Everest: Beyond the Limit (2006–…): Season 3, Episode 5 - One Last Breath - full transcript

A storm heading straight for Everest threatens to end the climbing season early but expedition leader Russell Brice still has one team to get to the summit. As other teams retreat, Russell monitors the weather forecast with an expert eye and makes the call that his team can just make it before the storm hits. But these are his weakest climbers and it's an all or nothing gamble. If he's got it wrong his team could be trapped at extreme altitude in a killer storm.

It's the last summer window of the Everest Season

Climb Everest never gets easier.

Expedition leader Russell Brice has just five days
to get his slowest climbers to the top of the world.

I've been lucky up until now, you know.
It all could go terribly wrong.

It is a dead body up there.

My chances to get to the top right now are pretty slim.

They are racing a violent storm to the summit.

No one wants to tell me what ??? done.

But when illness strikes at altitude
they are just fighting to stay alive.

Chris is very, very ?guilty and very worry about it?

He's not sure how many get to come home.

Season 3. One Last Breath

Mountaineering legend Russell Brice has one last team on Everest this year.

But getting them to the summit wouldn't be easy.
They're his weakest climbers.

I just can't get my breath.

For nearly two months they've been acclimatizing
their bodies for the highest place on Earth.

29 035 feet.

It's the body I made for it, you know. Not big enough for a dream.

But they have a lot more than altitude to overcome.

South African Robby Kojetin.

Three years ago a climbing accident put him in a wheelchair.
Doctors said he'd never climb again.

I can walk. But can't trust my body.
Could be worse. Could be in a wheelchair still.

I managed to shatter everything from ankle down.

Can't turn my feet out. Like that.
It's just fucking mess really.

I'm gonna push as far as possible.
Absolutely as far as possible.

Crab fisherman Alec Turner already lived life at the edge.

For years he fished the Bering Sea in his native Alaska.

What I did was the deadliest job in the world.
You can die going to work in the morning.

During months of training Alec has been
the slowest climber on a Russell's team.

Big boy. Would be a hard work for him. Has
to push lot of weight up the mountain.

Just tired. Fatigued.

Chris Macklin, a 27-old British lawyer,
is the team's youngest climber.

Nevertheless, Everest is the Mecca of climbing,
I guess, for people like me.

Chris - young enthusiastic.
Not too much a... good technique.

I'm... I am ??? to be here.
And yes ??? mountain.

Just getting this climbers to the summit
is the biggest challenge of Russell Brice's career.

And now they in a hurry. A massive storm
system is closing in on a mountain.

When it hits, the climbing season's over.

We still ??? by the weather.
If your people are climbing mountains...

...am... things can get wrong,
so of course it's a little bit worring.

The team has just five days to reach the summit.
The same pace as faster climbers.

Midnight at Everest base-camp.

For Robby, Alec and Chris it's now or never.
They are going to summit this year.

That is it. that is the real thing. We are heading to the summit.

Daunting. Know if I can.

I'm about to confront a monster 15 years of dreaming.

- Do your best. surf-man.
- I will.

That will be.

The whole expedition is a the battle
against the mountain, and the mountain has a lot of tricks.

For some it's like people going off to war.

But you just ?little know? if something's gonna to happen.
You're not gonna see one of this boys again.

Straight out of basecamp the team tackles the deadliest
part of the summit route. The Khumbu Ice Falls.

??? going, and...
??? safely and as quickly as possible.

Collapsing towers of ice can wipe out whole teams without warning.

Climbers take on the icefall at the coldest time of night
when it's frozen solid and most stable.

Crawling in the dark is psychologically better.
You can't see all the hanging ice above you.

The Khumbu Ice Fall has already claimed one life
this season - a Sherpa killed in avalanche.

There is a dead body up this. It does makes it Hallelujah.

It got you just keep a little bit of faith,
and the hope that it is not you.

