Ultimate Survival: Everest (2004–…): Season 1, Episode 3 - The Mountain Decides - full transcript

On the last episode


Team Discovery felt the wrath

of the world's tallest mountain.

Expedition leader, Ben Webster,

along with his girlfriend, Shaunna Burke

tried climbing to Camp Three,

but were turned around by bad weather.

- Very good decision
to retreat when we did.

climber Andrew Lock

made it to Camp Three,

while fellow hired gun Hector
Ponce de Leon went even higher

to an altitude of 7,400 meters,

securing safety lines with
Discovery's head Sherpas.

On that day,

Hector, Lhapka Gelu, and Migma Sherpa

were the highest climbers on the mountain.

- You can start seeing the
altitude, I think, yeah?

Yeah, I think, yeah.

Team Discovery
is acclimatizing well.

Now everyone is back at Camp Two

and is excited to be among the first team

who's ready to make their
push for the summit.

All they have to do now

is head back down to base
camp and rest for a week.

How hard could that be?

Like all of the great arts,

climbing Mount Everest
requires impeccable timing.

To summit, you must take
your cues from the mountain

and from other teams.

The two month climbing season
is so short and is so popular,

that human traffic jams inevitably occur.

Ben is trying to avoid getting
his team stuck in a line-up

freezing to death.

By arriving early and
acclimatizing quickly,

he's maneuvered Discovery
into the front of the pack.

Ben's plan is to head
for the summit before

any of the other 19
teams can get in his way.

- Lots of slack please!

If we can be ahead of the curve

and not be around a lot
of these other teams

that will be slower in
getting into position,

and if we're lucky with an early window,

we can get in and out
before all the trouble

potentially can start.

On Everest,
crowds can be deadly.

On the mountain's most
tragic day, May 10th 1996,

16 members of commercial expeditions died

after waiting too long
at the Hillary Step,

tantalizingly close to the summit.

- If we can get up there
early and try to summit early,

it reduces the chances of being caught

in a bottleneck with those
commercial expeditions,

such as happened in '96
where you have a lot of

slow and inexperienced people
that have to be shepherded

with large numbers of
Sherpas up the mountain.

And that bottleneck occurs
mostly around the Hillary Step,

but it can occur basically
anywhere on the mountain.

If we can avoid that,

then I think the effort
expenditure is worthwhile.

Leaving early on minimal rest

means that every minute of
relaxation time is precious.

But today's rest of Camp Two

doesn't seem like it's
going to be very peaceful.

- The wind right now
is blowing pretty hard.

It started like and hour ago,

and it doesn't look
like it's going to stop.

This might mean we will get
snow again this afternoon


this evening.

Let's hope it stops.

Well you can

see and hear how it moves the tent

and how it wouldn't let us leave

because it blows all through the night.

Tonight, Hector
will have a hard time sleeping,

partly from the wind,

partly from lack of oxygen,

but mostly because a friend
of his has lost radio contact

high up in the mountain.

The missing friend is
Hector's old climbing partner,

Andreas Delgado.

Worrying about Andreas is a
familiar feeling for Hector.

- Last evening, I went
up to the Mexican camp.

I found out

that Andreas and a friend of his

had this plan of going up to

close to 8,000 meters or even above

the start of the Lhotse corridor.

All throughout the night,

the wind was blowing really hard,

even down here at Camp
Two could feel it too.

I really can't imagine what
it's like up there at Camp Three

or above.

So, I really hope Andreas didn't do

what he said he was going to do,

but there still hasn't
been any news from them.

This morning I've been
looking at the Lhotse face

trying to spot people, and
I haven't still seen anyone.

Hector worries

that he may have to rescue
the missing Mexican climbers.

Andreas, who was attempting
to summit without oxygen,

is a risk-taker.

Hector knows; he's saved
Andreas' life before.

Hector is practically holding a vigil

waiting for the missing Mexicans.

