Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


‘The Last Mountain’ Review: Impossible Summits

Even viewers accustomed to mountain-climbing documentaries, in which climbers routinely concede a willingness to face death, may struggle to adjust to the grim stakes of “The Last Mountain,” a documentary that involves two fatal climbs in one family.

In 1995, the British mountaineer Alison Hargreaves died, at 33, on descent after summiting K2. In 2019, her son, Tom Ballard, died at 30 making a run at Nanga Parbat nearby in the Himalayas. Like his mother, he was a world-class climber, maybe even born to do it. (In archival audio, Ballard says Hargreaves climbed the Eiger in Switzerland while she was six months pregnant with him.)

“The Last Mountain” draws on footage that the director, Chris Terrill, shot of the family over the long term, beginning in the 1990s, when Tom and his sister, Kate, were children. While the film jumps around chronologically, the present action follows Kate to Nanga Parbat after Tom’s death. Near the end, she explains that she “wanted to see what he’d seen.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Terrill doubles back to reconstruct Tom’s final climb, using video and online posts from the expedition, including a moment in which Tom says that it’s “time to go down.” Karim Hayat, a member of the team who turned back, considers why Tom pressed on. The movie raises the possibility that Tom’s climbing partner, Daniele Nardi, was a bit of a daredevil who overcame Tom’s better instincts, but also pushes back on that theory.

There are no real answers for anyone in “The Last Mountain.” If Terrill never finds a clear narrative or emotional through line for this account, it’s not entirely a surprise. The material resists attempts at uplift.

The Last Mountain
Rated R. Icy deaths. Running time: 1 hour 47 minutes. Rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like


Protestors clashed with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in northern Iran Friday night, during which one of its military bases was allegedly torched, according...


Pharoah Sanders, a saxophonist and composer who was celebrated for music that was at once visceral and spiritual, purposeful and ecstatic, died on Saturday...


Former President Donald J. Trump bashed New York Attorney General Letitia James at a Save America rally Friday night in Wilmington, North Carolina, for...


Moo-ve over, goat yoga: There’s a new stress-relieving farm animal in town.  Cows — baby cows, to be exact.  “Fox & Friends Weekend” hosts...