Ladders bridge crevasses hundreds of feet deep.

It is sort of clamp. Help him ???

Of course I look down. I look in the abyss of the Earth.

Some people just focus on trying to get across to other side

I focus on getting across to other
side with the view. I love it.

After ten hours of climbing the team reaches Camp 2 at 21 000 feet.

That hill was a lot easier.

It takes him nearly twice as long as Russell's other climbers.

- Glad see.
- Good job.

Even 27-year old Chris Macklin is exhausted.

But South-African Robby Kojetin can barely walk.

- How are you?
- Not good.

- My ankles are swollen.
- ???

Congratulations, bud. Hey.

??? to you.

Thank for your help.

Come off my feet.
No movement in my ankles.

??? socks.

Constriction manages to help

Limit movement and provide overall support.

Fuck! Look at that dirt!

??? is, you know, I'm sorry.

Can't do this on the hands and knees. Oh, terrible.

He gets a lot of pain in his ankles when he is walking on distances.

It slows him down, makes him sliding more clumsily.

And all of those things together
are potentially dangerous in this situation.

After a long first day they still have four grueling
days of climbing and 8 000 feet of Everest to go.


5 AM. Chris Macklin and Alec Turner wake up
to a new problem that is spreading through Camp 2.

There have been a dysentery going around.

I'm just going to run to the loo.

You know, I've a bouts in my stomach last night.

Not good.

At extreme altitudes any disease is dangerous.

The immune system needs oxygen to defend the body.

Without it a common illness can be fatal.

I guess getting up there and getting sick
is something that I'm just awfully scared of.

Along with Chris, Robby and Alec, 54-year old
Jim Holliday also starts the day suffering diarrhea.

But the clock is ticking.
They have to keep climbing to reach the summit.

You know, the climbing starts near as we stay here happily.

Ahead the Western Cwm. A dip valley
of ice that acts like giant sun reflector.

Most teams cross Cwm as early in the day as possible.

It's an incredibly hot place. The ??? of dying.

You need to be finished doing any movement there by 10 o'clock
in the morning... otherwise you just went cooking when you are up.

When the sun clears the surrounding peaks
temperatures can reach 100 degrees F.

I'm already sweating.

Breathing the dry air all climbers face dehydration.

But diarrhea and sweating make it severe.

An hour out of Camp 2 the stomach illness claimes its first victim.

Just relax.

Jim Holliday is barely concsious and at risk of going into shock.

Jim's collapsed now, would you help me?


Stalled in the Western Cwm, as temperature soar,
the team waits for a help to arrive.

Expedition leader Russell Brice manages
the rescue operation from basecamp.

- Shinju, what's up?
- Jim's just collapsed and is just lying down in the snow!

Holliday still isn't responding.


Passing climbers stop to help, including registered nurse.

- Before collapsing, he was dizzy.
- OK.

- Are your hands warm?
- I give you ???


Come in there, buddy.

- Yes, Shinju.
- He's not unconscious, he can see, but he's shivering, over.

Am, Shinju, don't bring Jim right back.
??? Sherpas bring oxygen, please.

Russell's Sherpas at Camp 2 can reach
Holliday fastest with bottled oxygen.

Holliday's body can't fight illness until he descends.

But breathing pure oxygen
should revive him enough to start down.

Update, home. Sherpas, they left.

- Sherpas on their way.
- Thank you, thank you.

Just relax.

One minute. Shinju is near. One minute.
??? to our oxygen.

- Is it too tight?
- No.

- So, Jim is now traveling with the Sherpas. He is heading down.
- Yeah, Roger.

The other climbers with the same illness could be next.

They are hours behind schedule and need to get to Camp 3 fast.

But they've got over 1000 feet of climbing in the Western Cwm...

...with temperatures already over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

It's hot now. It's midday. And we are in Cwm.

We should be through this a few hours ago.

Of all fucking places on Earth to be in midday is that.