Why isn't Andreas answering his radio?

Is he in a crevasse?

Is he in a coma?

Hector looks up at the Lhotse face

trying to will his two
countrymen to appear.

They don't.

During his climbing career,

Andrew has saved lives too.

He makes sure the camp is
prepared for any circumstance.

- The trouble with the build-up of snow

is that as it

melts and then refreezes,

we'll get a build-up of ice
around the bottom of the tent,

which makes it very hard for the tent,

for us to pull the tent

out of the ground when we want to

pack it up and go away.

And of course,

as the snow melts, we get a water build-up

which runs under the floor of the tent and

slowly makes its way into the tent.

It's that hardening snow

and ice that you have
to be really careful of,

otherwise the tent will be destroyed

as well as being flooded.

Back at his
vigil, Hector sees hope.

- I can

confirm that there's two

climbers coming down from Camp Three.

They're going to have to be
really, really careful because

this is not the

kind of conditions in which
I would want to come down in,

you know, strong winds.

It makes things harder, as I said,

and the Lhotse face is the
kind of face where you cannot


not even one

small mistake.

When he was last heard from,

Andreas was headed up to Camp Four,

an area also called the South Call.

- I didn't get onto the Call because

it started, the wind, and
one of my feet was very cold.

So I decided to turn back,

and with this I think my decision was set.

Andreas is
climbing without oxygen

and without medication.

He wants to feel every ache and pain.

My head was clear.

My breathing was standard
at that altitude.

I was not suffering from aerobic capacity.

I was just weak.

Weak from fighting the wind,

weak from having diarrhea two days ago,

weak from the altitude as well.

For me it's
a challenge, you know,

that kind of challenge,
a personal challenge.

Three hours
after they're first spotted,

Andreas and his climbing partner Alejandro

arrive safely back at Camp Two.

They expect congratulations,

but Hector lets Andreas know
that he's not impressed.

- I just talked with Jose Luis,

your base camp manager.

He was very worried
because there were rumors

of one of you lost above Camp Three.

You know how it goes.

Just talk with him, and let
him know everyone's fine.

Camp call?

- I don't know, you know how it goes.

Hector stopped
climbing with Andreas

because it simply became too dangerous.

- Andreas and I

went through some very, very

difficult experiences


Back in Everest in '96,

up high on the mountain,
he tried for the summit

on that famous May 10th
from the North Side,


he almost

couldn't make it back to camp
after he was hit by the storm.

And then he couldn't.

He was so weak from

exposure to those elements
that he couldn't come down,

and I went from base camp to
that camp where he was at.

- He decided to save me,

and go ahead and ask him.

As I recall he said, "I wouldn't

"forgive myself for my
own inquisitive judgment

"if I didn't give Andreas
the opportunity to leave."

That's the only guy

I can for sure say he would
risk his life to save somebody.

- I went from base camp to
that camp where he was at.

You know, pretty much unconscious,

and helped him come down.

It was, I can remember, a
very tough two days in which

Andreas was so tired he
only managed to take a step,

and he had to sit down, you know.

- I tried till my last

drop of sweat came out of me.

- I short roped him and helped him down.

- You don't know mountaineering
until you're there,

until you're in a problem up there.

- We've been together for a lot of these

experiences, very intense you know.

South face of Shishapangma is an example.

Things got out of
control, and we spent like

eight days up high instead
of the four we plan on.

Three of those eight days
without any water, any food.

We barely made it down.


is the 14th highest mountain in the world.

While descending it barely alive,

Hector fell into a deep crevasse.

Instead of helping his partner,

Andreas packed up and left.

- Hector was way behind,

and he fell into one
of those crevasses, and

he spent the night there.

I remember at some point just looking back

and watching for Hector at the dusk.

And I was like,

"Man, this is gonna be terrible."

Because it's a live or die situation,

and again I don't have strength to go back

and help him, but

I don't know if I'm going
to see him again, you know?

