First Ascents in the Khumbu Himal

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Expedition Filmmaking

As you may have learned from reading previous posts to this blog our expedition had its share of climbing, both successful and a bit heartbreaking.  Another side of expedition climbing is the life in camp and the villages you pass and the people you meet.  During the process there is also a lot of downtime.  Chris and I spent a lot of time reading and sleeping, but we also poured our energy into interviewing each other and filming.  I want to give you a view into what we did and how we went about it and also promote the movie that Chris is in the process of editing.

A typical day for us would look like this: Wake up, drink tea, eat, hydrate, set up and shoot for the film, trek and then sleep.  Sometimes we would have rest days in the villages or in base camp, but regardless of where we were or what we were doing we would shoot some footage for the movie.

I would classify myself as a rank beginner as a film-maker though I have a made a few of my own videos.  What I have taken away from that is the shear amount of footage that you need to create a film of any quality.  Chris, on the other hand, is a student of film and videography.  He was able to provide the much needed expertise in terms of sound and camera settings to get us on the right track.  He also has a discerning eye for composing the shot.

The interviews and many of the trekking shots were taken using a D-SLR Camera on a tripod with an independent sound recorder.  All the climbing footage was shot with Canon S100 point and shoot cameras.  These are powerful little tools that shoot HD video and are light weight enough to bring on alpine routes.

Overall I would say that we shot 8 interview segments each, but also shot trekking, bouldering and  alpine climbing.  I will leave it up to Chris to tell the whole story in the documentary, but my guess is that the film will be about the human elements of climbing as opposed to the climbing itself though that will have its place.  I look forward to seeing the finished product.

Here is some inspiration we found from literature to help us tell our story:

Both Ways

By AR Ammons

“One can’t
have it

both ways.
and both

ways is
the only

way I
want it.”

This short poem was the inspiration for the movie.  I think this embodies the way Chris and I feel about climbing.  We want to have our lives and careers at home as well as have our time to climb.  Hopefully our lives at home will wait for us and then pick up again when we return.  This is the way we see it and the only way we want it, but it is often hard for those that care about us on the other side of the world.

Posted By:

Geoff – back home in the US


For More Posts look on the Lunag Boys Websites!

For more Posts on this trip including photos and videos click here.

Geoff Unger

Geoff’s Blog:


Chris’s website:

Attempt and Bivouac on the Northeast Face of Mt Antoine LeCoultre

After making the move to ABC on November 24th, the wind and cold temperatures of late season abated enough for Chris and Geoff to make an attempt on the Northeast Face of Mt. Antoine LeCoultre (or Jobo LeCoultre) circa 6585m, but unforunately the team was not able to complete their ascent.  The 1150 meter face had seen earlier attempts by strong Swiss teams who were turned back from the mountain by “sugar snow” conitions, although it was ultimately neither weather nor conditions that forced Geoff and Chris’s retreat. After a long day of climbing ever-steepening snow and ice, Chris and Geoff made their way to a bivouac at above 6000 meters (~20,000′) at the base of the difficult mixed headwall (seen high in the center of the photo).  Unfortunately the team was forced to turn back from the attempt due to cold temperatures and Geoff’s feet which resisted rewarming at the high altitude.

The duo took consolation in the face of defeat: “I wanted to see how well we could move with alpine packs at that altitude and we did well,” said Chris “Although I am disappointed we didn’t summit the peak,” He added.

Geoff and Chris were both excited for the opportunity to climb in the Himalaya and gained valuable experience including a first ascent and a first solo ascent on outlying peaks of the Lunag Massif.

Awesome Show Great Job (WI4+ M3 350m) on Peak 5777m, Geoff was able to complete what is presumably the second ascent, and solo, of the Name-As-Yet-Unknown Swiss Route (WI4 M4 650m) on Peak 5855m, and the two are fairly sure they must have authored at least two dozen boulder problems from VB to V4.

Geoff said, “It will be interesting to see what grade and name the Swiss team gives their route.  I would rate it WI4 M4.  The climbing was great and secure most of the way with only a few rock steps.  The ice also got fatter the higher you went.  A classic goulotte.”

Back in Lukla, Chris and Geoff are slowly headed home, but are already planning their next trip.  Beforehand, they are looking forward to some well desered rest and relaxation with their girlfriends and families over the holidays, as well as perhaps a healty dose of Thai sport-clmbing before heading back to the States.

Keep checking in for more posts from the team as they find time to report in with more photos and details from their climbs.


Lunag Boys Down Safely from the face!!

Lunag Boys Down Safely from the face!!

Chris Wright below the face on Jobo LeCoultre.