And after the Western Cwm they still have a long way to go.

First, the Lhotze face. The near vertical wall
of glacial ice to Camp 4 at 27 000 feet.

Then the South Summit and the Hillary Step
before the top of the world.

The summit route. Only one climber in three
who leaves basecamp makes it all the way.

The Lhotze face. A nearly 4000 feet
test of climbing skill and stamina.

It's... 45 to 60 degrees of hell. Um... Straight up.

Each step on a glacial ice is jarring
for the metal pins in the Robby's feet.

Using a lot of footwork is quite painful for me.
There's lots of blue ice and it's not pleasant.

Blue ice is a hard solid stuff where the
only thing that bites is the teeth in your crampons.

If you were not clipped in and you've made a mistake,
you would potentially fall all the way to the bottom...

...which would be any way from 1 foot to 2000-3000 feet to camp.

Quite intimidating.

As Jim Holliday descends into
denser air of lower altitude, he starts to recover.

I want his return back into Camp 2.

Waking up this morning, I was feeling quite right. Um...

I'm a lot embarrassed by way I... Um-m...
Unloaded in my pants and was dizzy to hold it up.

Yeah, Roger, Jim. We are pretty disappointed for you.

Um... I just want say thanks for all these guys.
They are... ??? Saved my life.

Back on a Lhotze face 27-year old Chris Macklin
is also battling a stomach illness at every step.

Former Alaskan crab fisherman Alec is 500 feet below Chris
and dropping further behind the rest of the team.

23 300. ?I saw every man?

Alec isn't the fastest person here.
He'll find the Lhotze wall hard because...

He is quite big boy. It'll be hard work for him.

I'm dryer than *** whale's ass on a beach.

8 hours after leaving Camp 2 the team staggers into Camp 3...

...carved precariously into the Lhotze face at 23 500 feet.

But their relief is short-lived.

Over night the storm they are racing gets upgraded to a cyclone.

Tomorrow the forecast is for about double wind,
after that it gets even more windy.

They have less that 36 hours to get to the summit and descend.

Be lot a windy today. ??? cloudy when the
front came in and I wasn't really expecting.

A stomach illness is spreading through the team...

Get your hands on!

...already ending one climber's summit bid.

I trained really hard for this trip and the mountain beat me.

Lhotze face. 23 000 feet. 7:00 AM. -5 F.

Robby, Alec and Chris are headed to Camp 4.

Above 24 000 feet there is about
a third the oxygen the human body needs.

They'll use supplemental oxygen the rest of the way.

The oxygen makes a big difference. It's a lot warmer.

Robby's injured ankles stiffened overnight
and take hours to get loose again.

- My foot's not moving yet.
- Yeah.

My foot is solid. Like skate.

Base camp. 17500 feet.

Down at base camp expedition leader Russell Brice
tracks the approaching storm.

What we are always interested in is
what's happening about ??? down here.

If that ??? swings up and come over on the top of us.

The cyclone is 24 hours away.

His climbers need to be off the mountain before it hits.

As the team arrives at Camp 4
the winds are already peaking at 40 miles per hour.

Camp 4. 26 000 feet. 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

- I'm in Camp 4.
- How does this feel?

My right foot. Don't know what it is.

It's just jammed up. I think it traps and moves.

So stupid! Oh, my God, it’ll been a lot of pain.
I just need to get painkillers.

Strap it tight. Elevate it. Pray.

Robby has 8 hours to rest his ankles
before leaving for the summit at 11 o'clock tonight.

But at base camp time is working against Russell Brice.

What I saw today is that wind is ???
in the night and is going to ease off so...

I'm going to talk to the guys because I feel that by
leaving later we will get us better um... wind and envelope.

Gambling, that winds will die down,
Russell delays the team's departure to 1:00 AM.

That means 2 hours more rest,
but 2 hours less before the storm hits the Everest.

