Between the 1920s and the 1960s the world's great powers sent vast military-style expeditions to conquer the peaks of the Himalayas, with Everest at their head. This was a great game played - camera in hand - by Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany and superpower America. As a result, Himalayan mountaineering's most iconic, epic and tragic moments didn't just go down in history, but were caught on film - from the deaths of Mallory and Irvine on Everest in 1924, to Everest's final conquest in 1953 by Hillary and Tensing. Using footage never before seen on British television, this is the story how of how film-makers turned the great peaks into great propaganda.
Following the Yangtze along Tiger Leaping Gorge into Yunnan in China, Palin reaches the easternmost end of the Himalayas. He gets a medical check-up before exploring medieval Lijiang with the director of the local orchestra. Heading over Myanmar to Nagaland in India he rides the steam train to Tipong Coalmine. In Assam he rides an elephant and then stays in a strange monastery.
Category:Culture Duration:59:00 Series: Himalaya with Michael Palin
In the high-stakes game of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting at the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the Shark’s Fin has seen more failed attempts by elite climbing teams over the past 30 years than any other ascent in the Himalayas. To undertake Meru, says Jon Krakauer, the bestselling author of Into Thin Air, "You can’t just be a good ice climber. You can’t just be good at altitude. You can’t just be a good rock climber. It’s defeated so many good climbers and maybe will defeat everybody for all time. Meru isn’t Everest. On Everest you can hire Sherpas to take most of the risks. This is a whole different kind of climbing."
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