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Everest 2: Beyond the Limit

Press Release   Photos   Film Clips  Episode Guide  Biographies


(Silver Spring, Md.) - Discovery Channel sends its most advanced high-altitude cameras once again to the world's tallest mountain to document an epic climb where ambition overrides agony, exhaustion -- and the chances of survival. EVEREST 2: BEYOND THE LIMIT, the second season of Discovery Channel's acclaimed series, documents the grueling April/May 2007 summit attempt by an international group of climbers. Airing in eight parts, the series makes its world premiere on Tuesday, October 30, at 10PM ET/PT, and airs every Tuesday at 10PM through Tuesday, December 18. Its companion website www.discovery.com/everest received a 2007 "Online Journalism Award" this week for best use of digital media, and it brings visitors an intimate look at the dangers on the mountain through interactive Sherpa-cam video-players, games and webisodes.

New this year, beginning November 27 at 11PM ET/PT and airing following the last four episodes of the series, viewers can catch the world premiere of AFTER THE CLIMB, hosted by Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race). This four-part series features amateur climbers from the 2007 climb, joined by an illustrious pantheon of Everest mountaineers, for a candid conversation about climbing the mother of all mountains, their individual climb experiences, their motivations and concerns about attempting something so dangerous, whether technology and willpower are enough in the face of the power of nature, whether any of them could survive without the Sherpas, and more.

The 2007 climbing season was the busiest yet, as more climbers than ever before faced the extreme conditions on Everest in an attempt to fulfill a dream. Seven lost their lives, most did not reach the summit, and those who did will never be the same.

For EVEREST 2: BEYOND THE LIMIT, a 17-member production team followed an expedition of climbers and professional mountain guides, organized and led by New Zealander Russell Brice. Throughout the eight-hour series, viewers go on a journey with the climbers, gaining a unique insight into the physical and mental strength needed to conquer Mount Everest. High-resolution Sherpa-cams give viewers a unique insight into the dangers of the mountain and what climbers go through for the chance to briefly stand on top of the world.

Returning this year are asthmatic Iron-Man competitor Mogens Jensen from Denmark, who once again tries to summit without supplemental oxygen, and Hollywood motorcycle enthusiast Tim Medvetz, who had to be talked into turning back last year only 350 feet below summit. Joining them are several climbers new to EVEREST: BEYOND THE LIMIT, including Katsusuke Yanagisawa of Japan who, at 71 years old, wants to become the oldest man ever to summit Everest; Monica Piris, from England and the team's high altitude doctor; Betsy Huelskamp, a Los Angeles-based journalist who interviewed Medvetz after his failed 2006 attempt and was inspired to try the climb herself; David Tait, attempting a world-first double traverse to raise money for a charity close to his heart; and Phurba Tashi, Himalayan Experience's most experienced Sherpa who accompanies Tait. Other climbers include Rod Baber from England and California physician Fred Ziel.

Discovery Channel's award-winning EVEREST: BEYOND THE LIMIT fan site, www.Discovery.com/Everest, will once again feature immersive Sherpa helmet-camera segments, this year with even greater functionality. Visitors can also watch webisodes, meet the climbers through video profiles and interviews, explore Mount Everest through video clips from each camp and read exclusive journals from crew members who also risked their lives to tell the story of their fellow climbers.

EVEREST: BEYOND THE LIMIT is produced for Discovery Channel by Tigress Productions. Dick Colthurst is the executive producer for Tigress. Mark Allen is the executive producer for Discovery Channel.
 

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Episode Guide

EVEREST 2: BEYOND THE LIMIT

EPISODE 1: DREAM CHASERS
Tuesday, October 30, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

Everest has killed more than 200 people, yet nothing will stop amateur climbers from risking their lives to conquer it. Discovery Channel returns to Everest for another climbing season with legendary expedition leader Russell Brice and a new team of daring men and women. High resolution cameras capture the action as the climbers and an elite team of Sherpas attempt an early summit. Back at camp, Russell realizes that he'll have his work cut out for him in preparing this year's team for the climb of their lives. Meanwhile the climbers realize the true dangers that lie ahead when they witness two professional climbers fighting for their lives in the Death Zone.

EPISODE 2: ON THE ROPES
Tuesday, November 6, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

Russell Brice's team of amateur climbers faces their first big test. He's set a five hour deadline for them to climb 2000 feet to the first high camp, perched atop a punishing ice cliff. The climbers set off for Camp One, but almost immediately, British climber Rod Baber is in trouble. He's struck by a crippling headache which could be the first warning sign of Acute Mountain Sickness or even cerebral edema - a swelling of the brain that can kill within minutes. Los Angeles journalist Betsy Huelskamp is also struggling to make the deadline. Meanwhile, two climbers from Kazakhstan, who the team saw fighting for their lives in the Death Zone, are still missing.