Camp 4. 26000 feet. -10 F.
The *** place I've ever been in my whole life.

I don't see a big ??? industry for Camp 4 has been honest.

As departure hour approaches, nobody is getting sleep.

- Put your harness on.
- I'll try.

Done it a thousand times but I'm looking at it now and trying...

...figure if ??? are straight.

If the buckles are in the right way.

If it's my harness.

And the winds are dying down.

That wind we'll get is gonna cut.
It cuts us all day.

Wind's scary. It's cold.

??? to suffer a bit of wind to get here.


??? for general.

Oh, in Russ we trust. Yeah.

He wouldn't let us go if he didn't think it was gotta die down.

The worst that can happen is somebody's gonna kill ??? and...

...we're gonna have come to the rescue.

Robby prepares his smashed ankles for 16 hours of climbing.

You strap it really tight. Put warmers on.
Take painkillers now at breakfast.

Better I'd do, I guess. What choice do I have?

Oh, you don't have to go up.

- Sorry?
- You don't have to go up.

- I don't have to go up?
- That's a choice.

That's a choice, but it's not a choice I want to make at this stage.

I'm still getting winded while others are... still going.

At this altitude their bodies are defenseless against the stomach bug.

It hits Chris Macklin the hardest.

I'm feeling... pretty shocked ??? to...

...to stomach for last three days to ???

Woody, Woody. Over.

Anyone's left yet?

No, we're just at those last stages of getting crampons on.

After crab fishing in a Bering Sea Alec knows all about danger...

...but has never experienced something like this.

Today's really big day. ?Hope we will top out?

Got about, I don't know, 3000 feet of vertical climb.

About 26 hours on feet.
It's a... pretty intimidating.

- Who's (where is) your Sherpa?
- I don't know.

I don't know.

- Woody, what's the weather like?
- It's easing actually.

- Woody, got a speed for the wind?
- Windspeed is maybe 15 km. Over.

Yeah, OK, OK. Good.

1:00 AM. There's finally drop in a wind.
Just as Russell predicted.

But Robby, Alec and Chris are still
facing the hardest day of their lives.


- See you later.
- Good night.

Every team knows today's their last chance to summit this year.

Long lines are already forming on a mountain.

With so many people to go that's
when mistakes and problems start rising.

Russell follows his team from basecamp
through Discovery's cameras on Sherpa's helmets.

Yeah, Roger.
It's a good to see where people are.

??? knew I hear him, watching them.
And seeing how slow they're going.

- Where are you?
- Alec and Dorji are just at the balcony.

Since Alec Turner got to Everest
he has been Russell's slowest climber.

But today he is in the overdrive.

Ahead of more than a dozen teams all trying
to summit before the storm ends the climbing season.

- Summit 2 hours?
- Yeah... Nearly.

He is going fast. He's never ??? that fast.

- It's amazing, isn't it?
- He's just coming up ???

- Heading to the South Summit right now.
- You are good man.

South Summit. 28 500 feet. 6:19 AM. -8 F.

At the South Summit Alec and Sherpa Dorji Sonem
have 500 vertical feet to go.

It's a short stop to switch to their second bottle of oxygen.

This canister has to get him to the summit
and back down the mountain.

I have my beaver mitts.

Which are primary ?used? in Alaska for dog sledding.
They are for survival.

- What's this?
- For emergency.

The high elevations are normally deep in snow.

Crampons with metal spikes can not grip against bare rock.

This year the mountain is very dry, you know.
There is not a lot of snow.

So it's harder on a foot, you know.
It requires a bit less of footwear.

Crampons are lot stiffer. It's a little more trying.

It's hard on the knees, hard on the ankles.
Set your injury even more.

Alec and Dorji are the first to reach the Hillary Step.

The 40-foot rock wall less than 300 feet below the summit.

Robby Kojetin and Chris Macklin are an hour behind.

Now we can see the South-African Robby
making it up to the South Summit.

