When Goal Zero brand ambassador, seasoned mountaineer, and National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk joined the quest to solve one of Everest’s most enduring mysteries, he knew he’d need to bring rugged, rechargeable, and lightweight portable power sources. Not only was the expedition supported by an army of small devices but Renan’s documentation of the spring 2020 ascent as a feature film relied on the use of power-hungry drones to capture breathtaking aerial footage within the 8,000 meter “death zone.” Fortunately, he knew Goal Zero gear was up to the challenge of powering the Everest expedition.
The Ghost Above is the haunting beautiful story of the ascent as Ozturk and his fellow climbers search Everest for the lost body of Andrew “Sandy” Irvine, who disappeared alongside British explorer George Mallory in a 1924 attempt to reach the summit. Irvine, whose final resting place remains unknown, is rumored to have been holding the camera that could provide proof they reached the peak decades before Hillary.
While the gripping tale of The Ghost Above unfolds over the course of 45 days as the group moves from base camp to advanced base camp and finally summits at 29,045 feet, Ozturk also recounts how Goal Zero gear supported his team every step of the way.
“The higher we went, the smaller/lighter Goal Zero gear we used. Our main advanced base camp setup was the big Boulder hard panels connected to a Yeti 1500x, then paired down to Nomad 50’s and 10’s with some Sherpa 100AC and PD for higher on the mountain. At the very top it was just the very lightest weight Venture power bank and no panel since it was a near 40 non-stop push.”
Ozturk recounts a severe storm that swept into Advanced Base Camp with gale force winds, shredding tents and destroying anything that wasn’t secured. While extreme weather is part and parcel of summiting a peak like Everest, this storm was particularly significant. And through it all, despite getting cracked in the cyclone-force winds, Goal Zero’s Boulder solar panels kept delivering essential power to the team.
“It was the ultimate battle test especially in light of some historical cyclone wind events that stripped entire camps off the mountain, also lifting our largest Boulder panels and smashing the outer glass like I’ve never seen happen before. The fact that they kept working not only saved the day so we could keep telling the story but was a testament to bomber internal construction.”
While the group was not successful in discovering Irvine's body, the lessons Everest provides are always profound. Ozturk’s footage captures both the stark grandeur of the world’s highest peak and the tension of trying to create a sustainable experience amid growing commercialization on Everest. As Renan narrates in The Ghost Above, he struggles to tread carefully in sacred spaces and to invest in telling stories that matter while minimizing impact on the landscape and the people.
“Every shutter click and shot is ‘expensive’ in terms of overall life force when you are up that high altitude and every ounce of power collected from the sun is precious. Thanks so much GZ family for the support on this one! See “The Ghosts Above” on YouTube for more. “