In October of 2011, Conrad Anker (now on Everest with our team), Renan Ozturk, and Jimmy Chincompleted a historic first ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru in the Garwhal Himalaya. This was Anker’s third attempt at the climb, Ozturk and Chin’s second. The three-person climbing team had last climbed and suffered on the alpine wall together in 2008, after which Chin vowed never to return.
On April 28 at the 5Point Film Festival, Ozturk and Chin will tell the full story of the climb for the first time, complete with never-seen-before video. Beyond the rigorous aspects and challenges of the climb, the two will also delve into what it was like to pick themselves up for a second try after the “most serious and humbling failure” of their lives.
For 30 years, Meru has been the objective just out of reach for some the world’s top climbers—dozens have tried and failed. Adding to the lore of the mountain, Meru is considered the center of the universe in the Hindu cosmology and is the source of the Ganges River.
“Meru was the most challenging climb of my life. Not once, but twice,” Chin said. “It’s an honor and privilege to be asked to share our story with the 5Point community, many of whom have supported us throughout our careers as climbers and creatives. We hope to give something special back to the tribe that has given us so much.”
What made last year’s summit even more incredible? Six months before the expedition, Ozturk suffered a near-deadly ski accident.
“Climbing these Himalayan objectives, it’s something that I’ll do for the rest of my life. It’s just part of how I express myself and I feel like I’m contributing to this world,” Ozturk said a week before leaving for Meru last October. “That’s what drives me and that’s what’s bringing me back to the Himalaya only six months after cracking my skull open and breaking multiple vertebrae and just having a really, really tough accident.”
National Geographic Explorer and adventure filmmaker Andy Maser will also premiere a film documenting the events leading up to this historic climb. Maser embedded himself for several days with Ozturk and his partner of seven years, Amee Hinkley, at their home in Boulder, Colo., to capture the untold and more emotional story of how this dramatic chain of events affected Ozturk, Hinkley and their life together. The film is part of Maser’s Wild Love series, premiering this spring and summer, beginning at 5Point.
“When you’re home maybe that far off peak is the carrot that’s dangling, but when you’re away it’s reversed and it gives you the strength and that will to survive when things are really tough and the chips are down. It’s really important to have, at least for me, something to come back to — a loved one and a home,” Ozturk said.
For more about Ozturk, Chin, and other special guests at this year’s festival visit 5pointfilm.org.