First on Everest


Mount Everest – the world’s highest peak. A mountain full of human glory and tragedy, terrifying truths and unsolved mysteries. In 1953, Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first men ever to conquer this unforgiving peak. That’s the way the story is written in our history books. This film casts doubt on the generally accepted version of the story.

In 1999, German adventurer Jochen Hemmleb makes a sensational finding during a risky Himalaya expedition: Just below the summit of Everest, he and his international search expedition discovered the well-preserved body of a long-lost mountaineer. A man many believe really was the first man ever on Everest: British mountain legend George Mallory. One of the best climbers of his time, he led an adventurous Himalaya expedition in 1924.

Together with his climbing partner Andrew Irvine he started for a daring ascent to the top. But just below the summit of Everest the two climbers disappeared behind a bank of clouds – and left us with a tantalizing mystery: Did they reach the top of the world?

In May 2010, Jochen Hemmleb and a film crew set out on a daring search expedition high on the flanks of Everest. They were looking for Mallory’s climbing partner Irvine – and a small camera the two took with them and that might turn history upside down. With the help of modern science and state-of-the-art re-enactments the documentary takes us on a spectacular journey to the roof of the world where the mystery is to be solved…


Award: Grand Prix Bansko Mountain Film Festival 2011

Producer: Bernd Wilting, Christoph Weber

Director: Gerald Salmina