Posts Tagged ‘wiktor mazur’

Everest – 2015 Movie

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

As some of you may be aware, this month Universal Pictures released a new movie simply titled Everest. I’ve had a few people ask me what I think of it (before the movie even came out, based on just the trailer), and so I decided early on to go see the movie and see how it comes across to someone who has climbed Everest.

First of all, if you watch the trailer, you might expect the movie to be over the top dramatic and intense, too much so to be real. Well, I think the trailer does not do the movie justice; the movie itself is more down-to-earth. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very intense parts of the movie; in fact I found myself sweating and in suspense for a good part of the film. However, it’s based on more than just the intense visuals and music that the trailer shows.

The scenes where they actually show the mountain, or the hike to base camp, or the monasteries, they are all genuine. The shots of the mountain are absolutely accurate; I found myself thinking “yup, there’s the western cwm; there’s Lhotse; that does look like the view from the south summit”. Seen on the big IMAX screen, the mountain shots were quite spectacular. If anything, I think they didn’t have enough of these mountain shots.

Something you might want to know about this movie: it is based on real events that took place on Everest in 1996. There was a book written about all these events by Jon Krakauer, who was one of the climbers on the mountain that year. He is actually portrayed in the movie by House of Cards’ Michael Kelly. However, this movie is not based on his book. It is based on many other sources: people who were there, other people’s books of that expedition, tapes of radio transmissions, etc.

(In fact, I just read an article where Jon claims the movie is not very accurate, compared to his book. I would say the movie is accurate enough for portraying Everest itself, but not having been there in 1996, I can’t comment on the accuracy of all the events themselves. I’m sure there will always be differing stories about anything that happened on Everest, due to the fact that at such an altitude, people’s brains are affected so much that memories can’t really be trusted to be complete. Plus, I don’t think the movie ever attempted to be a documentary; some creative license was surely used.)

Speaking of accuracy in portraying the mountain itself, I think the movie does a good job of showing what it’s like to climb the mountain, without being overly dramatic about it. When they do get dramatic, it’s because things got a lot more interesting than on a normal climb like mine. So all in all, I think they do a good job of using film to show someone who knows nothing about Everest some of the smaller details of what climbers go through. As for the realness of the terrain, with snow, ice, rocks, tents, crevasses, for the most part that is also pretty solid. There are a couple of scenes where I could tell that they were using fake snow, but for the most part that was pretty well done.

If you’re undecided about going to see the film, I recommend going. It’s not quite a documentary, it is still Hollywood, but I think it’s a nice little story and it’s entertaining. I liked it enough that I will probably buy it once it comes out on home video (mostly for the behind-the-scenes and other bonus features).

If you do go see it let me know what you think, or let me know if you have any questions about Everest or my experience of it!

Once Upon a Time on Everest

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Recently I went to my God-Daughter’s 4th birthday, and leading up to it I was thinking to myself, “What kind of a gift could I give her?” I like to give gifts that are original and last a while. I recently learned that kids that age are very interested in discovering new things, have a grand imagination, and like adventures (Dora the Explorer anyone? As one gift she got Dora shoes…). So I thought I would tell her a story about her Godfather’s adventure going up a very big mountain, a mountain much taller than the tallest building she might see in the city, with big pieces of ice the size of her house to walk around, and many other unbelievable descriptions that to any child (and some adults, myself included at times) would sound like a fairytale.

On a somewhat related topic, for a while now I have had the idea of writing a book about my Everest adventures, but aiming it for a young-adult audience. With this thought of my Goddaughter, why not try and put together a book for her age also? A kid reader that her parents could read to her, with pictures or drawings of Everest that would inspire her imagination to go wild.

So, with that in mind, I am asking if anyone out there knows something about, or knows someone in, the kids publishing area in North America. While I have had this thought of writing for a young audience for a while now, not having acted on it means I need some help. Leave a comment, drop me a line at, or just let me know what you think of the idea! Thanks!

