In the summer of 1986 five Swiss alpinists (two women) climbed the north face of Everest. Only two of them, Erhard Loretan and Jean Troillet, managed to reach the top at 8848 metres without oxygen or tents after a forty hour struggle. Apart from this feat the film emphasizes the relations between the five alpinists and especially how they get on while living together and what they think is the force that drives a man in the mountains.
Jean Afanassieff is a French mountaineer, director, cameraman and producer. He has made 11 films that have featured and won awards at major mountain film festivals, including Trento, Banff, San Sebastian, Les Diablerets, Graz, Katowice, Telluride, La Plagne, Antibes, and Autrans. In 1978, he became the first French mountaineer to climb Everest. In 1979, he set a new world record for high-altitude downhill skiing (8,300 metres). He has taken part in a range of expeditions, including the first ascent of Mont Ross (Kerguelen Islands) and the first ascent of the north face of Mount Fitz Roy (Patagonia). His love of mountaineering and the mountains led him to become a mountain guide and technical consultant. In 1991, he was a jury member of the international TrentoFilmfestival.