Saturday, September 18, 2010

Adventurer's Eye: The Autobiography of Everest Film-Man Tom Stobart, by Tom Stobart; page 164

(This book begins here.)

Arriving in the Himalayas in early spring, Stobart finds there is not much mountain climbing to be done. He instead chooses a trek that will bring him close to Nanda Devi, and hires four coolies for the journey. Locals continually tell him to turn back, because the way forward is impossible, but he continues on, eventually reaching his destination and meeting a Buddhist hermit who happens to speak English. He continues working for the military through the war, and decides following the end of European hostilities to take a final trek before returning home. He, a friend, and a man they find through the mail, decide to climb (with Stobart filming) Nun Kun, a 23,000 foot unclimbed peak near Kashmir. Along with three Sherpas and local porters, they head to the mountain, and set up base camp. Stobart finds filming while climbing exceedingly difficult. They set up two advanced camps before giving up due to all of their oil stoves giving out. Upon returning, Stobart finds that most of his filming poor and somewhat boring, and takes the trip as an education, rather than a feature.

In England, he turns to scientific filming after teaching for a bit, and eventually lands himself on an Antarctic expedition. On the way down, he does his best to film, but finds that he needs to work exceedingly hard to get along with his shipmates and remain unnoticed as often as possible. The boat meets up with a commercial whaler that carried their heaviest cargo through the rougher seas, and he is aghast of the dirtiness and efficiency of what he sees. He is equally squeamish of the killing of seals by the crew on their way down. They work hard to find a place to offload the equipment on the uncharted coast of Queen Maud Land before the end of the Antarctic summer. After an extended search, they find a mooring, and set up a camp for several men to winter in, and the crew and Stobart head out just as pancake ice is beginning to form around them. Stobart convinces the film company to allow him to do some filming in South Africa before his return.

Stobart decides to settle down, and takes a job with a friend, but gives notice three days later after being invited to film in Central Africa. He gets practice filming at a wild animal holding facility, and then heads out to film the capture of wild animals for zoos by the proprietors. He doesn't like the idea of these animals being in zoos, but he enjoys the filming, none the less.

Tomorrow, Everest!

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