In the high-stakes game of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting at the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the Shark’s Fin has seen more failed attempts by elite climbing teams over the past 30 years
than any other ascent in the Himalayas.
To undertake Meru, says Jon Krakauer, the bestselling author of Into Thin Air, “You
can’t just be a good ice climber. You can’t just be good at altitude. You can’t just be a good
rock climber. It’s defeated so many good climbers and maybe will defeat everybody for
all time. Meru isn’t Everest. On Everest you can hire Sherpas to take most of the risks.
This is a whole different kind of climbing.”
In October 2008, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk arrived in India to
tackle Meru. What was meant to be a seven-day trip with the equivalent amount of food
became a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures, thanks to the setback of a massive
storm that showered the mountain with at least 10 feet of snow. Like everyone before
them, their journey was not a successful one. But they had reached further than anyone
else, beaten back just 100 meters below the elusive summit.
Heartbroken and defeated, Anker, Chin and Ozturk returned to their everyday lives, swearing never to attempt the journey again. But they faced sudden physical and emotional challenges back home, too, challenges only exacerbated by the siren song of
Meru, one that Anker perhaps heard the loudest. By September 2011, Anker had convinced his two lifelong friends to undertake the Shark’s Fin once more, under even more extraordinary circumstances than the first time around.
MERU is the story of that journey—one of friendship, sacrifice, hope and obsession.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 18th 4pm Mather Auditorium Question and answer with Conrad Anker following the film.