Two Years Later – Everest Day by Day

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Today is the two-year anniversary since I stood on the top of the world. What I was doing last year at about this time was posting on Twitter every day what my thoughts and emotions were while I was on the expedition. For those that found that a difficult way of following along, I thought I would post it all in one post here on my blog. Not sure if it has the same effect as seeing it day-by-day, so let me know any feedback you might have. Otherwise enjoy!

Mar 31 2010, Everest Day 0: Breakfast meeting with entire group, going over final prep and details. Nice to finally meet everyone!

31mar2010: Last item to buy in Kathmandu: big comfy foam mattress. Was kinda pricey but how much is 2 months comfort in base camp worth?

1Apr2010: Early start this morning, heading to the airport for flight to Lukla, where hiking begins. Hope it’s no April Fool’s Joke!

Made it to Lukla, got on a flight before the afternoon weather came in. Funny landing on an uphill airstrip pointing into the mountain!

1apr2010: Hiked almost 3 hours to Phakding,spending night.But our duffels are still in KTM,how long will I have to live with no fresh socks?

2apr2010: almost 6 hours going from Phakding to Namche.Still no bags! But Namche seems like a nice place, everyone talks about the bakery…

3apr2010: rest day in Namche.some people are hiking to Everest View Hotel, I’ll just rest, 3400m already!

4apr2010: Today again rested in Namche, but bags are finally here! So sleeping in tents tonight. See pic of namche

Pic of Namche

6apr2010:yesterday tough day,spent 7 hours hiking from Namche to Pangboche.Though I am one of the slowest in the group,a little demoralizing

On the way to Pangboche, stopped to rest in Tengboche and visited this monastery. Unfortunately it was closed.

Tengboche Monastery

6apr2010: woke up in Pangboche, see pic. Short day, walked 3 hours to Pheriche, 4200m!

View of Ama Dablam from Pangboche

7apr2010:another short day,2 hours to Dhugla.Filling time by getting to know some of the people on summitclimb’s other expeditions. #everest

8apr2010: woke up in Dhugla (see pic), short day to Lobuche.Even though short hikes, altitude is tiring, need rest

View from Dhugla

9apr2010: Made it to #Everest Base Camp! I am spent, I could rest for a week. 5 straight days hiking to 5300m.

Everest Base Camp!

10apr2010: rest day in base camp.But more importantly,on this day happened the Smolensk air disaster, killing Polish President and 95 others

Smolensk air disaster occured before a planned commemoration of the massacre of 22000 Polish intellectuals/officials by Russians in WW2.

Being isolated at EverestBaseCamp, I wouldn’t know of this for days. Results of crash are still disputed.

11apr2010: Base Camp. I feel like shit. Last night my stomach started acting up, I could barely drink water during dinner, let alone eat.

11apr2010:this morning I skipped breakfast.People tell me I lost 10 pounds overnight.Not surprising,not being able to drink or eat this high

11apr2010: Missing one meal is bad. At this altitude, missing two is serious trouble. I wanna go home…

11apr2010: stopped feeling sorry for myself, took some stomach antibiotics, and got lunch down… Let’s hope it keep getting better!

12apr2010: Still sick,but others want to acclimatize;not wanting to be left behind I join them.Pic from Pumori ABC

View from Pumori ABC

13apr2010: 7 hour hike yesterday, good to have a rest today. It snowed overnight, here’s how BC looks all white:

Base Camp after a snow fall

14apr2010: Rest Day in #everest Base Camp. Highlights: Breakfast, Laundry, Lunch, Dinner.

15apr2010: Training how to walk on ladders and rappel down ropes, in preparation for Khumbu Ice Fall ahead

Training walking on ladders

16apr2010: First hike through the Khumbu Ice Fall. Falling seracs, most I’ve ever been scared in my life.

17apr2010: Rest day. Everest Quote: MV:”13 Hours in the Ice Fall.” Me:”How much water did you have to drink?” MV:”Two Sprites [cans]!”

18apr2010: sad day in Base Camp. Two members took a chopper to Kathmandu, going home. It’s too quiet now…

19apr2010: a few of us head to camp 1 to stash some gear and continue acclimatizing by sleeping there.Quicker through the ice fall this time

20apr2010: Woke up in Camp 1(see pic),not feeling good but happy to go down.First night sleeping high always tough

Camp 1

21apr2010: Rest day in #Everest BC. Someone mentioned something about an oil spill in the GOM. I guess another ship crashed or something…

22apr2010: Rest Day. #Everest Quote: “I’m only happy when I’m complaining.”

