The Wall of Shadows review – Sherpas caught between a rock and a hard place


In this thought-provoking documentary, a family of Sherpas face a moral dilemma while scaling a sacred and dangerous mountain

The appeal of climbing documentaries generally seems to rest on the vicarious thrill of watching maverick free spirits risk life, limb and frost-bitten extremities, all captured by heart-stopping drone camerawork. Eliza Kubarska’s film takes a slightly different approach, and as such might not chime completely with the ready-made audience whose tastes were honed by stirring adventure docs such as Free Solo.

Kubarska focuses not on the climbers but on a family of Sherpas who are caught between the pull of a high-paying job leading a trio of alpinists and the cultural taboo of climbing the most sacred of their holy mountains, Kumbhakarna (or Jannu) in Nepal. In its gentle, slightly meandering way, The Wall of Shadows asks important questions – about western entitlement, and whether scaling a mountain is the same as respecting it.

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Written by Wendy Ide
This news first appeared on under the title “The Wall of Shadows review – Sherpas caught between a rock and a hard place”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.