189 miles, 11 mountain passes at over 16,000 feet in elevation, harsh weather conditions, and uncompromising terrain awaited four ultra-marathoners as they embarked on a journey to the Himalaya in Bhutan to take on the world’s most difficult trail, the Snowman Trek.
It had been the dream of alpinist and filmmaker Ben Clark to cap off his career of exploring the Himalayan peaks by completing a distance challenge. The Snowman Trek, a grueling route that requires those who attempt to cover about 48,000 feet of elevation gain, called to him. After three years of recruiting, fundraising, and planning, Ben Clark, Boulder resident and ultra-runner Timothy Olson, New Zealander and ultra trail runner Anna Frost, cinematographer Chris Ord, and Bhutanese guide Wang Chuk set out not only to complete the trek, but also to set the speed record on the trail. And they did it: Clark, Olson, Frost, and Wang Chuk finished the route in 15 days and nine hours, breaking the record and halving the standard 30 days it takes most to complete.
Their adventure sits perpetually on the cusp of total failure; they faced storms, hypothermia, altitude sickness, locals who thought the feat was impossible, and physical exhaustion on their 15-day journey. But the triumph not only of the singular, record-breaking accomplishment, but also of the shared joy and triumph of spirit of the team and Bhutanese locals ultimately made for an incredible story about what one discovers when they push beyond the known limits.
As Clark reflects, “To be the first to climb, ski, and explore mountain and regions was the driver, but why do it if you can’t share it? A defining virtue and purpose of exploring entails documenting these places for the world to see, but it is what we discover that becomes the story.”
38-year-old Clark is now retired from high-alpine adventures and splits his time between Brooklyn, New York and Telluride, Colorado while working on film projects and spending time with his family.
The Snowman Trek will premiere for an exclusive, one-night only event at 350 movie theaters around the country on Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m. Visit fathomevents.com to purchase tickets for a showing near you.
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