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Hitting movie theaters next month, National Geographic Entertainment’s The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest teaches audiences that if you can dream it — you can do it. (Especially with a little technology thrown in.)

When British explorer George Mallory began his ascent of Mount Everest in 1924, it was revolutionary. Nobody had yet stood “on top of the world.” When he vanished during the expedition, it became the stuff of legend.

American mountaineer Conrad Anker discovered Mallory’s body 800 feet below the summit in 1999. That discovery is the jumping-off point in the upcoming National Geographic Entertainment IMAX film The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest (in theaters Aug. 6), whose themes resonate with today’s mountain-climbing enthusiasts.

“George was of a bygone era, one where people dreamed big,” says the film’s British director, Anthony Geffen, of his attraction to the story. “Whether he actually made it to the top is inconsequential. His story takes us to a place that reminds us all of the sheer force behind believing physically and emotionally that it’s possible to achieve something.”

Today, novice and veteran mountain climbers alike understand the importance of tapping into that interior spring of triumph and willpower. But 21st-century climbers have one distinct advantage: technology.

“Just the technology of the gear involved — the crampon boots, the sophisticated layering of undergarments, and the airtight zip and seals of the outer shell — makes being in -45 degrees for sustained periods of time possible,” recalls Geffen of his frigid days filming on Everest.

Mark Gunlogson, president of Mountain Madness, a guide company and climbing school in Seattle, concurs. “From the simple stuff, like gear, to sophisticated communication systems that allow for real-time weather forecasts [so] climbers can choose optimal times to make summit attempts, technology has had an impact.” And the payoff is worldwide: “Mountains that were once the domain of elite mountain climbers are now accessible,” he says.

Gunlogson won’t dismiss even the most challenging goal or climb. “The seven summits [Anconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid, Denali, Elbrus, Everest, Kilimanjaro and Vinson] is a goal that is possible for a novice to attempt with proper guidance from a guide service.” Which means that tomorrow, you, too, could be on your way to standing on top of the world.

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Himalayan Experience
(specializes in Mount Everest and the Himalayas)

Mountain Madness
(climbing school and expedition guides)
(800) 328-5925

RMI Expeditions
Ashford, Wash.
(expedition guides for worldwide destinations)
(888) 892-5462


Pack light:
You’ll be carrying your own gear plus likely a portion of your group’s.

Pack right:
What you bring will determine how warm and dry you remain — elements that are essential to success.

Know your equipment:
Have the right tool for the job. Invest in equipment that is dependable, of good quality and adaptable to a variety of conditions.