Hamish MacInnes is a renowned Scottish Mountaineer, credited with inventing the metal ice axe, the MacInnes stretches used in mountain rescue and many first ascents of mountains around the globe. This film charts his life almost in reverse. Currently 89, the film documents his life as a man living with dementia who had been detained in a Psychiatric Hospital due to his diagnosis of dementia, and delirium due to a Urinary Tract Infection. He finds his memory poor, relying on reading his own books (of which he states he has written over 40) and watching expeditions he has been a part of. It highlights his struggles both physically and mentally as he is confined to his hospital room, unable to escape outside.
The film continues to document his rich and varied life, and how mountaineering has evolved throughout his lifetime. He acknowledges that he has lost many friends along the way but that luck has mainly kept him out of harm’s way and not that he had any more experience or took more precautions than his friends. Though the film mainly focuses on his mountaineering endeavours, it also charts our society’s views on the elderly and a great man struggling with his identity with the burden of old age.
It’s wonderful to see this great man reflect on the life he has lived, his inventions that have forever changed mountaineering, and that he is truly a Scottish legend who will be remembered.
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