Broad Peak (2022) Ending Explained – Does Maciej make it to the summit?

Broad Peak Plot Synopsis

Broad Peak is based on the life of extraordinary Polish mountaineer and guide, Maciej Berbeka. Beloved as one of the country’s vest and most adventurous climbers, Maciej climbs Broad Peak mountain and almost dies in doing so. He’s hailed a hero and makes mainstream news across the world. Only… there’s a problem.

25 years later, Maciej learns with crushing reality that he hasn’t actually conquered the mountain. He was 17 meters from the summit. Determined to “finish what he started”, Maciej decides to brave the mountain once more.

What happens the first time Maciej tries to climb Broad Peak?

Maciej decides to scale Broad Peak mountain with his companion, Alek. The blizzard is picking up and weather is bad. The two climbers are told to go back but instead they camp it out and wait until morning. Early the next day, the weather is eerily calm but ominous storm clouds at the tip of the mountain pose as a big warning. Alek gets cold feet and wants to go back, but Maciej presses on regardless of risk.

Maciej makes it to the summit alone, with Alek further down the mountain. The weather is grim; ice-cold winds whip around Maciej’s face and he’s told to descend before it’s too late. Maciej believes he’s beaten the 8000 meter boundary in winter in Karakoram. In reality, he’s 17 meters from the summit.

Does Maciej survive his descent?

At 11pm, Maciej is forced to dig a hole to hold tight partway down the mountain. In the morning, the storm is still raging. Maciej’s legs are frozen at this point and he has no choice but to descend. Climbers are coming up to try and grab him but it’ll take 2 days to reach him. 2 days that he doesn’t have. Maciek must make it down otherwise he’s going to die. Thankfully, Maciej claws his way down with Alek, who’s waiting partway down the mountain. He’s airlifted away from camp and heads back to his family.

Why does Maciej return to Broad Peak?

Maciej soon learns his expedition is not actually complete. He never made it to the peak, and the team kept it a secret from him as they were worried they’d lose him on the mountain. Had Maciej continued to climb that night, he would have almost certainly died on the way back down, regardless of the fact he “only” needed an extra hour or so. The “summit” that Maciej reached was actually the “Rocky Summit”, which is the fore-summit of Broad Peak.

As Maciej explains later on, this part of the mountain requires you to hike down again to go up, hence the illusion that Maciej mistakenly thought was the top he’d reached.

25 years later, Maciej is encouraged by Krzysztof Wielicki to go back and conquer the mountain again, finishing what they started alongside a whole bunch of young climbers.

Does Maciej make it to the summit?

The gang set out at 5pm but Krzysztof is worried, believing they’re setting off 3 hours too late. As they press on, it soon becomes clear that they’re 2 hours behind schedule.

The group make it to the Rocky Summit but the day is dragging on and going further would mean they need to descend in the dark. Maciej refuses to listen to these concerns and continues on all the same.

The film then just suddenly throws up some expository text, midway up the mountain, to let us know that these Polish mountaineers were the first to ascend Broad Peak in winter. Adam reached the summit at 5.20pm. Artur seized the summit 30 minutes later. Tomasz made it at 6pm. As for Maciej, he makes it to the top as well some time after, although we don’t get an exact time. Unfortunately, he died alongside Tomasz on their descent. This final point, however, happens off-screen.

What did the film miss from its ending?

Aside from the obvious descent itself, showing Maciej and Tomasz tragically losing their lives in the snow, we also don’t see Ewa reacting to this news back home.

In the real sequence of events, a party were sent out to try and find the two mountaineers but that only lasted two days before Maciej and Tomasz were declared dead. Their bodies were never found, presumably still up the mountain. At the time, Kryzsztof (the leader of the Polish Mountaineering Association) released a statement saying:

“Considering all the circumstances, conditions, my experience, history of Himalayan mountaineering, knowledge regarding physiology and high-altitude medicine as well as consultations with doctors and co-organizers of the expedition in Poland, I have to declare Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski dead.

Mountain climbing is a difficult and deadly activity. The storm clouds early in the movie ultimately act as a foreshadowed sign of things to come for Maciej. Although he achieves his goals and made it to the top, he also tragically loses his own life as a result.


Read More: Broad Peak Movie Review

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