Experiencing Interruptions?

Rusty's Ascent

For as long as he can remember, Robert “Rusty” Bailey knew he would one day climb Mount Everest. Growing up in Zimbabwe was the perfect training ground for an aspiring Everest mountaineer. Rusty grew on the rocks and taught himself everything he could about big-wall climbing. Along the way he racked up so many first ascents that he lost count. He climbed with the likes of Royal Robins and Tom Frost, worked with the BBC on climbing documentaries and got his doctorate in Outdoor education.

Summiting Mount Everest seemed inevitable. Which is why in 1982 when he was asked to be a part of the first Canadian team to attempt the peak he jumped at the opportunity. In 1982 Everest had only been summited by less than 30 people ever, success was not certain. If he made it to the top it would mean fame, fortune, and a lengthy climbing career summiting the highest peaks in the world.

Rusty left for the expedition with not only his wife and two daughters support but the whole of Canada rooting on the intrepid climbers from Calgary. The team was eager to reach the summit which may have led to the string of events that followed. Three sherpas were killed in an avalanche that also buried Rusty, almost killing him before he even got through the Khumbu. Two days later Rusty and the team are anchoring ropes that had been buried in the earlier avalanche when the ice field collapsed around them killing another member of their team.

At this point Rusty begins to reconsider the cost that he is asking himself and his young family to pay. Is it worth it to risk his life for the potential glory that could await him at the summit, or is Mount Everest just another lump of snow.

Rusty's Ascent is the culmination of a number of conversations that filmmaker Jordan Halland had with Rusty over the years. It is a meditation on the adventurers remorse, the guilt anyone who makes a career in risking their life feels when they pursue their dream at the expense of their family.

Rusty's Ascent does not attempt to answer the question but highlight an individuals story of wrestling with this often undiscussed internal struggle.

  • Jordan Halland
    Brighter Night, Strongwater
  • Jordan Halland
  • Jordan Halland
  • Cameron Hotchkiss
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Adventure, historical
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 4, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    100 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jordan Halland

Jordan Halland is a filmmaker based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

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