23apr2010: Base Camp to Camp 1, 7 hours. Then, as if the day was not hard enough, 3.5 hours moving to Camp 2, carrying a big load.

24apr2010: rest day in C2, 6400m. Some went to explore the camp/area, I was too tired from carrying my load. Night was not fun either.

25apr2010: return to BC,had to go through the Ice Fall again (pic).Good to be “home”,BC seems great in comparison!

Khumbu Ice Fall

26apr2010: Rest day in BC.Getting a little boring here and there.See the attached pic,view of BC from the ice fall

Everest Base Camp as seen from Khumbu Ice Fall

27apr2010: Semi Rest day. Walk one hour each way to nearest town, Gorak Shep, for lunch (MEAT! Yak Steak!) and some internet access.

28apr2010: Rest day,day 2 of playing cards.Playing at altitude a card game that requires thinking is ‘interesting’

Looking at Khumbu Ice Fall

29apr2010:Rest day in BC.Discussions about summit push possibilities.It’s on everyones mind and lips.But one more acclimatization push first

30apr2010: Leaving early to Camp 2, hoping to sleep in C3 and make it our last acclimatization. 3 of us go today, rest will follow tomorrow.

1may2010: While we wait for other 3 to join us,take a rest day in C2.Quote: “I didn’t bring a book to C2,can you read yours out loud to me?”

2may2010:Planned to go to C3 but weather was bad,no go.Forecast says it will stay bad for days,some peeps went down.I almost went too but…

2may2010: … but when was the mountain forecast ever accurate? They’re wrong as often as they are right. Let’s wait one day and see!

3may2010: Good weather in C2,we should go to C3, but only Sherpas go, to check if no ‘snow hazard’ exists. I say if they go we should go >:(

4may2010:finally we can go up to C3.But wait,nobody else wants to sleep there,just touch it?No way,I want my acclimatization,I’ll stay alone

4may2010: in C3,all alone,7000m,no oxygen.My radio can receive but not send.I can hear them calling me from C2 [, worried I’m not responding].This is gonna be a long night

5may2010:C3,what a night,cold and some hallucinating dreams.Nature calls,might be interesting on a 45 deg slope,holding to rope for security

5may2010: Back in C2 safely, should be a relaxing rest of day. Ice fall tomorrow. Wait, sherpas want us all to go down to BC now? Why?

5may2010: Snow storm, so best get to BC today. Good idea. Except now we’re stuck in a white out, crevasses around, no rope. Bad situation…

6may2010: Everyone else goes to Pheriche (4200m) to build energy for summit push.I need a rest in BC (5300m).Highlights:Laundry and shaving.

7may2010: I go down to Pheriche to join the others. Doesn’t feel right to go backwards when I’ve already been so close. 4600m away from top.

Back in 2010 Mother’s day was on May 9th, so I called my mom from my Everest expedition. #HappyMothersDay to all Moms! Go call your Mom!

11may2011: long day,gaining 1100m back to BC.Plan is,we’re trying for weather window May 16th.Let’s hope its real, I don’t want to try twice

12may2010: rest day in BC.Weather window for 16th not looking that good with new forecast, but still doable.So we’re still leaving tomorrow.

13may2010: 7 hours from BC to C2. 5 of us trying to summit on this push.Weather is not great,but hopefully it will be in a few days! On Top!

14may2010: going from C2 to C3. Got blood gushing when I clean my nose or spit, hope that’s not coming from my lungs… #everest 2010

15may2010: what a bad night at C3,I maybe slept 1 hour.Windy,uncomfy (3 people per tent).Now I’m the last of our group to leave, alone to C4

15may2010: on the ‘yellow band’, as I go up some sherpas lower a body. Sobering thought. I am also getting sun burned. How bad can it be?

