“I want to try to bring the quest to a conclusion. I believe this is the only way to close this sad chapter, something that still troubles me today, in my own way and learn to live with it.”
— Hans Kammerlander | LOWA PRO Team
Manaslu – Mountain of the Spirit
Nepal Hans Kammerlander – the name alone generates respect among Alpinists. In 1996, this once-in-a-century Alpinist and a member of the LOWA PRO Team achieved the impossible and became world famous: Without using bottle oxygen, he conquered the northern face of Mount Everest in just 16 hours and 40 minutes – a feat that no one has ever been able to repeat.
To make this exploit even more memorable, he strapped on skis after the speedy ascent and completed the world’s first solo downhill run on the world’s tallest mountain. But the life of Hans Kammerlander is something more than a series of successes. During an expedition in 1991 on Manaslu, he lost two of his best friends and was almost killed himself. The mountain has been off-limits for him ever since. His fear of the past and old wounds run too deep. For 26 long years, his motto was “Manaslu, never again” – and he stuck to it all the way to the autumn of 2017.
He was accompanied by an Austrian film team led by Werner Herzog and Gerald Salmina who were making a documentary about the life of the extreme mountaineer. Also along for the expedition was Stefan Keck, an experienced extreme mountaineer and skier from Tyrol who witnessed an avalanche on Manaslu that killed 12 people in 2012. Both Kammerlander and Keck have dark memories of the “mountain of the spirit”. This is one further reason for their decision to try once again to climb the mountain and then ski down it on a new route. Always at their side: the film team.
Hans Kammerlander is the narrator of the film. His story is told in two ways: Film material from the archives is used to authentically tell Kammerlander’s life story while actors emotionally mark the milestones of his career and the turning points in his life at original locations. It was a really demanding job for the actors because the project required them to give everything they had: storms with winds of up to 80 km/h, temperatures that plunged to –35 degrees Celsius as well as icefalls and crevasses. The idea was to show viewers what it takes for a human being to climb a mountain. They were supposed to feel just how unreal the area is and understand what it is like to be in an extreme situation. The climax of the film is Kammerlander’s return to Manaslu, the mountain of his destiny.
After more than eight months of production work, the film “Manaslu – Mountain of the Spirit” celebrated its première in December 2018 in Austria and southern Tyrol.
“A very comfortable and extremely warm boot for every eight-thousander.”