Everest: Beyond the Limit   April 24th, 2010

Originally Written 09/12/07

I need to get back on track with writing, correspondence and other personal projects, but I’ve been catching up on my movie and TV watching lately as well. Last night and today I finally got around to watching Everest: Beyond the Limit, which had been languishing on my TiVo since last November. It was the Discovery Channels coverage of one team’s expedition to the peak of the highest mountain.

It was fascinating to watch. Like all documentaries and reality TV, they film all the footage, and then piece it together afterwards. Therefore, when they’re telling the stories, they know how it’s going to turn out and they can choose what to focus on, to have things play out to a script of sorts. There was plenty of real human drama and tragedy, and it was nice watching the people who tried to make it, some succeeding, and others failing at various points. A couple of people failed within sight of the summit, and barely made it down safely.

They didn’t pull any punches showing the danger of the mountain, which I was glad for. They showed the perils and after-affects of frostbite and how it’s possible to lose life and limb making the gambit to get to the top. The fact that the mountain is littered with bodies of those who have died and can’t be brought back down is a sobering thought. They ran into one climber who had been separated from his group and who was unconscious and dying. They couldn’t do anything for him and they had to leave him to his death.

I also really appreciated how much they showed of the Sherpas too. A lot of the time these Burmese mountain men get ignored. They do most of the work, bringing up equipment, setting up the safety ropes and even carrying people up and down parts of the trip. Without their tireless efforts, the Western Mountaineers couldn’t make it, so it was really nice to see them shown for their pride, bravery and strength and have them share some of the spotlight.

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