It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for another episode of Everest: Beyond The Limit on The Discovery Channel. We’re up to Episode 5 and the show if finally fully focused on the good stuff, namely the climbing.
Much of this episode was focused on David Tait and his attempt at the Double Traverse. When the show ended last week, he and Sherpa guide Phurba Tashi were on the Summit, having climbed the North Side, and this time out we got to watch them go down the South Side, which is new territory for the show. The show did a good job of describing the descent on the South Side and how it differed from the North, and Phurba was wearing a Sherpa Cam, which captured some great footage of their descent, while the narrator droned on about how dangerous the route down could be.
Eventually, David and Phurba reach Camp 2, their goal for the climb. The intent was for them to rest at C2 for a few days, then turn around and head back up to complete the Double Traverse, but upon reaching that goal David decided that he didn’t want to attempt the second leg of the traverse. The show made it seem like it was a pretty abrupt change, and expedition leader Russell Brice appeared disappointed, but David is an experienced mountaineer and he didn’t make the decision lightly. Later, David explained why he gave up on his goal, and I respected his candor. Essentially, he said that while he may have been able to complete the Double Traverse, Phurba was so far and away superior at climbing, that everyone would know that he was the better man on the mountain, and David would only be “first” to complete the feat because Phurba allowed him to go first. And with that, David is gone, and on his way back to Kathmandu and home.
The episode doesn’t end there however, as the first summit team finally begins their assault on the mountain. Before the head up though, Brice gives them a bit of a pep talk and turns his sights squarely on Tim Medvetz, who struggled at times last year and was very slow in reaching the higher camps. It was interesting to listen to Brice, who didn’t pull any punches in telling Tim that he could die on the mountain, and he wouldn’t care if he did, as the safety of the rest of the team had to come first.
Before lone, the team sets out, and just like last year, Tim is soon lagging behind the rest. He reaches Camp 2, but well after the allotted time had expired and clearly he was spent when he achieved that goal. Understandably, Brice was not happy, and the scene with he and Tim talking on the radio was compelling to watch. Brice digging into Tim was long overdue and wasn’t something we saw last year, even though he needed it. Meanwhile, despite the tough talk, Tim doesn’t seem to understand why Brice is riding him so hard, nor just how dangerous things are on the mountain, despite the issues he had last year, just below the summit.
All in all a good episode, with a focus on the actual climb, which is, as I’ve said before, the best part. I did miss the good doctor Monica this week, so hopefully we’ll see more of her soon. Betsy was also MIA, with no real explanation of where she was. I guess once you’re off the summit teams you’re off the show.
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