It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another episode of Everest: Beyond The Limit on The Discovery Channel. This episode is titled Judgement Day as the climbers are on their way to Camp 2, trying to beat a deadline, and prove that they are capable of going for the Summit.
The episode opens with the climbers halfway up to C2 and struggling with the lack of oxygen and the unusual heat on the mountain. Typically at that point on the mountain temperatures can be quite cold, but on the day of the climb it was 85 degrees and everyone suffered from dehydration and over heating.
The one climber who did make it to Camp 2 on time, and in great shape, was David Tait. This episode finally clued viewers in on his epic attempt at the double traverse. The plan is to start on the North Side summit, then proceed down the South Face of Everest where he would rest for a few days before climbing back up the mountain from the South side and then continue down the North Face, returning to where he started. The double traverse has never been done before, and we see David set off to make an attempt at his goal. As the strongest climber on the team, he is sent on his way well ahead of everyone else.
One of the more interesting elements of this episode was watching team leader Russell Brice and his guides discussing which of the climbers would be given the opportunity to go for the summit and which would be sent down the mountain. Hearing them talk candidly about each of the team members and who had the best chances of reaching the summit was one of the better moments of the season thus far, in my opinion.
The last portions of the show showed Brice meeting with the different climbers to discuss their abilities to go up the mountain. Mogens makes the team, although it’s clear Brice is concerned that he has struggled on the mountain and is going up without oxygen. The meeting with Tim was candid and to the point. Brice tells him he’s going up, but he needs to be prepared to go on time and move at a good pace.
Finally, Brice sits down with Betsy Huelskamp, who struggled the most on the way to C2, and at one point collapsed in the snow, laying there for quite some time, and ultimately being sent back down to ABC without ever reaching the goal of Camp 2. On top of that, her in experience has shown through, as it’s been mentioned on more than one occasion that she put her crampons on both upside down AND backwards. Brice tells here he doesn’t think she is strong enough to go up, and her attempt ends there. The show ends with the various team members weighing in on Betsy being left off the team.
Obviously Betsy has been a source of controversy on the Internet for several months. I wrote this article back when her story broke, and then wrote this counter point after seeing the first episode of Beyond The Limit. Clearly, back when the story broke, and I wrote that first piece, we didn’t have the full story, and it’s hard to argue with the visual evidence on display. Betsy collapsed in the snow, looked exhausted, and admitted that she didn’t feel strong enough to go up. We also didn’t see any indications of Brice treating her unfairly, and by all accounts, it seemed the other team members felt like she didn’t belong.
Now that I have seen the show, clearly I jumped to unfair conclusions from the early reports and for that I’m terribly sorry. I don’t think Russell Brice reads this blog, nor gives two craps what I write, but I apologize none the less for believing one side of the story without seeing the complete picture. Clearly, leaving Betsy off the summit team was the right call, and I’m happy to admit it.