Against all odds,
Hector survived the night

and climbed out of the crevasse.

He staggered back down to camp

fueled only by the will to live.

- At some point you say,
"I hope he's okay, but

"there's nothing I can do for him now."

And when I saw his red suit
in the morning, I was like,

"Thank God."

Because if he had died at that point

I would feel guilty all my life.

- There were also other
things, you know, that

from my point of view

were unacceptable, were the
kind of things you don't

do to a friend and to a
climbing partner, you know.

- I believe I'm not aware
of what I'm deciding

up there.

- I just decided

the rewards to climbing with Andreas

were not more than, you know,
a kind of inner conflict.

- Don't judge

till you get up there and
live something similar.

- What I won't do is, for instance,

go together on an expedition with him.

Team Discovery is
headed back down to base camp

so they can rest up and
prepare for their summit push.

British socialite, Annabelle Bond,

and the Chilean team she is part of

are headed back down
the base camp as well,

but Annabelle has a problem underfoot.

The brand new boots she's
wearing are three sizes too big.

To summit Mount Everest,

you need to be on top
of thousands of details.

Getting even one thing wrong

can be the death of you.

Mount Everest base camp

is the highest inhabited point on Earth.

It's a small, but vibrant,
multicultural mountain village.

For the climbers who
live here for two months,

life at base camp unwinds
at a lackadaisical pace.

People play cards,

throw dice,

read magazines,

eat carbohydrates,

sleep, wake up--

and do it all over again.

- I slept well.

- So my tent's here.

This is all our equipment

stored in these barrels outside.

Just to keep the tents pretty free.

As you you can see, we're
on this kind of like moraine


It's kind of dangerous.

I mean, half the time there's
ice underneath the rocks

so you're kind of like
sliding all over the place.

All through the night, you can hear

the glacier moving, creaking.

Avalanches aside,

we've actually developed a
rather dangerous crevasse

on the way to the loo.

So you have to be exceptionally
vigilant otherwise,

how embarrassing falling

at base camp on your way to the loo.

- This is our most important

delicatessen at base camp:

pure ground coffee.

- Yeah, I mean, you get used to it really.

I guess all the luxuries

that you're used to after

a few weeks, you just become...

You don't take them for granted anymore.

I mean, I can't remember
what a loo seat's like.

Okay, guys, I'll let her know.

It's up to Camp
Four after the summit.

speaking though,

base camp is as up-to-date
as anywhere on Earth.

- Not 200,000 feet.

20,000 feet!

Satellite phones abound,

internet is everywhere,

and fancy gadgets help stave off boredom.

- I've got a little power source here.

Charge the phone,

charge the music so there's always

communication and entertainment.

If the forecast is good,

Team Discovery's climbing Sherpas

are scheduled to head
up the mountain tomorrow

to establish the high altitude camps.

That means a lot of heavy lifting.

Ironically, these
cumbersome crates contain

only a few grams of supplies.

It's oxygen, three full
bottles for every climber.

The gas may be light,

but the steel tanks
weigh eight kilos each,

half the acceptable load
for the climbing Sherpas,

who will be stashing
them at Camps 3 and 4.

- We have more than a
hundred oxygen bottles.

60 fresh new oxygen
bottles came from Russia.

Unfortunately, among more
than a hundred oxygen bottle,

we got,

we find out

one empty bottles.

The Westerners
on Team Discovery

are due to leave for their
summit push in three days.

It's down to the nitty gritty now.

- I usually find that there's

so much dirt in these things.

It takes three good washes

to get it out,

and then a good three
rinses to get the soap out.

Andrew is used
to doing his own laundry.

Single and 40,

this former Australian police officer

spends almost half of
every year in the mountains

working as a paid guide.

Andrew's love of climbing
began 19 years ago.

In a Sidney pub, he saw a slideshow

given by the first Australian
to ever summit Mount Everest.

Andrew was instantly hooked.

