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Everest: Beyond the Limit
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this intense documentary series includes some potentially upsetting shots of hands and feet blackened by frostbite and climbers suffering the effects of altitude sickness. In one scene, a man vomits and has difficulty breathing because of life-threatening cerebral edema (swelling of the brain). Much of the commentary by both the narrator and the climbers centers on the health risks the climbers face (like a body eating its own flesh to survive an oxygen shortage) and the real possibility that they could die on the mountain. But on the upside, the show celebrates overcoming adversity to meet goals, which is best personified by double amputee Mark Inglis' attempts to make history by reaching the summit.
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What's the story?
EVEREST: BEYOND THE LIMIT takes viewers on an intense journey to the world's highest point: the top of Mount Everest. Using high-altitude video technology and cameras attached to helmets, the six-part series documents the physical challenges and raw human emotion of this inspiring but life-threatening climb. Over the course of two months in the spring of 2006, the international team, led by legendary mountaineer Russell Brice, climbs from base camp (at an altitude of 17,600 feet, higher than any mountain in the Rockies) to the summit at 29,028 feet -- 5.5 miles above sea level.
Is it any good?
Everest's powerfully dramatic storyline is a result of the very real dangers the climbers face, which are discussed at length throughout the show. The all-male team of climbers includes Mark Inglis, a double amputee who lost his legs to frostbite on another mountain over 20 years ago; emergency-room doctor Terry O'Connor; firefighter Brett Merrell; and asthmatic Iron Man contender Mogens Jensen. All of the climbers have come to Everest for personal reasons -- to conquer their fears, push themselves to the limit, and hopefully stand for a moment at the top of the world.
Candid interviews with team members reveal their fears about life-threatening altitude sickness, frostbite, heart attacks, and cerebral edema, and a few scenes show climbers suffering the dangerous effects of some of these conditions, so parents will want to preview the show before sharing it with youngsters. Parents should be prepared for questions from tweens about the physical ailments and mental distress the climbers suffer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about extreme sports like mountain climbing. What drives people to push their bodies to the limit to reach a difficult goal? How do they prepare both mentally and physically for a challenge like tackling Everest? How do they reconcile the danger of it all? Do the risks make success that much sweeter? In what ways do the climbers rely on one another during their journey?