Arts & Entertainment

The Last Mountain – a beautifully tragic documentary

Kleine Schreckhorn 3494m, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland 2015

Everybody understands that climbing the world’s highest mountains is an arduous, gruelling & dangerous task, but for some people the pull of conquering these giants is unshakeable. Tragically this mysterious pull would draw two mountaineers to their untimely deaths – a quarter of a century apart.

The Last Mountain is a documentary which explores the tragic deaths of Allison Hargreaves & her son Tom Ballard, both of whom passed in climbing accidents whilst scaling some of the world’s highest mountains in the Himalayas.

Whilst for some people the inner drive to summit the world’s highest peaks is hard to pin down. But for Tom Ballard the source of his passion is easy to pinpoint. Growing up Tom would witness his mother become the first woman ever to reach the top of Mount Everest without bottled oxygen or assistance from Sherpas. Sadly just a few months later Tom, and his younger sister Kate, would learn that their mother & five other climbers had died on K2 when they were engulfed by a storm. At this moment Tom, Kate & their father Jim would set out to see the place where Allison would remain & the need to summit the world’s highest peaks would take foot in Tom.

In the years following Tom would blaze a trial of his own & become a world renowned mountaineer in his own right. Then tragically history would repeat itself when Tom would never return from a climb of Nanga Parbat, a mountain just 100 miles from his mother’s resting place.

It is here that Chris Terrill’s heart-wrenching documentary The Last Mountain really begins to take shape as we witness Kate one again make a journey to the Himalayas to witness the final resting place of a family member.

Using archival footage, social media clips & video of very intimate moments alongside Kate The Last Mountain is a very emotionally moving film. First & foremost this is a film about a young man following his passion & thriving doing what he loves. It is also a film about tragedy, heartbreak & the danger of obsessing over a passion. And finally, The Last Mountain is about grief.

This is a film which will sit in your thoughts & heart long after the credits roll. A truly beautiful but sullen film.


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