- I climb for two reasons,

and I think this is lost by a
lot of people who come here,

but I climb

for the challenge that
I can set myself to see

what I can do on the mountains,

to push myself to my limits,

but also because I think this is

absolutely the most stunning
environment in the world.

It's nature in all her magnificence,

and there's nowhere I'd rather be.

Andrew may look
like he's doing his laundry

all by himself,

but like everything on
Everest, this is a team effort.

- Getting the water is a hassle,

because it's the kitchen staff
who have to go out to the

glacial stream to collect the water.

It's hard work for them

traipsing back and forth

to collect the water for the kitchen

and also for the washroom.

And if I take

a shower later on

in the little shower tent there,

that's more water again.

So I tend not to do it terribly often,

but obviously I gotta do it sometimes.

Even eating
at base camp is a chore.

Climbers appetites are diminished,

but their need for food is increased.

At this altitude,

humans burn three times as many calories

as they do at sea level.

To keep them going, the
Sherpas eat local fare.

For protein, they rely on yak meat.

They eat it raw, and they fry it up.

Tea is the beverage of choice on Everest.

Every morning it's served in bed,

and all day long it
boils in the mess tent.

The Westerners aren't very
adventurous when it comes to food

eating mostly packaged products from home.

- Funny thing is with altitude is that

no matter how many times
you've been to altitude before,

your tastes change.

So what was really nice last time

may not be at all appetizing this time,

and so we really have to
cover the range of tastes.

While climbing,

junk food is the king of the hill.

- Bars.

Almost every day,
yaks come up with supplies.

In today's shipment of goods

are Annabelle's new high-altitude boots.

To ascend steep slopes, climbers
have to kick into the ice

using steel spikes called crampons

that are attached to the
souls of their boots.

This toe-kicking technique
is called front-pointing.

Annabelle couldn't front-point
properly in her old boots

because they were too big.
- Yeah.

They were a little bit big,

but in the shop when you're walking around

it's not quite like being on the icefall.

So, I bought them, and

on the icefall when I'm like going uphill,

my heels come right out the back.

I mean, the boot,

it looks like I've got a
disconnected leg or something,

and I can't front-point
on the Lhotse face.

So, it's just...

So I made an urgent
phone call to the States.

I mean, it's just amazing

that these things can show up here.

I just saw a porter going past
with Miller, and I was like,


Yeah, this is my proper shoe size.

The other one was three sizes too big,

although these feel
narrower than my other ones.

It feels much better,

but I now have to put
the other inner sole in.

In three days,

Team Discovery will be
ready to go for the summit.

But will the summit be ready for them?

Andrew Lock is one the
weathermen on Team Discovery.

Every day, he checks the
internet for the local forecast.

Information comes from
weather offices in Nepal,

Sweden, and London, England.

Today, the websites are unanimous.

The weather at the summit is deadly.

- So, since we came down
from Camp Two, we had

our camps in place,

and we're well enough acclimatized
to make a summit attempt,

but we're obliged to wait for

suitable weather before
we can go to the top,

and also before the Sherpas
can climb up to Camp Four,

and actually get some of our
equipment up to Camp Four,

before the summit attempt.

And then the whole time,
we've have very high winds,

some precipitation, but that
hasn't been the problem,

it's the high winds.

We're getting winds of up to

100 kilometers or more on the summit.

And what we're really hanging out for now

is the good weather spell
which will let us go up and

steal the summit

in the brief time that the
jet stream moves away from

the summit of Mount Everest

as it usually does each season.

The jet
stream is a narrow current

of viciously strong westerly wind

that encircles the globe at high altitude.

The strongest
winds aren't over us,

but the tide of the jet stream is.

And that's enough to stop us.

Will Cross,

the diabetic high school
principle from Pittsburgh,

is also at base camp resting
up for his summit push.

- Well, the game plan now
is to rest for about a week,

to follow the weather closely.

