SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento’s Jim Geiger is the subject of a recently-released documentary film titled “Accidental Climber.”
It chronicles Geiger’s attempt back in 2014 to become the oldest American — and first great-grandfather — to summit Mount Everest.
But all of that changed during Geiger’s ascension of the world’s highest mountain.
“By accident, I sat down at this table and by accident, it was this guy who was interested in Everest. And by accident, he happened to be a filmmaker and by accident, the spaghetti stuck to the wall because he had all these projects,” Geiger explained.
On the evening of April 17, 2014, Geiger had just arrived at base camp, eventually lying down to sleep in his tent.
“The avalanche occurred the next morning, about 6:20 in the morning,” Geiger recalled. “All around us the mountain is sloughing, the ice is falling off, rocks are coming off. So, all of us got out of our tents and went to the mess tent and we started hearing that guys got killed.”
In all, 16 mountain guides were killed only a thousand feet from base camp.
Geiger waited five days on the mountain before descending.
He said today his time has passed to attempt to summit Mount Everest again. But he’s proud of the story the film tells despite the tragedy.
“You’ve got a lot of movies about guys summiting mountains but this is a whole ‘nother story,” Geiger said. “It’s about what I went through dealing with a real tragedy, the worst mountaineering tragedy in history, and what did I do with that information. And I think the story in the movie does tell that.”
At age 75 now, Geiger keeps going strong, using his 35 years of climbing experience to coach others, both on and off the mountain.
The “Accidental Climber” is out now and can be found on most major platforms.