15may2010 19:00: arrive C4 after 10 hours, now I have 2 hours to rest before, literally, climbing mount everest? You gotta be shitting me…

16may2010: weather window never happened yesterday, windy all night. I feel stronger today but what’s the point if weather stays bad?

16may2010: one eternal debate among mountaineers: when going poo at 8000m and -25C, do you wear gloves when you wipe or risk frost bite? :-)

16may2010 9pm: wow,the wind stopped and people are going for the summit.I’m surprised!Let’s go,but they say higher the weather is unpassable

17may2010: #everest summit! I didn’t expect that. Only problem: now I have to walk all the way back down! Huge inconvenience!

17may2010:10 hours from summit to C2,I broke down mentally.That wasn’t worth it.And I was alone,sherpa left me.Words can’t describe tirednes

17may2010: What did I do at the summit exactly one year ago? I wrote a blog post about it, see here:

18may2010: woke up in C2, not sure if the tears all night were real or a dream. Now my vision is foggy, my face is swollen. Snow blindness.

18may2010: shoved some contacts in my swollen eyes and headed (for the last time) through the ice fall to BC. Left alone, sherpas caught up.

18may2010: any uphill portion in the ice fall was soo hard! But now in BC, I’m home safe! No more danger, going home! Woohoo! #everest

19may2010: rest in BC, packing to leave the next day. Giving away remainder of my food and some equipment to sherpas and remaining clients.

20may2010: heading down home! Stopping at kala pathar on the way, nice view but sure is windy! Sleeping in pheriche.

21may2010: long day,pheriche to namche.So hungry after weeks of losing weight,I want to eat!But have to ration remaining cash, no ATMs here.

22may2010: Last long 6h walk,Namche to Lukla.First time near motorized transport in 2 months!Let’s hope the weather is good to fly tomorrow.

23may2010:Fly to Kathmandu!After paying for extra luggage,I am left with 5 rupees(7 cents).rationing money not easy when hungry post everest

23may2010: in Kathmandu, cashless, just climbed #everest and hungry beyond words, went to an ATM to get money and it ate my card. #FML

24may2010: That’s the end of my #everest adventure lookback, hope you enjoyed it! Keep an eye on for more of my writing.

Having read through that myself, I think it definitely paints a nice picture of how things went down! It’s funny how much can be passed along in 140 characters (or less) per day!

Desktop Wallpaper – For You

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

I just added a page to my blog where you can download some pictures to use as desktop backgrounds on your computer. I won’t repeat what it says so just head on over there:


17 May 2010 – What did I do at the Summit?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Today is the one year anniversary of me standing on the top of the world, and I thought I would share with you what I did during my time on the summit. When I read things like “First Tweet Sent From Top of Mount Everest” and people’s reactions, or what they think they would do at the summit, it makes me think back to when I was up there.

First Picture from Summit

So here goes. I think we got up to just below the summit at around 7:40 am. First thing I did was take off my backpack, kneel down, take a breath. Then I start thinking, OK, what did I want to do up here again?

One of the first things I did was take out my cell phone, which I had been keeping warm in a pocket close to my body. I turned on my Nokia E51 hoping to get a signal so that I could send a text message home. I had had limited success sending texts from Base Camp thanks to the new tower close by, and I hoped either that or the Chinese tower that was supposed to be nearby could give me a connection. I started typing the message, but I got a little cold in my fingers, and seeing that the phone wasn’t catching a signal I put it away.

One of the next things I did was check my watch for the absolute barometric pressure. People always say “the pressure on the top of mount Everest is 1/3 of sea level”, and I just wanted to see if that was true, and how close to 1/3 it was! Anyways, I checked, but didn’t write the number down, and the way altitude works is you easily forget. So I didn’t write down the exact number, but later wrote it down as what I remembered it to be approximately, and it was indeed right at the 335 hPa mark.

Next I took out my camera and checked to see if it was working. Unfortunately the battery was dead (due to the extreme cold), but I had one (or maybe even two?) spare batteries nice and warm in the same pocket I kept my phone (it was a crowded pocket). I popped that in and it worked! Pictures started to be taken at 7:45 am.

