"Zabardast" زبردست : "brilliant", "super" in Urdu
Close-up on trembling hands accompanied by a voice-over plagued by doubt, suspended on an icy cliff, Léo confides in his walkie-talkie, this is how this 60-minute visual adventure between freeriding and mountaineering opens. Three riders and two High Mountain guides portray the main characters, but the one that stands out is the north tower of Biacherahi. See you in this mount landscape nestled in the Karakoram massif in Pakistan, at an altitude of 5,850 meters, a spectacle between the white of the peaks and the blue sky composing a mountain picture ideal. The goal? The ascent of this slope that looks like a shark's tooth, discovered through the pages of a book ofmountain pictures, for the privilege of tracing some new turns on skis and snowboard. Two weeks of walking for barely a few minutes of descent, the calculations border on madness.
Expe in a XXL size landscape photo
That was just to set the scene. Moving on to serious matters, we discover the human values that push these inspired adventurers to the challenge. Let's start with the environmental commitment, no helicopter, the adventure will be crammed into 4X4, on foot and on skis to limit the carbon footprint of the expedition. However, the preparations reveal 360 kg of material including 50 kg of gas, blocks of cheese, dried fruit and dehydrated food. Something to quench this thirst for adventure! From the start, this crazy bet kept our men spellbound, apprehension following in their footsteps. We dive straight into the action, in the paradise of landscape picture. Departing from Askole on the old Silk Road, the fine team accompanied by porters heads towards the vast Nobande Sobande glacier before being able to set eyes on the famous Biacherahi tower. Several crossings are on the program, between the Skam La pass at 5,660 meters above sea level and the Sim Gang glacier and its Snow Lake. The expedition contains several crazy bets, that of climbing an uncertain peak and descending into the powder on the other side. Guaranteed sensations for lovers of aerial photo ! Another challenge: a 150 km loop through this mountain landscape unknown, alone without carriers.
Storm of emotions in nature
Right in the middle of mountain landscape imposing, the men in turn will open their hearts and share their feelings. Because this expedition goes beyond the simple hunt for thrills against a backdrop of mountain picture sensational. Zach, the American, talks about the inspiration and perspective he gets from this trip, about what makes him want to be a better man when he returns home. At the heart of the storm, Yannick, the experienced High Mountain guide lets go: “We don't cut corners. Still, I love lace, but not here. Here, I am a brute.” Because you have to hold on to reach the reward, be patient and stay warm in the snow during a storm that lasts more than four days. Then there is isolation, difficulty breathing, dizziness, the weight of doubt, a mysterious illness and exhaustion that lie in wait. Do not exceed the limit of fatigue, even when you are at your wit's end - to survive. Here the mountain landscape food for thought, Zabardast tells a beautiful lesson of life, that of being present. Because the pleasure of being there is defined in the enthusiasm and the sublime, but also in the difficulty, the questions and the renunciation.
A SHARK TOOTH WORTHY OF A SURREALIST PHOTOGRAPHY
Together in the face of conditions far from mountain picture holidays, men come up against those decisive moments, where the omnipresent fear whispers to you that it is better to let go. So close to the goal, reality melts into a dream, even if it can quickly turn into a nightmare at the first wrong step. Because if the error is human, it has no place here. Then comes the slap after the first downhill slope, an unusual warm-up. Worthy of a surreal photography, the immaculate slope of the shark's tooth defies the fine team. She is sublime and she wrinkles!
On the edge or shrinking in this mountain landscape
“Light as a cat,” Leo repeats to himself as he painstakingly plows his way up the icy cliff with his ice axe. The aerial photo vertiginous emptiness, the crunch of the ice under the skis and the noise of the sliding rope during the 150-meter abseiling descent... It's as if we were there with these crazy people! The skyline filmed at gopro makes us shiver alongside them during the countdown to the drop. The descents follow one another, steep and impressive with shouting at the top of their voices - they have well deserved these rides madness. Focused on tracing curves on a ruthless vertical and frightening line, they can only be present, a detail in a mountain landscape to which the drone makes all its greatness. “We live things in the real, in the raw,” sums up Yannick well. Because it is not just a question of a difficult ascent, but of walking in a tightrope on threatening ridges and navigating unknown glaciers in the moonlight. It's staying engaged and awake in the middle of a childhood dream.
The ultimate message of the mountain landscape
This epic reminds us of the immensity of our planet and the gigantic treasures it knows how to hide. Filmed in aerial view, Man holds his place as a guest, but nature quickly recalls his dominance, magnanimous and terrifying. It is by diving into this mountain landscape and by vibrating alongside adventurers that we realize the urgency of protecting places like Snow Lake or the glaciers that surround it. Zabardast reminds us of our human condition, of our responsibility to chase after our dreams while taking care of our planet. Isn't that one of the goals of the landscape photography, to move us to inspire us to preserve the subject of a framing worthy of a image d’art ?
Zabardast, a film by Jérôme Tanon with Léo Taillefer, Thomas Delfino, Helias Millerioux & Yannick Graziani. Images filmed by Pierre Fréchou & Julien Nadiras.