WARNING: The following post and links contain spoilers for the season of Everest: Beyond The Limit that began airing last night. If you do not want to have any of the show spoiled for you before you get a chance to see it, you may want to skip this post and move on to the next. You have been warned!
A few months back I posted an article entitled Everest Dreams Shattered about Betsy Huelskamp, a climber with HiMex on Everest this past Spring, and a part of the Everest: Beyond The Limit Team. Betsy was unceremoniously dropped from the team, and told that she wouldn’t be allowed to go for the summit.
When she returned home, she wrote this entry in her blog entry detailing her experiences and how she was treated by Russell Brice, The Discovery Team and other climbers. In short, it wasn’t pretty.
Her story touched a nerve with a number of us that cover the climbing scene. I first read about the story over in a climbing forum and Jason over at the The Adventurist weighed on the subject with this post.
We were all quick to come to Betsy’s defense, and quick to condemn Brice and the Discovery Team. We’ve all heard the stories of Brice ruling the North Side of the mountain with an iron fist, and this wasn’t the firs time we’ve heard allegations about him treating a customer poorly. But, in our rush to judgement, is it possible we might have been wrong?
I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot today, after watching last night’s episode of Everest: Beyond The Limit. There were several instances in last nights showed that demonstrated that Betsy might not have been ready to climb the mountain after all, and that she wasn’t as strong as she may have thought.
There was even a scene where Brice was telling Betsy that he didn’t think she was ready, and that she may have exaggerated her experience on the mountain. He told her that Everest was no place to learn to climb. Later they showed her struggling a bit while descending a fixed rope.
On top of that, I’ve heard through the grapevine that at one point, she even put her crampons on backwards while on the mountain. Clear signs of someone who is not prepared to go up Everest.
However, I also know that video footage can be edited to serve a purpose and tell a story the way the editor wants to tell it. Perhaps Discovery knew about the Internet controversy over Betsy, and has already begun telling the story that they want to tell.
For now, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how the story plays out, and what kind of footage they’ve captured. I would also like to hear Betsy’s side of the story once again after the show airs. But at this point, I’m not sure which side of the story is true.
I guess we’ll just have to keep tuning in to find out.
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