Just as Macklin is leaving.

Robby and Chris head out across
the most exposed section on a mountain.

A Cornice Traverse. A narrow ledge
with a drop off more than a mile on both sides.

When you sign up for Everest, you realize than the level of risk.

You know that the rescue up there
above 8000 meters is close on impossible.

You're running with the big dogs now.

It's the first major traffic jam of the day
in the worst place on the mountain.

The only way Robby can pass other climbers
is to unclip from the safety lines...

...with the edge just inches from his boots.

Nice work, high-five!

At the top of the Hillary Step Alec also fights a crowd ahead of him...

...just the few feet below the summit.


I hear you are 5 minutes from the summit. Over.

On the last slope before the the top
the safety rope is his only protection.

But Alec can't wait leader.

At 7:20 AM crab fisherman Alec Turner reaches
the mass of color flags that mark the summit of Everest.

Russ, do you copy?

I'm on the top.
It's beautiful up there. Over.

It's windy, but beautiful.
We won't stay long, then we're on down.

- We beat the crowds.
- Yeah, that's good.

And it's nice to be there, but not too many people, so...

Remember, you are only halfway.

I'm on the top of the world!
It's a beautiful sight!

It's the best feeling I've had, other than having my baby.

I wish it was clearer.

My Sherpa, 11 summits, Dorji... led me to the top...

...in record time. We passed the whole group.

They're only on the summit for few minutes,
and already conditions are getting worse.

Alec and Dorji need to descend
before they're trapped on the top of the mountain.

I'm getting cold! Are you gonna help me get down now?

You show me what to do!

9:30 AM.

Chris and Robby are stuck in the Everest nightmare at 27 750 feet.

Get moving!

Long lines at the Hillary Step are waiting to go in both directions.

It's only wide enough for one climber at a time.

Difficult ???

You gonna get ??? right where we are.

It's narrow. It's awkward.
You got people going up, people going down.

But quite interesting, actually, because people ???

But you do yourself ???
because if everybody were just keep coming...

So, you've got to be even pushing some gorms
to the point of being rude.

***** get out of my way!

Standing still at this altitude their body temperatures drop
increasing the risk of a frostbite.

From Hillary Step to summit, how long?

Er... slowly... forty minutes... forty minutes, yes.

When you say what pass you wouldn't pay for the summit?

I don't know. One finger? Two fingers?

Is that stupid? Is it irresponsible?

Yeah, OK, Alec. You are heading back down, I told you.

As Alaskan Alec Turner starts to descend,
freezing winds pound the mountain.

Be careful coming down.

Roger that, I'll call you from below the Hillary Step.


At the bottom of the Hillary Step it's the first time
Alec see teammates Chris and Robby since they left Camp 4.

Be careful!

Chris and Robby finally get their shot
at the most famous landmark on Everest.

??? the Everest ???

The metal pins in Robby's ankles can barely take
the impact of his crampons squirming against bare rock.

The amount of pain that's going to involve for me
to get to the summit is considerable.

And I fear for get to the top... just hoping my feet
will hold together long enough to get me down.

OK, Robby, not so far.

Big boss says not so far. Summit.

The top of the mountain will soon be to dangerous for climbers.

Robby and Chris have very little time to summit and descend.

But on the final slope to the summit Chris stops moving.

The illness that almost killed Jim Holliday is coming on strong.

His diarrhea is so severe there is nothing he can do to stop it.

See that crowd of people.
That's the stuff dreams are made of, mate.


- Thank you!
- Let's go.

As Chris waits out the wave of illness
Robby climbs the last few feet to the summit.

- OK?
- Thank you so much!


...to an obvious project.

And it's here. It's rightly done.

Less than a hundred feet below
Chris is so sick every step takes an epic effort.

By the time he reaches the summit Chris can't even stand up.

Tsering Tashi and Chris Macklin here.

