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—Courtesy of Meru

Defying Death

Meru showcases a local climber's assault on one of the world's most harrowing summits.

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Colorado has no shortage of adventurers and daredevils, but some simply bring their death-defying feats to mind-boggling levels.

Take Boulder-based climber Renan Ozturk. Among numerous other setbacks, he’s fractured his skull and a few vertebra—and that was before he faced his toughest climb yet.

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5280 readers first met Ozturk in 2012 when I interviewed him for a series of stories about Coloradans’ addiction to adrenaline. At the time he’d recently completed his first ascent of the Meru peak in northern India, one of the most notoriously perilous climbs in the world. Those who dare must battle the worst kind of weather while hanging from the sheer side of the shark fin-shaped peak, even while sleeping.

Along with fellow climbers Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker, Ozturk not only scaled Meru, they filmed it. The result is the eponymous Meru, a documentary that chronicles the trio’s second attempt at the feat. (They’d previously tried and failed in 2008, which put them in the same category of dozens of other climbers over the years.)

Meru premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to widespread acclaim, and next month it will be coming to a big screen near you. On August 14, the film opens in Denver and Boulder and will also premiere in Fort Collins on September 4.

Whether you fancy yourself a fearless outdoor warrior or are content to absorb these exploits on the screen, Meru promises to deliver a remarkable storytelling experience.

Follow 5280 editor-at-large Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.

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