Everest: Beyond The Limit Season 2 – Episode 1

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The Discovery Channel launched Season 2 of Everest: Beyond The Limit tonight, with the first episode entitled Dream Chasers.

Early in the episode we’re introduced to the team that we’ll be following this season, withs ome familiar faces returning. First and foremost, we have Russell Brice, the expedition leader and owner of HiMex, one of the leading guide services on the North Side. Brice’s Sherpas are generally the first up the mountain, and usually lay down the fixed ropes for all the teams to follow.

Also returning is fan favorite Tim Medvetz, the big biker who fell just short of the summit last season, and Mogens Jensen, the asthmatic climber who attempted a summit last year with out supplemental oxygen, and also was turned back. Seeing both of these men back on the mountain, and knowing what they went through in Season 1, is a bit like seeing old friends. I know I’ll be pulling for both of them to achieve their goals this season.

The other interesting climber that comes with a bit of baggage before the show even beings is Betsy Huelskamp. I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone who doesn’t know her story, but she’ll be a compelling addition to the show. It could be my imagination, but seemed like they were already laying the ground work for events yet to come.

As first episodes go, this was a good one, even though it covered a lot of the same ground as last season. I suppose some of that is for the new viewers, who may be experiencing the show, and Everest itself, for the first time.

For instance, we see the climbers trek from Base Camp up to Advanced Base Camp early on, while the Sherpas are already busy laying down the fixed lines. That queues up a familiar graphic explaining the “Death Zone”, which looks pretty much like it’s the same as last year.

One early, compelling scene showed Tim standing amongst the memorials erected for climbers who have died on the mountain. The monument that he is standing next to is clearly labeled with the name of David Sharp, the climber who died last year on the mountain under controversial circumstances.

Some people blamed Brice for not helping Sharp, and reportedly as many as 35 or 40 climbers stepped over and around Sharp as he lay dying in the snow. I was personally critical of the show last season for glossing over the controversy and barely touching on it in the shows final episode.

We do see some new scenes from ABC however, as we get a glimpse of the food that is prepared for them, and how the cooks use buckets, buried in the frozen ground, to keep the food preserved. I found scenes like that to be interesting, as it gives us an idea of what it’s like for the climbers who spend upwards of 45 days on Everest.

Eventually we see the Sherpas complete the laying of the fixed lines, reaching the summit at the earliest date ever, breaking their own record from last year. As the Sherpas descend however, two climbers are spotted on their way up.

The climbers are Kazakh climbing legends Maxut and Vassily, making a quick, alpine assault on the summit. The pair climbed, as they always do, without oxygen. The show stresses the dangers that they are in by making such an early bid for the summit, and getting caught out in the dark.

However, I don’t feel that they properly conveyed what amazing climbers the two Kazahs are, and how they are light years more experienced than anyone on the Himex Team. Even with that experience however, at 3 AM a call comes in for help. The first episode ends with a Sherpa rescue team scrambling up the mountain to attempt a rescue.

My thoughts on the first episode are that it was a good start, but I wasn’t blown away. Much of the episode was spent treading the same ground as last year, although it did start to get interesting near the end.

I was also a bit disappointed by the return of the overly dramatic narrator from last season, but so far we haven’t had the any of the strange “Ever-rest” chants that we had last year. Those sounded like they were right of a bad horror film.

One other item of note. The show is in HD this year, and it is much appreciated. The shots of the mountain itself are stunning, and Discovery is well known for it’s amazing picture quality, and Beyond The Limit will do nothing to hurt that reputation. If there is anyway for you to catch it in HD, definitely take that opportunity.

Judging from the previews for next weeks episode, we’ll start to get into the meat of the climb. And as this episode ended, I was ready for more, so I’ll be tuned in once again.

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7 thoughts on “Everest: Beyond The Limit Season 2 – Episode 1”

  1. Looks to be an interesting season. Great to see the mountain up close like that. Only minor complaint was the constant fuzzy reception in nearly all the “Sherpacam” shots. Hurts your eyes. Hope they edit them in future episodes.

  2. The Sherpa-cam video did have interference from time to time, that’s for sure. For me it was more of an annoyance than anything else, and it’s to be expected with equipment at that altitude. Probably not a whole lot they can do about it.

    I did notice in the previews for next week they were putting in the fake frost/snow again to hammer home the fact that it’s cold up there. Hopefully they’ll limit that some this year too.

    All in all though, the season is off to a good start.

  3. Kraig,

    Unfortunately, I don’t have cable out in the boonies–

    What is the deal on the fake snow?

    I do appreciate your commentary concerning the first episode and hope that it continues throughout the season.

    Next weeks episode should be a good one. Remember the controversy regarding Maxut and Vissily?–not going to give any spoilers on here..but should be good. Hopefully they didn’t edit out to much..

  4. Hey Jason,

    I plan to do an episode re-cap after each one, like I did last season. Should be plenty to talk about.

    In this episode we did actually see Maxut and Vassily already. Episode ended with them calling for help. I’m trying not to spoil anything either, since I’m sure plenty of people watching the show didn’t follow events in the Spring.

    As for the fake snow/frost. Discovery did this last year too. They clearly have added some “effects” to make it appear colder/snowier than it is. It was evident again in the previews for next week’s episode, and we’ll have to wait to see how much it’s mixed in with the regular footage.

  5. Hey Kraig,

    Look forward to seeing your weekly posts. I guess I just don’t understand why the TV crews feel the need to add anything to a “Reality Based” program–It is Everest! Everyone knows it is freakin cold..

  6. Not sure either. Perhaps most people don’t even notice, but it seems to stick out to me. Hopefully they don’t do it too often, and it’s not too intrusive.

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