As beautifully photographed as it is damning of capitalist culture. Set some 19 years after the 1996 Everest disaster (largely resulting from corporate trekking companies and inexperienced pay-to-summit clients), commercial expeditions have boomed into a 260 million dollar industry, resulting in annual queues to stand on the roof of the world.
And the workforce tasked with getting these paying clients to top, the Sherpas, are underpaid and under appreciated by the conquer-at-all-costs mentality of those they guide. After an icefall kills 16 Sherpas while ferrying equipment up the mountain, we witness the workers enact a long overdue revolt, refusing to continue climbing until their demands for better pay, working conditions, and compensation for victims' families are met.
The attitudes of some of the tourists and company owners interviewed during the turmoil at base camp make clear just how necessary and overdue the Sherpas' industrial action is, and how increasingly meaningless and downright contemptible climbing the world's highest peak has become.