EPISODE 3: JUDGEMENT DAY
Tuesday, November 13, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

The team is at 24,500 feet - higher than anywhere outside the Himalayas - but the sun is beating down and it's incredibly hot. Even the fittest climbers are struggling with dehydration and exhaustion as they try to reach Camp Two. Only one climber makes Russell's deadline and there are serious questions about who'll be allowed to try for the summit. Tim Medvetz is told by Russell to: "Get your s**t together man", and ordered to stop being so arrogant. Mogens, who is determined to summit without bottled oxygen, faces some hard truths when Russell tells him: "I don't think you can make it without oxygen." Betsy Huelskamp's summit dreams are left hanging by a thread after Russell's guides turn her around just below the Death Zone.

EPISODE 4: WORLD RECORD
Tuesday, November 20, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

The training and the acclimatization climbs are over. The expedition leaves Base Camp heading for the summit, as the death toll for this year's climbing season continues to grow. High above the rest of the team, David Tait and Phurba Tashi are within hours of the summit, but even if they make it, they're only a quarter of the way through their extraordinary world record, double traverse attempt. Neither of them has ever been on the south side of Everest, where they will fall into the shadow of the mountain - radio silence - and be on their own.

EPISODE 5: LONG WAY DOWN
Tuesday, November 27, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

Word comes from the south side that the two team members attempting a double traverse, David Tait and Phurba Tashi, have been spotted making their way down toward the highest camp and relative safety. But their world record attempt may be over. Russell Brice gives a pre-summit pep talk to the team, and reiterates how dangerous the climb will be and how he won't tolerate anyone disobeying his orders. As Team One sets off for the summit, Tim Medvetz is last out of camp and taking his time on the first leg to Camp One. When Tim eventually arrives there, Russell threatens to throw him off the team.

EPISODE 6: THE DEATH ZONE
Tuesday, December 4, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

Team One fights their way to Camp 4 inside the Death Zone at 27,500 feet, where their bodies are slowly dying from lack of oxygen. As they arrive they're met with the sight of a dead climber lying in the snow. Meanwhile, as Team Two gets ready to leave Advance Base Camp, an Irish mountaineer with excruciatingly painful snow blindness is brought to see expedition doctor Monica Piris. Asthmatic Mogens Jensen has made it to Camp 2, but suffers a bad asthma attack during the climb. He must determine whether or not he'll continue his pursuit of a summit without supplemental oxygen.

EPISODE 7: BREAKING POINT
Tuesday, December 11, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

Five miles high in the Death Zone, Team One sets off for the summit at midnight in minus 30 degrees. Before the sun rises, Tim Medvetz falls and snaps two bones in his left hand. Any accident in the Death Zone is potentially fatal, but Tim has decided not to radio expedition leader Russell Brice because he knows he'll be ordered to turn around. He's now gambling with his life - hoping he can make it up and down with only one good hand. British climber Rod Baber is hoping to make the world's first mobile phone call from the summit, while Californian doctor Fred Ziel continues to forge ahead.

EPISODE 8: NOW OR NEVER
Tuesday, December 18, 10-11 PM (ET/PT)

Conditions are uncharacteristically perfect as Team Two attempts early morning summits. Asthmatic Mogens Jensen and 71-year-old Katsusuke Yanagisawa ascend toward the summit. Even for those who do make it to the highest point on Earth, it's not over yet; 80 percent of deaths happen on the descent, and dangers lurk ahead. Tim Medvetz is still struggling with his badly broken hand, which is so swollen he can't remove his glove. An anchor for the safety ropes gives way, leaving Mogens dangling perilously over an 8,000 foot drop.

AFTER THE CLIMB
Tuesdays at 11 PM ET/PT beginning November 27

Hosted by Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race), this four-part series features amateur climbers from the 2007 climb, joined by an illustrious pantheon of Everest mountaineers, for a candid conversation about climbing the mother of all mountains, their individual climb experiences, their motivations and concerns about attempting something so dangerous, whether technology and willpower are enough in the face of the power of nature, whether any of them could survive without the Sherpas, and more.

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The following are among those featured in EVEREST 2: BEYOND THE LIMIT:

RUSSELL BRICE
Expedition Leader, Himalayan Experience (New Zealand)

This will be Russell's 18th year on Everest, and as expedition leader for Himalayan Experience, no one knows the risks quite like he does. In his own words, "80 percent of my friends are dead." Controversy surrounds the ‘King of the Mountain' following the 2006 expedition - the second deadliest season on record, and Russell is known as a tough leader. Though climbers pay a $40,000 fee to join the Himalayan Experience team, Russell has final say as to whether or not climbers progress far enough to actually attempt a summit.