One of the things I did, it probably wasn’t next but sometime earlier, was disconnect my oxygen mask from the bottle. That way I could move around without needing my backpack on my bag. I had promised myself I wouldn’t do this after seeing the effect it had on me on the summit of Cho Oyu, but at this altitude it’s difficult to think logically. I guess I wanted to not carry my backpack, or maybe Lhakpa, my Sherpa, encouraged me to leave my pack on the ground. Whatever the reason, I disconnected it, but left my mask on my face (to keep it warm and prevent freezing of inlet and outlet ports).

Next comes all the picture taking. I took some pictures, first in the direction that the sun was shining on, then in the direction we came from, and kinda all around. Then I gave the camera to Lhakpa and he took some pictures of me holding the World Vision flag. This was all with me sitting just below the summit, and only at about 8:00 am I have pictures of myself on the actual peak. (Remember, Everest summit doesn’t count unless you get to that very point!)

Last Picture from Summit

We kept taking pictures and videos, swapping cameras, and the pictures stop at about 8:15 am. That’s when it seemed like there was nothing else left to do, or more accurately, I felt like I should get the hell out of there because it was impossible to knock the thought out of my mind that we still had a long way to go down; we started packing up. I took my second pair of goggles out of my bag so that I would have an unfogged set. I put everything in my bag, put a little bandanna around my face to cover the sun burn (I would later have to stop and have Lhakpa help me cut a hole in that bandanna with my ice axe so that I could breathe the oxygen more freely). When we were about to set off I remembered it would be cool to have a 360 degree panorama from the summit, so I filmed that, and kept my camera on me so that I could take pictures as we were going down. That last video was taken at about 8:33 am. So, I guess we spent just over 45 minutes on the summit.

That’s about it! Seems like a lot to write for a pretty uneventful stay on the top of the world. I didn’t quite get into what my thoughts were but that was all just altitude induced stupidity and not much else.

Best of luck to all the people heading up the mountain this year. Take care!

Everest 2011: Summits and Deaths

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Just a quick update on the things happening on Everest this year. May 6 saw the first Sherpa team reach the summit from the south (Nepal) side, fixing ropes to the summit as they went. This now opens the doors for any and all teams to follow and try reaching the summit when the next weather windows come.

Also, there have been two deaths already reported on Everest this year, both on the south side. One of them was an American, and you can see a story on him here. When I read a story like that it definitely brings things into perspective again of what can happen out there, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

Anyways, now is a time to be staying on top of Everest action, as more and more teams plan for the summit, and more news should be hitting the streets as people do and don’t make it. For some of the latest news keep an eye on, they usually have the latest.

Hope everyone is enjoying their May so far! For those coming to my presentation at the CPL this Saturday, see you there! That will be three days away from my one-year Everest summit anniversary.

Take care!

After Everest, come hear about my trip!

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Since coming back from Mount Everest, I have managed to keep quite busy with life and haven’t written anything for a while. I have given a few slide shows to friends and family, and passed along some of the stories, but I’m now doing one as an open event! I will be doing a talk and showing pictures from my trip this Thursday, I encourage everyone to come out! But this event is not just about me, it’s a little different than the other presentations I’ve done; this event is organized along with World Vision, there will be printed pictures from my trip, and it will all be tied in to the larger picture of my fund raising efforts and World Vision as a whole. So even if you have seen my pictures before, you haven’t seen it like this!

If you’re at all interested in my Everest adventure, or in my fundraising campaign, come on out! The official invite can be seen here, or read on:

You’re invited to an inspirational photo exhibit. This one day, open house features photos by Wiktor Mazur, a local World Vision Child Sponsor, who climbed Mount Everest.

Thursday, November 25, 2010
Open House from 6:00 – 9:30 pm, with Wiktor sharing his story at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30
Health Sciences Centre, by Foothills Hospital
Theatre 3 (2nd floor, elevator available upon request)
3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary AB T2N 4N1

Back from his climb, Wiktor wants to share with you – through photos and stories – the challenges he endured and the triumphs he celebrated. Inspired by the children who live each day in poverty, Wiktor took on the grueling journey of climbing to the world’s peak, Mt. Everest; hoping to help these children enjoy life to its fullest.