Tsering Tashi and Chris on summit. Over.

My stomach is *****!

Macklin isn't feeling too good. His guts aren't great.

Um, someone check out Macklin.

Chris needs help just getting to his feet.

But he has no choice.
He has to descend under his own power.

A rescue from the summit of Everest is impossible.

Tsering, what the weather's doing?

I didn't copy what the weather's doing.

Conditions are quickly going from bad to worse.

Woody, Woody. Tell me what the weather's doing.

No one wants to tell me what the weather's doing?

Russ, the winds are 40 km and we're in the clouds. Over.

You guys need to hurry up down.

Robby here, yes, we're just started the descend.

There are only two choices for Chris.
Descend or die.

I feel very worried and until they've
moved back to basecamp and ???

Success is getting home. Success is not the summit.

Chris Macklin's fighting the severe stomach illness.

He's so sick that he can only descend to Camp 4.

But his body can't start to recover until he reaches lower altitudes.

At 26 000 feet he'll just get weaker and weaker.

Chris is very very ill and very worried about it.

They have to descend soon or they'll be trapped
on high elevations by the approaching storm.

He had six imodiums today already, and it's not working.

Any others suggestions from the Doc?

Tell there Narli to look if there is any codeine.

Narli, have a look and see if there's any codeine ??? look him up.

Chris is merely able to stand up.

Get down here so I can fix your mask.

It takes two guides - Woody and Andy - to help him down.

The guides have to keep him moving.

The slopes of Everest are filled with the bodies of climbers
who sat down and never got up again.

- You can't afford to stop up here!
- But I have no energy.
- Then you have to find it!

At the bottom of Lhotze face Chris is reunited with
Robby Kojetin, his climbing partner from summit day.

I was ahead when he called me up. He is stronger.

I was expecting to hear bad news about him.
That he was a dead man.

Chris get stronger with every step down to a lower altitude.

On summit day ???

My stomach didn't fight thing.
I've done ???

I'm not so pleased with, you know...
having to go and safely put me down and...

Getting ***** or how do we step from *****... Sorry.

Coming down on ??? was most famous part.
And you crap in your pants.

It's the most embarrassing thing of my life.
I don't know, I've been, um... absolutely... um...

Can't find the words.
I can find the words, but ??? television.

Base Camp. 17 500 feet.

The next day Russel's troops are around in force...

...giving Alec a traditional basecamp welcome for climber's returning from the summit.

Coming down I could not believe I did it.

It was terrible. I mean, just all this sketchy.

I mean, it was but totally wild.

Snow confirms Russel's forecast.

His last team reaches basecamp just as the storm rose in.

Done! I don't know what else to say. It's done.

Robby Kojetin receives the next hero welcome...

...just two years after doctors told him he'd never climb again.

It was painful but the most amazing is I'm alive.
It's not quite real yet actually.

Survival of the fittest - to get down off the mountain.

I guess I kicked ass off.

With Chris Macklin in basecamp all of Russel climbers
make it safely off the mountain this year.

Amazing. But also ?????? goal.

I just started thought in my head:
"Don't give up yet! Don't give up yet!"

I suppose I'm quite proud of myself that I can...
push myself if I need to.

Come on!

Russell Brice closes the books on another climbing season.

A single check next to the name of every guide,
Sherpa and climber returning safely.

It's Russel's biggest year on Everest.

A total of 58 members of his team stood on top of the world.

The most ever for a single expedition.

It's hard not to be emotional now.

We should be happy. Because we are back again.

Full toes, fingers. We're back here.

Thanks for the good team's work.
We should be proud of that team's work.

We don't get to the summit without the help of our guides.

?Because with? the Sherpas, because without the Sherpas
no one of you guys would reach the summit.

Three feet of snow falls in the night
signaling the end of another climbing season.

In 2009 445 climbers summited the Everest...

...while four paid the ultimate price
for the dream of standing on top of the world.

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