ROD BABER
Climber (England)

Rod Baber, 36, gained a Guinness World-Record for ascending the 47 European summits in the shortest time. In between summits, Rod now runs a climbing center in the west of England, where he and his colleagues teach anyone from corporate business teams to young offenders how to deal with heights and fear, instilling interpersonal skills in their charges along the way. He's planning to make the first ever cell phone call from Everest's summit.

BETSY HUELSKAMP
Climber (California, USA)

A Los Angeles-based journalist, 46-year-old Betsy interviewed Tim Medvetz last year following his 2006 attempt, and was inspired to give it a go herself. Her motto has always been, "if you are not living life on the edge, you are missing the view!" Betsy has been featured in motorcycle documentaries (on Discovery Channel, TLC, National Geographic Channel and Travel Channel) and writes for numerous biking magazines. She's an ice climber, trekker, bungee jumper, diver, Kung Fu black belt, and has worked much of her adult life as a personal trainer.

MOGENS JENSEN
Climber (Denmark)

A former elite Iron Man, Mogens Jensen is a chronic asthma sufferer who is determined to summit Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. A schoolteacher turned professional mountaineer from Denmark -- a country with no mountains -- Mogens attempted to summit in 2005 and 2006. Last year on entering the Death Zone, Mogens was hit by altitude sickness - and for almost two weeks after he returned home, he continued to suffer blurred vision and loss of balance. Is he dangerously obsessed? This year, Russell wants him to abandon his ambition to climb without oxygen.

TIM MEDVETZ
Climber (California, USA)

A fun-loving risk-taker who designs Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Hollywood, California, Tim Medvetz stands 6'5" (a disadvantage for high-altitude mountaineering) and has a metal cage around his spine, metal plates in his head and his left leg is held together with pins and rods -- the result of a near-fatal bike crash. Tim surprised everyone last year by making it as far as camp 4, before falling victim to summit fever. Climbing too slowly and running low on oxygen, he engaged in a heated argument with Russell Brice, who ordered him to turn around. Tim credits Russell with saving his live, but how far will he push himself to succeed this year?

MONICA PIRIS
Expedition Doctor (England)

Born in Oxford to Spanish parents, she is truly bilingual. Monica Piris spends her summers rock-climbing in the Spanish Pyrenees, her winters skiing and ice-climbing, and in between earns the money to fund her hobbies by working as a locum doctor in English emergency rooms. In 2006, she completed a Diploma in Mountain Medicine - and her trip to Everest is the next step in her ambition to become a specialist high altitude doctor. She will follow Russell to North Col, from where she can best monitor the team's health. Along the way, she'll tend to numerous climbers on other expeditions who fall ill while trying to reach the summit.

DAVID TAIT
Climber (England)

David is planning a world-first "double-traverse" of Everest with Phurba Tashi. His goal is to summit from the north side, then descend down the south side, where he'll reverse and climb up the south side and down the north. David first attempted a summit in 2004, but his body just couldn't cope with the extreme altitude. In 2005 as part of Russell Brice's team, he made it to the summit. That year, David's climbing buddy, Brett Merrell, went through the same disappointment David had a year prior. David could relate and offered to pay for Brett to try again - and he did in first season of Everest: Beyond the Limit. David's generosity stretches beyond other climbers. A millionaire fund manager, he is on the board of the NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children). Abused as a child himself, David plans to raise money for the charity close to his heart.

PHURBA TASHI
Sherpa

Phurba is Russell's most experienced Sherpa - his lead guide, or "Sirdar." He has summitted Everest an incredible ten times. He is Russell's eyes, ears, arms and legs on the mountain. Incredibly strong, even at high altitude, he is entrusted absolutely with the climbers' safety. Last year Phurba was on the spot to deal with two climbers' near mutiny on summit day. This year Phurba will be attempting the double traverse with David Tait - if successful, an Everest first.

DARIUS VAICIULIS
Climber (Lithuania)

A cell phone dealer from Kaunas, Lithuania, who works across Eastern Europe, Darius climbed Cho Oyu three years ago with Russell Brice. Darius is married with children aged 11 and 3. His family is worried about his latest adventure, but supportive. "I tell them it is my dream - I have to go."

KATSUSUKE YANAGISAWA
Climber (Japan)
At the age of 71, Katsusuke hopes to become the oldest person to ever summit Everest.

FRED ZIEL
Climber (California, USA)

Fred is a physician and family man from South Pasadena, California, where he runs the local Diabetes Care Program. His passion for climbing and mountaineering dates back over 30 years, and he's completed successful ascents on both rock and ice throughout North America and Asia. This marks his third trip to Everest.

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Updated 10/5/07  

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