There are a number of weather sources.

Really, over the next week
we wanna try and understand

who's got the best sense

of weather at which altitude.

And then, probably in about a week, start

moving up the mountain,

and hopefully be in place
when that clear zero wind

window comes for the summit.

The lead that
Ben had on the other teams

is evaporating quickly.

Every day that he is forced to wait means

another two or three
teams catch up with him.

To make sure he steers clear
of the impending traffic jams,

Ben now has to work with the very climbers

he was trying to avoid.

- Maybe getting a bunch
of teams to put resources,

whether it be manpower, ropes, whatever,

to break the trail

on the 13th

so that

then we know, at least to the
balcony, hopefully higher,

its ready to go.

- And definitely we would love to try to

move together.

- Well, we were sort of
counting on discovery, I mean,

you guys were part of the plan anyway

in terms of looking for a
four- or five-team deal.

It's going to be congested.

Half of the 19 teams are
now fully acclimatized.

That means over 50 climbers
are ready to head up

as soon as the window
of opportunity opens,

if it opens.

- We don't dictate to the mountain.

The mountain dictates to us.

So, if you have your
plan, you say, you know,

"I'm sticking to my plan,"

mountain will have other
ideas, and you'll be blown.

So teams wait.

And wait.

And wait.



The weather at the summit is still deadly,

but the forecasts say
the window of opportunity

will open in four days.

Now, almost every team on the mountain

is ready to go for the summit.

Ben doesn't like the
thought of his entire group

getting caught up in the stampede.

So to satisfy the needs of the project,

and to maximize his chances
of getting a video camera

to the top,

he makes a new plan and
calls a team meeting.

- The word I'm hearing here

is that they're prepared
to go on this first window.

Nobody's gonna wait.

From lesser teams--

Ben decides
to break Team Discovery

into two groups.

Hector and Andrew will leave as planned

when the first window opens.

But Ben and Shaunna will now wait a week

to climb in the second window

after the crowds have thinned out.

Waiting until after May
20th is a risky proposition.

The weather could be perfect,

or the monsoon season could start early,

wiping out any chance of a summit.

- Like I'm saying, that
yeah it sounds good,

and you're pretty much assured in the 20s,

but the only reason
everybody's gonna be pushing

on this first window, is
because it's a window.

And you climb when you have a window.

If you purposely stand
down off of a window,

you're rolling the dice.

It's Vegas at that point.

Everest is
a high risk poker game,

where the stakes are people's lives.

Shaunna struggles with the
hand that she's been dealt.

- Gonna have to put Shaunna on the spot.

This is where Shaunna's gotta jump in,

and just voice exactly
how you feel, because

what's being tabled here
is taking a guaranteed shot

to a maybe shot.

And how do you feel about that?

- Well, from the project standpoint,

I do see it's a very valid point.

From a selfish standpoint, no.

I would rather go

when I first see the
first window, and go, and

you know, see if I do have a chance.

But that maybe--
- For 12 months,

Shaunna has trained for this moment.

Being held back now

when she's healthy and
ready to push for the summit

is the biggest obstacle
she's faced so far.

- I don't know how to deal with it.

I feel like I'm waiting.

What is gonna happen to me.

And every day that we sit
here, it's sits on me.

Right now,

every team is discussing the
role that oxygen will play

in their adventure on Mount Everest.

How much O2 do they have,

when will they use it, and
where will they hide it?

Believe it or not, oxygen theft
is rampant at high altitude.

Climbing teams stash their gas,

and then hope it's still there
when they go back for it.

Lhapka Gelu and the Discovery Sherpas

are headed up with the last
of the team's bottled oxygen.

Everest was first conquered in 1953

with supplemental oxygen.

No climber made it to the top
without oxygen until 1978.

Today, climbing without
oxygen is still very rare.

So rare and risky

that on Everest,

climbers usually frown
upon those who go without.

Andrew knows the pros and cons.

