With spectacular footage of the Himalaya as a backdrop, 40 Days at Base Camp is an intriguing and intimate portrayal of three climbing teams and their journey to the world's highest peak. This feature-length documentary inserts a knife through the heart of the Everest myth as stories of climbers are interwoven with daily life at Base Camp, the history of the mountain and the devastating effect of climate change on the ecology of the area.
Through the eyes of the corporate-sponsored Columbian team, we are given a parallel story of one man’s challenge from a physical disability and his ability to overcome adversity with a nation's pride of achieving the unthinkable. We follow Arjun, who at 16 years old is the youngest person from India and the second youngest in history to summit the mountain. From the Canadian team we meet Meagan — a successful Everest mountaineer who summits the treacherous sister-peak, Lohtse — and Rob, who is living with Crohn's disease and has a mission to increase awareness with his attempt to summit Mount Everest, the final leg in his Seven Summits project of climbing the seven highest peaks on seven continents.
As the climbers complete their rotations from Base Camp in attempts to acclimatize for the push to the summit, the film explores the devastating effect climate change has had on the mountain ecology. It is believed that there are over 250 dead bodies buried on the path from Base Camp to the summit. With the glacier melting and moving at over four inches per day, we see this rapid deterioration in the human remains that are surfacing at Base Camp.
Dianne Whelan captures a fascinating, intimate portrayal of life at the base of Mount Everest with breathtaking footage of a place undergoing rapid environmental change. The highest mountain on Earth is a living goddess revered by the local people and a place of staggering physical and spiritual beauty. 40 Days at Base Camp sheds a provocative light on a community of people brought together in a quest to reach the top of the world and the challenges that journey brings.