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Where EAST meets the Northwest

PEACE SUMMIT. Everest: A Climb for Peace documents the journey of nine climbers from different faiths and cultures as they climb to the summit of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. (Photo courtesy of the Everest Peace Project)

From The Asian Reporter, V18, #19 (May 6, 2008), page 14 & 19.

Climbing for peace

Everest: A Climb for Peace

Directed by Lance Trumbull

Produced by Billy Marchese and Lance Trumbull

Distributed by the Everest Peace Project

DVD, 63 minutes

By Julie Stegeman

It’s an extraordinary thing to see a man’s vision become reality. Lance Trumbull’s dream of promoting peace through a multicultural quest to the summit of Mount Everest is revealed in the film Everest: A Climb for Peace, which was shown at the Tibetan Community Center last month. Trumbull directed the film and was present at the screening to introduce it and answer questions afterward. The event was supported by the Nepali Association of Oregon, the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association, and the Everest Peace Project. Proceeds from the event were contributed to the education tuition fund for Maya, a young Nepali girl.

Building the dream

As the audience at the Tibetan Community Center settled in with a hot cup of chai, Trumbull explained the backstory of the film. In 2001 he decided to sell all of his belongings, with the exception of his climbing and trekking gear, and move to Kathmandu, Nepal. Lance wandered through many lands, including Tibet, China, and Russia. On October 2, 2002 he was in Ladakh, India looking down at a glorious valley when he had an epiphany; he would create a peace climb where people of different faiths and cultures would come together to journey to the "roof of the world," Mount Everest.

Lance then spent several years finding just the right group of people for the climb. He was interested in assembling a diverse team for the project. In the end, Lance found nine climbers from seven different countries and lands — Nepal, India, Palestine, New Zealand, Israel, South Africa, and the United States — and from six beliefs: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and atheism.

The film

The documentary itself is gripping, focusing on the relationship between Ali Bushnaq, the Palestinian, and the two Israelis, Dudu Yifrah and Micha Yaniv. Their two countries have bitterly fought for years, and for them to agree to participate on a team together is a feat in itself.

Narrated by Orlando Bloom, the opening scenes of the film introduce each climber against incredible background scenes from their homelands. The journey moves to Kathmandu, where the climbers gather to start their trek, only to be delayed from beginning their climb up the great mountain by riots in the city. After the group is allowed to leave Kathmandu, they stop at a monastery for a group prayer — their first act as a team — before commencing the climb up Everest. The audience follows the climbers as they slowly wend their way up the mountain to increasingly higher camps. Mount Everest is a treacherous mountain to climb, and roughly four percent of the people who attempt the summit die. Everyone is kept on the edge of their seat as the fate of the climbers on the final summit push unfolds. The documentary draws the viewer deeply into the journey, desperately wondering if the climb will end successfully.

The movie gives hope that the spirit of cooperation and brotherhood that blossomed when the group faced the daunting challenge of climbing Mount Everest can be achieved on a larger scale. Audience members Bob and Holly Hestand found the film to be "inspiring," and stated that the climbers’ "interdependence is a model for world peace."

Afterward

After the film, Trumbull answered questions from the audience. He revealed that finding funding and participants was a challenge and that he has "learned the three Ps: patience, persistence, and passion," which have carried him through the difficulties. He is currently trying to get the film onto TV for a larger audience to view.

To learn about the Everest Peace Project, to purchase the DVD of Everest: A Climb for Peace, or to download the film to a portable media player, e-mail <info@everestpeaceproject.org> or visit <www.everestpeaceproject.org>.