- What I've found in the past is that

using oxygen allows me
to recover faster, so,

for a given distance or a
given height that I climb,

10 minutes, 20 minutes,
whatever, when I stop to rest,

I can start again faster,
or recover faster.

They're the pros.

The cons are that

if you run out of gas
while you're climbing it,

or climbing with it,

you're going to be in a
much worse position than

when you started off, or than
if you haven't even used it.

Because you're likely,

not definitely, but likely to
suffer quite severe hypoxia

from that sudden cutoff.


is simply a lack of oxygen to body tissue,

including the brain.

When hypoxia happens,

a variety of disasters can occur:

from simple queasiness and confusion,

to brain damage and death.

Everest's peak is at an altitude
of almost nine kilometers.

Oxygen levels that high are only 30%

what they are at sea level.

The air is so thin, helicopters can't fly

and climbers can barely think.

It's the goal of Andreas

and his team of Mexican
and Quebecois climbers

to go for the summit without oxygen.

But after a recent fiasco at Camp Three,

Andreas is scrambling to keep control.

A mutiny is brewing.

- There was not enough rope,

there were not enough anchors--

- Hey, Thomas.
- Flat.

- We are throwing the dice

on something really difficult, which is

trying to climb Everest without oxygen,

and on the other hand,
we're making some mistakes

which shouldn't be


Some of the
mistakes Andreas refers to

happened at the 7400-meter mark,

a place where Sherpas refuse to sleep.

Up there to spend the night with Andreas

was Richard and Martan,

who are both doctors from
Quebec, and also Tom,

a 58-year-old mountain
guide from Colorado.

They were in tents with faulty zippers,

scared they had to make
a choice: stay or go.

- We didn't have enough brains

to think and to look at
the situation up there.

When the wind started blowing that hard,

I turned to Luis and said, "Get dressed.

"Get your boots on,

"because this is gonna go to hell.

"And when it breaks, we
have to start running down."

None of you guys had any boots on.


- Our leader said, well,

later, you should have
been had your boots on,

be ready to move down the mountain.

To me, to have the boots on

and ready to move down the mountain in

over 100 kilometer-an-hour
wind in the middle of the night

where you can't see the rope,

you can't see where you're going, and

conditions were lethal,


would not have been my decision.

- And next time we get
up there and we have

to change plans,

let's rely, either on
experience, or on habit.

And, if
neither of those work?

- The best thing is to pray.

Pray, man.

Andreas relies on prayers,

Team Discovery relies on
experience and supplies.

Before coming to Everest,

Shaunna had never been above 7,000 meters.

She's never used oxygen, so
Andrew explains the ins and outs

of breathing bottled gas.

- There's the bottle.
- 'Kay.

- Read the pressure on it.

Your masks


to this black cap piece.

It's just a,

a bane at getting...

Screw it on, let it lock.
- 'Kay.

- Here's your mask.
- Mask, 'kay.

- Flow read.

You've got any where from
zero up to four liters.

- 'Kay.
- And,

it's a slow progression.

.5, one liter, two liters,
three liters, four liters.

That's maximum.

You can hear it coming
through the mask now.

- 'Kay.

- And you see that it's flowing properly

by that valve.

See how it sprung up?
- Yep.

- Shut that down, it drops.

Turn it on, it comes out.
- Okay.

- That's how you check...

Every time you put a new bottle on,

make sure that comes up
when you turn her on, yeah?

And we would generally climb

at a flow rate of two liters a minute,

and on three liter bottle like this,

which is fully pressured,
this one's under pressure.

But one with 250 liters pressure,

we'll get six climbing hours
at two liters a minute.

Above 8,000 meters,

climbers breath out so much
moisture, it can be deadly.

Dehydration kills climbers,

and condensation from breath
can cause equipment failure.

- I'll get huge icicles building
up underneath this valve.

From time to time, you
have to break them off.

