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The Second Summit OctoberOct 15 2022 12:00am - OctoberOct 16 2022 11:59pm

Mick and Victor became famous climbers in the 70s and 80s. They formed part of a generation of climbers scaling the world’s highest and most challenging peaks in a new style. Where previous expeditions relied on huge teams of porters, fixed ropes and many supplies, these young mountaineers moved quickly and lightly, in teams of only two, carrying all their supplies with them and relying only on each other. As a partnership, Mick and Victor set a new standard for climbing in the Greater Ranges. On one expedition in 1989 however, ambitious and headstrong, they fell out and subsequently did not speak for almost thirty years.

In 2015, a French publisher, Eric Vola, noticed an amusing difference in the way Mick and Victor described their shared climbing experiences of the 70s and 80s in their own books and collected their respective writings in order to publish them side by side in a new volume, The Tribulations of Mick and Vic. The contradictory nature of these accounts struck chords and the book won a series of mountain literature awards. The book’s success prompted Mick and Victor to reconnect, and, thirty years having passed since their last climb and by now in their late 60s, they resolved to reunite and tackle a new peak. Their goal was the unclimbed Himalayan 6,000 metre Sersank.

The two climbers successfully made the first ascent of Sersank, and though they moved a little slower and found the bivouacs a little less comfortable, the old joy of climbing together returned immediately. They enjoyed it so much, even, they planned to have another trip the following year. They set their sights on Chombu, the last unclimbed 6,000 metre peak in Sikkim, Northern India.

In 2016, two weeks before departure, Mick was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy not successful enough, he had his lower intestine, rectum and anus removed and a colostomy bag fitted. Victor at this time suffered a detached retina and had eye surgery to (only partially successfully) reattach it. Three years on from their initial departure date, in October 2019 Mick and Victor finally set off to attempt Chombu.

The film follows their adventure on the mountain as they try to become the first people to set foot on its summit, interwoven with the backstory of their historic partnership.

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