Tales of Himalayan tragedy, triumph light the Wheeler screen tomorrow | AspenTimes.com

Tales of Himalayan tragedy, triumph light the Wheeler screen tomorrow

Aspen Times Staff Report

A year and a half after a deadly avalanche on the slopes of Shishapangma foiled a climbing party’s attempt to claim the first American ski descent from an 8,000-meter peak, another expedition with Aspen connections accomplished the feat.

In May of 2000, identical twins Mike and Steve Marolt of Aspen skied from the top of the 26,047-foot (8,012 meters) peak located entirely in Tibet after summiting along with Aspenites Jim Gile and Cherie Silvera and Maxut Zhumayev of Kazakhstan.

Silvera, a filmmaker with the Aspen-based American Adventure Productions (AAP), documented the expedition for a film that airs at the Wheeler Opera House tomorrow night in conjunction with another AAP production that chronicles the earlier expedition to Shishapangma that ended in tragedy.

In October of 1998, while attempting Shishapangma by another route, an avalanche killed Dave Bridges of Aspen and Alex Lowe, who was widely regarded as the Michael Jordan of climbing. Bridges was on the expedition in the capacity of high-altitude cameraman and the subsequent film – recently named the best film on mountain sports at the prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival – draws heavily on his work.

“Shishapangma – A Celebration of Life,” the film about the Bridges and Lowe expedition, and “Shishapangma: Ski from the Death Zone,” the film about the Marolt’s climb, will be shown Thursday at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the screening benefit the Aspen Alpine Club.

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