And in fact, you can get

icicle buildups in here,
which is the oxygen intake.

If you find that you're
suddenly getting very tired

and you don't seem to
be getting any oxygen,

you take off the mask,

and you often find that
there's ice in here,

which you have to either
chip away, or break off,

or melt, or whatever, so
that the oxygen flowing in--

- Okay, now if you wanted
to talk to someone,

or drink something, how long
can you take it off for?

- You don't have to, you
can talk through the mask.

- Okay.
- But you have to shout.

If you take it off,

take it off as long as you feel good.

It's quite common to take it
off for some minutes at a time.

We'll get to the back, and
we'll be changing bottles,

we'll take the mask off.

We'll be talking, all that sort of stuff.

Summit, if we get there,

you'll definitely take it
off and be chatting, and

you know, all that sort
of stuff, whoo hoo!

Discovery is all business.

There's no room for
emotion on this expedition.

Andreas, on the other
hand, is driven by passion.

- You know, I was
writing this morning that

this should be a day to celebrate.

But, somewhat hit me this morning.

My baby's at home without a father,

and my wife as well.

I miss them.

And that hurts, you know.

That comes when you
ease off your feelings.


it's your one more push.


let's make them proud.

That's what I was writing right now.

This is when you miss them.

Knowing that
they won't have to climb

up the mountain any time soon,

Ben and Shaunna head
down to a lower altitude.

The oxygen-rich air down valley

will help their bodies recover

from the stress of acclimatization.

At base camp,

Hector and Andrew prepare to
leave for their summit push,

which is scheduled to start in two days.

That means, packing all their
life-saving necessities,

like long polypropylene underwear,

and cute good luck talismans.

- Some friends gave me this
as a good luck charm in 1997.

And it's done me very well.

I had a really epic climb
in Pakistan that year.

I did a solo climb and had

an awful bivouac at 8,000
meters without equipment.

So, it's come with me on
every expedition since,

and it'll be coming with
me on this expedition

up to the top as well, I hope.

- Bart Simpson.

You need the Bart Simpson?

- Yeah.


for the summit.

Shaunna wants to be climbing.

The longer she waits,

the more she thinks
about what might happen.

These structures built by the
Sherpas are called chortens.

They honor fallen climbers.

- There's dozens of memorials
here of all fallen climbers.

Most are the Sherpas,

but there are a few westerners mixed in.

It's always a very somber
moment when we walk up here

with all the memorials.

A healthy reminder that

once you get up on the mountain,

it's serious business, you know.

For all the joy it can give you,

it can certainly create a
lot of heartache as well.

At base camp,

a new virus is ripping
through the landscape,

and it's planted itself firmly

in the intestinal tract of Andrew Lock.

- I don't know how long
it will take to get over,

or to get strong again.

And that worries me
for the summit attempt.

But yeah, it's been a

fairly miserable few days, I guess.

It's not uncommon to
get bugs in Nepal, but

normally I can beat them fairly fast.

I've been coming long enough,
I've got enough resistance.

This one's certainly got hold of me,

and kicked me pretty hard.

The weather on
the summit is crystal clear.

Tomorrow, Andrew's window
will finally be open,

and he should start climbing.

Team Discovery's Sherpas will
have everything ready for him.

Lhapka Gelu is well on
track to Summit Everest

for his 11th time.

Right now,

he's going strong at an
altitude of 7600 meters.

- This place is the

Yellow Band,

very, very, difficult climbing.

Gelu and five
of his best Sherpa climbers

are headed for Camp Four,
also known as the South Call.

Here they will drop the oxygen stash

needed for Team Discovery's summit bid.

Genetically, Sherpas have thicker skin,

and their hemoglobin is
more oxygen absorbent

than that of westerners.

But even Lhapka Gelu
suffers at this altitude.

He works through the pain,

stacking the team's oxygen
tanks under a mess of rocks

to prevent them from being
scattered in the wind.

