Everest - Beyond the Limit [S01E01] - Summit Dreams
At three miles above sea level, the base of Mount Everest is already higher than any mountain in the Rockies. Since the human body needs to adjust slowly to rising altitude, it is a huge effort just to begin the climb. The expedition team makes seven overnight stops to get to Base Camp (BC) on the mountain's northern face and will take a full month to acclimatize their bodies before they attempt the summit. The air is thin and the climbers feel physically weak, but the camaraderie is strong.
As the team moves to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 21,000 feet to begin acclimatization climbs, they are shocked to discover how badly their minds and bodies cope. The air is so thin at ABC that helicopter evacuation is impossible.
The expedition members begin climbs up to a ridge at 23,000 feet called the North Col, scaling 1,000-foot ice cliffs along the way.
Everest - Beyond the Limit [S01E02] - The Gatekeeper
At ABC, more than 600 climbers prepare for summit attempts. All the climbers on Russell Brice's expedition must prove they're strong enough to climb from ABC to the North Col in less than five hours or he will not allow them to continue. Bouts of bronchitis and other altitude-related ailments call into question whether some climbers will be forced to head back to BC.
Carrying almost half their body weight in ropes, gear and oxygen, six Sherpas from Russell's team are sent ahead to rig four miles of safety ropes to the summit as the rest of the team continues to acclimatize.
Russell, who religiously checks weather forecasts every six hours, spots a period of light winds in two weeks' time that looks ideal for an early summit attempt. To make this window, however, he'll have to push both his Sherpas and climbers extra hard to be ready two weeks early. More than 130 bottles of oxygen and 90 tents will need to be shifted in preparation for moving up to the North Col — all without tipping off other teams at ABC. And, with a few team members continuing to have difficulty, Russell has tough decisions to make as summit day approaches.
Everest - Beyond the Limit [S01E03] - To the Summit
With all high camps ready and a promising forecast, Russell splits the group into two teams for the five-day, 8,000-foot summit climb from ABC. The strongest climbers are assigned to Team One guided by Bill Crouse, including L.A. firefighter Brett Merrell, ER doctor Terry O'Connor and asthmatic climber Mogens Jensen. Led by guide Mark Woodward, Team Two includes double amputee Mark Inglis, Hollywood biker Tim Medvetz and Lebanese climber Max Chaya.
Sherpas will climb alongside the teams, and they are the climbers' best hope for survival if they get into trouble.
After leaving ABC, the climbers will spend one night in each of four high camps. Just after Camp 3, they will reach the death zone at 26,000 feet, where there is 70 percent less oxygen than at sea level.
On the eve of their departure, Russell strongly warns the group of the very real dangers that lie ahead. He reinforces that the Sherpas are not there to die for anyone's personal ambitions or ego — and warns them that he will withdraw the Sherpas if any of the climbers disobey his orders and put them in danger.
After taping personal videos for their loved ones, the teams set off in good spirits, but on the climb from Camp 1 to Camp 2, Brett begins to struggle. Will the firefighter be forced to abandon his summit dreams for a second year in a row, or will he continue, determined to place a flag at the summit to salute his comrades who perished on 9/11?
The climbers face extreme difficulties as they move from camp to camp. Will Mogens, an asthmatic, be able to cope without oxygen? Can Tim, consistently slower than the others and suffering from bronchitis, make it to the high camps? How will Mark's lack of mobility affect him? And will Russell's gamble on an early summit bid pay off for the team?
Everest - Beyond the Limit [S01E04] - Into the Death Zone
Team One is the first to head into the death zone, where the extreme altitude shuts down digestion and the body starts to consume its own muscle tissue for energy.
After only a few hours at the top camp, Team One leaves in the darkness at 1 a.m. for the summit. Almost immediately, they are caught in a frustrating human traffic jam that stops them in their tracks. If they can't pass some of the slow climbers on the ropes ahead of them, they could run out of time…and oxygen.
The episode vividly shows the backups that occur at the top of Everest — a shocking row of people lined up on safety ropes — and the potentially fatal risks that inexperienced climbers pose to everyone on the mountain. As frostbite sets in and oxygen tanks empty, will Team One be able to summit and descend safely?
Everest - Beyond the Limit [S01E05] - Mutiny on the Mountain
Members of Team One cope with the aftermath of their summit attempts. Many climbers are in danger from frostbite in the minus 40 degree F temperatures.
Russell instructs Team Two, now at the top camp and ready to begin their summit attempt, to leave two hours early to try to beat the traffic. Although this might help, it also means an extra two hours in the elements before the sun rises on a very cold day. While some climbers make a strong start, others immediately struggle.
Two of the team's slower climbers create havoc on the mountain when they refuse to obey Russell's orders. Because 80 percent of all climbing accidents happen on descent, Russell and others in the lower camps become gravely concerned.
Everest - Beyond the Limit [S01E06] - The Final Cost
As everyone descends, the entire team suffers from the extreme cold. Frostbite affects more climbers on Russell's expedition than ever before.
For each one who made the trek, whether or not they made the summit, the most important trip will be the one home. The climbers reflect on this year's expedition and whether or not they'll return to the mountain.