Jamling Norgay known as the “Son of the Everest Pioneer” and star of the awe-inspiring documentary ‘Everest’, is an experienced mountaineer and inspirational speaker who takes his audiences through his journey to trace his father’s famous footsteps.
Ever since Jamling Tenzing Norgay’s father, Tenzing Norgay, said “I climbed Everest so that my children wouldn’t have to”, Jamling had been seized by a passion to follow in his father’s historic footsteps; to step onto Mount Everest’s icy skin and learn the lessons she has to teach.
Destiny reserves the telling of some tales for certain people. In his illustrated presentation, Touching My Father’s Soul – An Odyssey to the Top of Everest, Jamling brings to life a profound and compelling adventure, interweaving the lives of a family, a mountain and a people, and of climbers facing nearly insurmountable obstacles. It is a story of disaster, triumph, professionalism and the resilience of the human spirit.
Clearly, it takes an unusual level of aspiration to simply decide to attempt Everest never mind make a film on it. And to reach the summit and return safely to base camp demands extraordinary commitment and perseverance. On Everest, the stakes are high: Only one climber in seven who attempt it reaches the top. Of every five who do reach the summit, one dies trying. To add to the difficulty of making a film on Everest, The IMAX Filming team brought one of the world’s heaviest cameras, and hundreds of pounds of film (8 pounds of IMAX film lasts 90 seconds). At altitudes where team members cut their toothbrushes in half to save weight, careful planning defines the success, and safety, of the expedition.
Jamling uses expedition slides to illustrate not only the organization and dynamics of the IMAX Filming team’s Everest climb, but he explores the natural and human events that led to the loss of 8 climbers in one storm and 12 climbers over the season. The IMAX team responded to the tragedy skillfully and compassionately, by shifting gears and immediately dedicating all of their oxygen and resources to the rescue. Two weeks later, following intense soul searching, consultation with Jamling’s family priest and study of weather conditions, they reached the top with the IMAX camera. One seldom sees such a level of organization and team effort: to film from the summit required that 11 people reach the top along with the camera, while 40 others delivered supplies and provided critical backup.
Throughout his talk, Jamling interweaves the little known story of his father’s historic first ascent in 1953, with Edmund Hillary, and shows how the mountain has changed in the past half century – and how it hasn’t.
With the right combination of attributes and proper motivation, climbers are sometimes granted a chance to step onto Everest’s icy skin, and then retreat, taking with them important lessons about the human condition and what it takes to succeed. Indeed, the Sherpa people especially recognize that one can’t conquer Everest without respect and experience. In climbing Everest the objective is not just to reach the top of the mountain, for that would be like setting a goal of swimming to the middle of the ocean but as team member Ed Viesturs put it, “Getting to the top is optional, but getting down is mandatory.”
Aspiration and ambition are essential, but the mountain cannot be climbed on hopes and dreams alone. Judgment calls are difficult and decisions made on the mountain can be critical. Jamling takes his listeners through an incredible journey of what it really takes to succeed and the lessons we can learn that this dangerous mountain has to teach us.