“Above 8000 metres, in the deadly world of high altitude mountaineering, just by breathing the oxygen-depleted air climbers are slowly dying. On May 19th 2012, far above 8,000 metres, Nadav Ben-Yehuda, aged 24 years old, was about to become the youngest Israeli to reach the summit of Mount Everest. But then something happens which will change his life forever.


300 meters away from the top of the world, he finds a collapsed Turkish climber close to death and, against the unspoken rules of extreme altitude mountaineering, decides to give up on the summit and save the climber's life. Ben-Yehuda embarks on a 36 hours rescue mission that he barely survives, leaving scars on his body and in his soul until this day.


In the ensuing years he regains fitness and becomes a world-renowned high altitude mountaineer. In 2018, on his final climb before a return to Everest, Ben-Yehuda sets out to summit, without oxygen, the dangerous Kanchenchunga in the Himalayas, the world’s third highest mountain. Soloing 150m below the summit, he falls. Ben-Yehuda is given up for dead by climbers in the camps far below but when his head-torch is seen twinkling near the distant summit, rescuers set out, leading to Ben-Yehuda’s own dangerous climbing rescue.

After suffering dreadful frostbite, he is now confined to a wheelchair and a long painful road to recovery. With some even questioning the story of the rescue he made back in 2012, he battles to keep alive his dreams of summiting the world’s highest mountains.


Ben-Yehuda is set on returning to Mount Everest to tell his story of the truth of the rescue of 2012. “Back to the Death Zone” is a remarkable tale of courage, commitment, driven dedication, loss and redemption. This deeply personal documentary uses animation and exquisite action imagery to create an unparalleled exploration of the psyche of high altitude mountaineering. The film challenges the accepted norms of climbing the world’s highest mountain, looking deeply at both the code of extreme mountaineers and the commercialism of an iconic wilderness that brings out the best and worst in humanity. It is a search for closure that leads Nadav to explore both his soul and the limits of love and compassion.”




Status: In pre-production, Israel Channel 1.

Collaborators: Directors: Yonatan Nir, Andy Byatt. 

Co-production: Yonatan Nir, Amberjack Films Ltd. 

Animation: Yoni Goodman. 

Mountaineering: Nadav Ben-Yehuda

© 2018 Yoni Goodman
© 2019 Yonatan Nir Films and Nadav Ben Yehuda