Base Camp

40 Days on Everest

Dianne Whelan

It takes forty days to know the mountain.

Each spring, over eight hundred climbers attempt to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. The conditions are challenging, and without warning can become life-threatening. Some make it to the top of what is considered the world’s most majestic mountain, but others are not so lucky, and in the attempt to reach the elusive summit, many more have tragically lost their lives. Not all are recovered, their bodies left to the mountain.

In the spring of 2010, filmmaker Dianne Whelan travelled to Everest. In this personal and eye-opening exposé, Base Camp: 40 Days on Everest, Whelan shares gripping stories of Maoist rebels, avalanches and dead bodies surfacing out of a dying glacier. From Base Camp, she interviews climbers, doctors and Sherpas all living for months on end in the belly of the mountain as they wait for a weather window to summit the top of the world. In this push to achieve the summit, many do not survive. Woven into the personal stories is the devastating truth of the human impact on the mountain and the eerie and unforeseen effects of climate change.

But in coming to know the mountain and its people, Dianne must also confront the truth of her own ambitions, and the toll they take on her physical well-being and her relationships. Through immersing herself in the challenging and captivating world of Base Camp, she must find her own path away from ego and judgment to a place of humility and forgiveness.

“An entertaining, nail-biting and thought-provoking read.”


Base Camp threads together, in an exquisite way, Dianne Whelan’s journey with the reality of Everest mountain culture that brings together people from a diversity of traditions, and is a delight of a read…”

–Ron Dart, Cloudburst

Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC

“…a worthy addition to the literature of the world’s highest mountain. As a down-to-earth narrative of trekking to and living at Everest Base Camp, it is valuable reading for anyone contemplating going there.”

–Mike Nash, Canadian Alpine Journal 2014