It's a simple, repeated plan—reach the top—fraught with a kaleidoscope of emotional scarring and altitude-depressed thinking. Meru shares much with its hyperbolic brethren: Its climbers are casual badasses, and their foe, the peak they wish to worship and conquer, is undefeated. The "shark's fin" of Meru is part of the Gharwal Himalayan region in Northern India, is more than 20,000 feet high, and is a route so complex that it demands expertise in every subgenre of climbing technique.
by Marjorie Skinner
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