Come see what he saw from the top of the world – see his photos and hear his story about climbing Mt. Everest.

SPECIAL FEATURE for Calgary: Seeing life through the lens of a child is a powerful experience.
Using a photography workshop, sponsored children, in Bangladesh and Zambia, learned basic composition and photography techniques. Then they took the cameras into their world – offering a rare photographic insight into the lives of sponsored children. They captured images of things they want to change and things they are proud of. The result is a celebration of their vision and their enthusiasm.

The children were also asked to photograph what they want to share with the world. Now you are invited to share in that experience with them – and see how the children look at their world.

Visit for more information (including map and parking information).

Suffering and Hope

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

For those who may not have been reading my blog too much, I often talk about how much suffering is involved in mountain climbing. What we have to put our minds and bodies through in high altitude mountaineering is not easy; you can’t quite train away the suffering that will have to be endured while acclimatizing on the mountain. It is the main reason I did this climb for charity, it was my way of putting myself into the suffering of those most needy in the world. On that note, there is a quote I heard just today that might put that suffering into a bit of perspective, for why people do it:

“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.”

Maybe if you’re ever going through some tough times yourself (climbing your own internal Everest) keep the above in mind.

Below, a couple more pictures from the summit, holding flags of the Knights of Columbus. My fellow Knights supported me on this climb both in moral support and donations, so much thanks to them all!

KofC Summit

KofC Summit

Snow Blindness and Sun Burn

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

I do not feel like writing too much right now, so I will post another couple of pictures that might tell their own story. While going from Camp 3 to Camp 4 I got sunburned on my cheeks under the sides of my eyes. That is what caused the scabs on my face. Also, while coming down from the summit I got mild snow blindness, which lead to my eyes and upper face being swollen. All together it looked like I got into a fight with the ugly stick and lost badly.

Snow Blindness and Sunburn

Making little mistakes on Everest like I did does have consequences. It’s an unforgiving mountain. Now things are better, I am in Kathmandu, once again back in civilization, enjoying it tremendously. My face seems to be healing well; while I still had scabs on my face it was a definite conversation starter. I got myself a haircut, now all I need is a real job.

Face Healing Well

Take care everyone and see you soon!

Namche Bazaar, 3440m

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Today we are taking a rest day at Namche Bazaar, our second stop on the way from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. If you look at our latest dispatch (which I see hasn’t been posted yet) you’ll know that everyone is doing good, and our bags not being here is the only issue that’s not perfect. So I wanted to elaborate on that a little bit because that’s pretty vague.

Myself, I am not feeling 100%. I started getting a little bit sick as we were leaving for our hike. I usually only get sick when I don’t sleep, and that was the case in Kathmandu, due to the jet lag. Also, the hotel room I was in was freshly painted and I seemed to get a little bit of an allergic reaction to that (or who knows what else that may have been in my room?) Anyways, it made me wonder what kind of paint they use in Nepal, somehow I don’t think it’s the latest and greatest in non-toxic paint, and I wonder how much lead is in it? Not something I would normally ask but under the circumstances… Anyways, I had a sore throat on the first day of our hike and felt pretty weak, right now I’m a little stuffed up, but luckily I have been sleeping a lot lately and seem to be getting over it.

I also have some stomach issues, I frequent the bathroom often among other things, but it’s something I experienced already on Cho Oyu, so I’m not too worried about it. I needed stomach antibiotics last time to sort that out, this time I’m hoping the pro biotic tablets I have can help.

There’s others on our team that are not at their best. One member has Giardia (sp?), another got a sore throat at the same time as me, but rather than get better his sore throat has been spreading lower, and now it’s sitting in his lungs. Others are getting typical headaches, things like that.

So things are not all perfect, but honestly this is about standard for these kinds of expeditions. But because it’s normal, don’t expect to hear these kinds of details in the dispatches that we send out.

That’s it for now, we’ll be another week or so in getting to base camp, I’ll try and write more if there’s anything worth mentioning, and if I have internet access. Hope everyone has a good Easter!