The focus of this weeks episode was getting the climbers up to Advanced Base Camp for their first acclimatization climb. Team leader Russell Brice sets a five hour time limits for the climbers to go from BC up to ABC if they want to have a chance to join the summit team. Most of the climbers make it under the deadline, including Rod Baber who nursed a pounding headache all the way up the trail. Tim Medvetz also made it under the deadline, a distinct improvement over last year, when he lay down in the snow and took a nap. Betsy Huelskamp however did not make it under the deadline, taking two hours longer than the allotted time. But, she didn’t give up, and Brice and his guides were at least impressed with her grit and determination. After reaching ABC, the team returns to BC for twos days of rest before making their next climb.
The episode also showed Kazakh climbers Maxut and Vassily as they return from their summit bid, without oxygen. Last week the show ended with an emergency rescue team being put together to go up the mountain to find the duo. In this episode we have Mr. “overly dramatic” Narrator telling us over and over how they haven’t heard anything from them and that they could be in danger high up the mountain, but we don’t see them until they show up at ABC, exhausted but alive. The two put up the earliest summits of the season, excepting the Sherpas of course. The Kazakh’s needed some help from the Sherpas on the way down but all in all returned in one piece.
This weeks show began to introduce some other climbers, other than Tim and Betsy. We learned a bit more about Rod Baber, although I’m already tired of hearing how he decided to climb after a night of drinking, and we even got to see David Tait, who at this point was embarking on his attempt at a double traverse, which would have been a first. Hopefully we’ll begin to see even more of these other climbers as the show progresses.
The show ended with the team beginning the climb up to C2, with everyone struggling in the heat. The last scenes we see are of one of the HimEx guides turning back to check on Betsy who is lagging behind and possibly down in the snow. We’ll have to wait until next week to discover her fate.
The show has fallen into a familiar pattern, and if you’ve seen last season, you basically know what’s happening this time around as well. The difference is in the climbers, but we’re still getting to know them, so it feels much the same. I would hve preferred that episode 1 would have done a better job of introducing this year’s new cast of characters. I also still have issues with the narrator, but I’ve come to accept that he’s part of the series and I’m just going to have to get use to his style.
Much like last year, I thought the show became much more interesting once they got into the meat of the climb, and I’m guessing the same will hold true this year as well. Next week the team will complete the climb to C2 and we’ll probably have a better sense of how the climbers will do as they move further up the mountain, where they’ll really be tested.
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