With this job done,

the Sherpas head down to Camp Two

where they will continue work building

a radio communications tower.

At base camp, the rush for the
summit is getting underway.

Nine teams begin their
assault this morning.

Amongst the brave souls is Annabelle Bond,

one of only 12 women here.

- It is

May 11th, and we're going up for

our summit attempt.

I'm hoping to try the
summit on the 15th of May.

I'm terrified.

The race is on for
the summit of Mount Everest,

and the human traffic jams
are already beginning.

- I'm really actually nervous.

I've got a lot of
suppressed nerves in here.

I wanna go through here
as few times as possible.

So, I'm praying that we've
got the right weather window,

and we don't have to come back down

to base camp unnecessarily.

Anyway, there's a lot of people
faring low, that's going up,

getting ready for their summit push, and

we're one of those people.

So, fingers crossed for me.

I better keep going to keep up.

Gaps in the icefall

used to be bridged with rope ladders.

Today, about 70 aluminum
ones connect the dots.

Annabelle is trying to
take them in stride.

- I can't tell you how
much I hate these ladders.

I'm walking today,

but I might resort to crawling
a little bit later on.

But, just looking down
scares the hell out of me,

in case it moves.


At least I'm standing up today.

Annabelle was in the icefall

a short two weeks ago,

the area has changed dramatically.

With the warm weather, it
shifted and altered its shape

becoming weaker and more unstable.

It's one of the most dangerous
areas to get through.

It offers the first real
challenge to the climbers.

This is how
secure this ladder is.

So, I'm gonna

help shake my way across.

Back at base camp,

Andrew is still not standing up.

He's supposed to start his
push for the summit tomorrow,

but the prognosis from
Team Discovery's doctor

doesn't sound good.

- That over there is Andrew's tent.

Unfortunately, Andrew's
been in there all day.

He's had a stomach bug,

which has really kind of wreaked havoc

on his ability to eat and sleep.

And so, we're gonna take it
kind of one day at a time, and

see if by tonight,

or maybe tomorrow he's feeling well enough

that we can start to get him moving again.

On the icefall,
Annabelle starts moving again.

She throws around her 10-kilo backpack

with hands that are tender and fragile.

- Sorry about that.

Have to be very careful with my hands.

I've got hand warmers in.

I had frostbite


four months ago, and

yes my fingers are still really painful.

They're actually still numb

from my trip to Camp Three the other day.

So, I really feel the cold.

Annabelle's plan for today

is to get through the
icefall, climb past Camp One,

and make it all the way to
Camp Two, altitude 6500 meters.

The nine-hour journey
is a daunting prospect.

It's the longest, hardest climb

Annabelle has ever attempted in her life.

- I guess I have to admit to myself

I'm a little bit claustrophobic in there.

I don't like the odds.

I don't like the statistics.

I don't like having these
huge apartment-size seracs

hanging over me.

So, I like to move through fast.


What can I say.

I'm boiling hot.

I'm exhausted.

On the
icefall's final ladder,

Annabelle is clipped in
with two safety lines.

Still, it doesn't exactly feel safe.

It's hard to enjoy yourself
in this environment,

even when you should feel thrilled.

Annabelle's team is in first place,

and she is in position
to be the first woman

to summit this year.

But, is she happy?

- Just torture.

10 short days ago,

Team Discovery was leading the charge

towards the world's tallest peak.

Now, only one member is ready to go.

Somehow, the tables got turned.

Ben was waiting for the mountain.

Now, the mountain waits for Ben.

On the next episode of
Ultimate Survival: Everest,

Hector heads off for the summit.

Team Discovery's oxygen goes missing.

- Is anybody, any other
Sherpas selling oxygen,

we're buying.

And Ben continues
to hold Shaunna back.

- For someone I care about a
great deal, very hard decision.

And as she was crying in the
tent with me, saying to her,

you know, at the end of
the day, it's my call.