Last night I went to a press screening of National Geographic Entertainment's The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest, a film by Anthony Geffen. In 93 minutes that sometimes feels much longer, Geffen tells the story of George Mallory, the British explorer who disappeared on his quest to be the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in 1924, and American mountaineer Conrad Anker, who discovered Mallory's body in Mt. Everest's 'death zone' in 1999 and set off to determine whether it would have been possible for Mallory to reach the summit. Anker and his partner, young British climbing prodigy Leo Houlding, attempt parts of the climb in the same type of gabardine outerwear and hobnail boots that Mallory and his partner Andrew Sandy Irvine wore when Mt. Everest claimed their lives many decades before. In the film's climax, Anker and Houlding must climb the notorious "Second Step," the sheer cliff that stands between climbers and the summit, without the help of the ladders that were installed by Chinese mountaineers after Mallory and Irvine's attempt.
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