Peak on the crest of the Himalayas, southern Asia. The highest point on Earth, with a summit at 29,035 ft (8,850 m), it lies on the border between Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Numerous attempts to climb Everest were made from 1921; the summit was finally reached by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal in 1953. In dispute is whether the English explorer George Mallory, whose body was discovered below Everest's peak in 1999, had actually reached the peak earlier, in 1924, and was descending it when he died. The formerly accepted elevation of 29,028 ft (8,848 m), established in the early 1950s, was recalculated in the late 1990s.
Learn more about Everest, Mount with a free trial on Britannica.com.
A 17 member production crew followed 11 climbers, three guides, and a team of Sherpas up the mountain in April and May of 2006. The first season's six part series included double-amputee Mark Inglis' ascent and footage of British climber David Sharp, who died in the attempt. The series was shot using high altitude equipment and helmet mounted cameras worn by Sherpas.
In the second season, biker Tim Medvetz and Danish asthmatic Mogens Jensen returned to successfully summit despite Jensen's initial unwillingness to use oxygen and Medvetz's accidental fall and hand injury. Jensen nearly died on the descent when a piton attached to a rock pass came loose and he fell a few feet off the slope. Rod Babar ascended ahead of Medvetz with a cell phone battery taped to his chest, which upon summiting he used to make a mobile phone call to his family. Mountaineer David Tait attempted the first double-traverse of Everest, planning to ascend the north side, descend the south, and make the return trip. Tait reached the south side base but declined to complete his plan as he had lagged behind Phurba Tashi. He respectfully felt that Tashi would purposefully have to let him reach his objective first to secure the record. Fred Ziel completed his first summit of Everest from the north side (he had previously failed twice after climbing the south), while Katsusuke Yanagisawa—at age 71—became the oldest man to summit Everest as of 2007. Yanagi experienced intermittent throat pain but was otherwise completely healthy upon his return to base camp. The following day, Brice presented him with a gift before packing up camp. Following the last four episodes of the second season of Everest, the Discovery Channel aired an After the Climb segment similar to the Deadliest Catch series' After the Catch. Phil Keoghan hosted discussions on several subjects with the show's participants and several well-known climbers, including Peter Hillary. Common topics included meteorology, dangers such as frostbite and oxygen starvation, equipment (especially the use of oxygen), and the workings of Brice's business.
New Zealand double-amputee climber Mark Inglis revealed in an interview on May 232006 that Sharp had died, and that he had been passed by 40 other climbers heading for the summit who made no attempt at a rescue. Sharp died under a rock overhang alongside the main climbing trail, approximately (elevation) below the summit and (elevation) above Camp 4.
The Inglis party and most other climbers passed Sharp without offering any substantial assistance. Everest guide Jamie McGuinness reported that on reaching David Sharp on the descent some nine hours later, "...Dawa from Arun Treks also gave oxygen to David and tried to help him move, repeatedly, for perhaps an hour. But he could not get David to stand alone or even stand resting on his shoulders, and crying, Dawa had to leave him too. Even with two Sherpas it was not going to be possible to get David down the tricky sections below...".
Inglis said Sharp was ill-prepared, lacking proper gloves and oxygen, and was already doomed by the time of their descent. "I ... radioed and [expedition manager] Russ said, 'Mate, you can't do anything. He's been there x number of hours without oxygen. He's effectively dead'. Trouble is, at 8500 m it's extremely difficult to keep yourself alive, let alone keep anyone else alive". Statements by Inglis suggest that he believed that Sharp was probably so close to death as to have been beyond help by the time the Inglis party passed him. Russ however, denies the claim that any radio call was received about the stranded climber until he was notified some nine hours later by the first ever Lebanese climber of Mt Everest Maxime Chaya, who had not seen Sharp in the darkness of the ascent. David had no gloves and severe frostbite at this time. The lead climber of the Inglis party said that his chief responsibility was to his team members and that not enough blame has been leveled at David's own climbing team. Far greater efforts were made to assist the dying man on the way down than were given to him on the ascent. By contrast, on May 26 Australian climber Lincoln Hall was found alive after having been declared dead the day before. He was found by a party of four climbers (Dan Mazur, Andrew Brash, Myles Osborne and Jangbu Sherpa) who, giving up their own summit attempt, stayed with Hall and descended with him and a party of 11 Sherpas sent up to carry him down. Hall later recovered fully.
Sir Edmund Hillary was highly critical of the decision not to try to rescue Sharp, saying that leaving other climbers to die is unacceptable, and the desire to get to the summit has become all-important. He also said, "I think the whole attitude towards climbing Mount Everest has become rather horrifying. The people just want to get to the top. It was wrong if there was a man suffering altitude problems and was huddled under a rock, just to lift your hat, say good morning and pass on by". He also told the New Zealand Herald that he was horrified by the callous attitude of today’s climbers. "They don’t give a damn for anybody else who may be in distress and it doesn’t impress me at all that they leave someone lying under a rock to die" and that, "I think that their priority was to get to the top and the welfare of one of the... of a member of an expedition was very secondary." Sir Edmund also called Mark Inglis "crazy" .
Linda Sharp, David's mother, however, believes that David was responsible for his own survival, and she does not blame other climbers. She has said to The Sunday Times, "David had been noticed in a shelter. People had seen him but thought he was dead. One of Russell’s Sherpas checked on him and there was still life there. He tried to give him oxygen but it was too late. Your responsibility is to save yourself — not to try to save anybody else.
Since these comments, however, more details have emerged. In July 2006, Inglis retracted his claim that he was ordered to continue his ascent after informing Brice of a climber in distress, blaming the extreme conditions at altitude for the uncertainty in his memory. The Discovery Channel documentary Everest: Beyond the Limit showed footage indicating that Sharp was only found by Inglis's group on their descent. All Inglis party members still confirm that they did discover him on the ascent, but they do not confirm that Brice was contacted regarding Sharp during the ascent. By the time the Inglis group reached him on the descent and contacted Brice they were low on oxygen and heavily fatigued with several cases of severe frostbite, making any rescue very difficult.