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Voyage To Himalaya

average rating is 3 out of 5


William Hemingway


Posted on:

Dec 31, 2023

Film Reviews
Voyage To Himalaya
Directed by:
Octavian Repede
Written by:
Octavian Repede and Teodor Tulpan
Teodor Tulpan, Catalin Mastan

In the Spring of 2022 a group of twelve international climbers from as far afield as Romania, The Netherlands, India and Canada came together to tackle the ascent of one of the most remote and difficult peaks in the world, that of Kangchenjunga. The short film, Voyage To Himalaya – The Kangchenjunga Expedition 2022 is the story of that ascent.


Situated deep in the Himalayan mountains, Kangchenjunga is the third highest peak within that mountain range and as such is also the third highest peak in the world, standing at 8586m tall. As one of the more inaccessible peaks to reach, it can take a ten day march (or one pretty hairy helicopter ride) just to make it to base camp at Kangchenjunga, and as such it sees just one summit attempt from climbers for every twenty-five seen at its most famous neighbour, Mount Everest. This does not mean, however, that there is nobody else on the mountain when our intrepid team arrives – far from it – and the first thing that becomes immediately apparent is that extreme mountain climbing is big business for those in the region.


Some BBC style narration helps us join the team up into the mountains where we find that the entire expedition is provided for and run by a Himalayan mountaineering tour operator. Just like a regular package holiday to Zante, the agency organises flights and transfers, nightly accommodation whilst travelling to the destination, and all meals along the way. Once at the base camp all mod cons are provided with tents and food and paraphernalia for comfortable living brought by the Sherpas to make sure that everything runs smoothly and everyone has a good time. Base camp is already pretty busy, with several other expeditions set up as well, and to all intents and purposes a small village of bright orange tents has risen up out of the snow.


There is a very small window each year where the weather is clear enough for mountaineers to attempt to reach the summit and this year (2022) the expedition we’re following has taken a few weeks through April and May, right around Easter, to try to make their ascent. The climb takes several days, over several stages, and takes in four further camps higher up the mountain, in order to reach the peak. There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between camps due to weather issues and acclimatisation for the climbers but all in all everything seems positive for managing to ascend to the summit. On hand are a couple of Romanian climbers, Teodor Tulpan and Catalin Mastan, and it is Tulpan who is taking the footage of his journey to share with us. He also provides some narration from his journal as he relays some of his thoughts and feelings along the way, although this can at times feel perfunctory as he shares some of the mundane details, too.


Throughout Voyage To Himalaya there are obviously some breath-taking visuals to behold. The clouds, mountains and sky look glorious in full HD and it’s clear to the viewer that what we’re seeing is a view which is literally unlike anything else on the planet. Tulpan does a good job of taking it all in as well as showing enough of the camps to give a rounded view of how the expedition functions. Despite the travelogue narration not really adding very much to the feel of the documentary, a good understanding and a great sense of wonder is still transmitted to the audience.


While Voyage To Himalaya may well be more of a personal travelogue or home video for those undertaking the journey that year, its documentary aspects do enough to broaden the scope of its audience out to the wider mountaineering community, as well as those who like to watch stunning photography. There’s more than enough unique content here to keep the viewer interested for an easily palatable forty-five minute runtime.

About the Film Critic
William Hemingway
William Hemingway
Digital / DVD Release, Short Film, Documentary
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