Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Everest Update II: Discovery Channel Making Documentary On Avalanche

A few days back, it was reported that the Discovery Channel had scrapped plans to film Joby Ogwyn's attempt to summit Everest, then jump from the top in a wingsuit. At the time, they said it was out of respect for those what had died in last week's avalanche, which claimed the lives of 16 Sherpas. Now, we have word that Discovery will instead make a documentary about the accident, which was the deadliest in the history of the mountain.

According to reports, the documentary will not only focus on the avalanche itself, but the aftermath, which we all know is still unfolding. The reaction of the Sherpa guides, how they deal with the loss of friends and family, and their interactions with western climbers and the Nepali government will take center stage.

When I read this news, I couldn't help but wonder if this was Discovery's way of taking lemons and making lemonade, or simply a way for them to profit off of the tragedy. Obviously they've invested a lot of money and resources to send a team to the Himalaya this spring to film Ogwyn's jump. That team is still there, and have been witness to the disaster – not to mention the fallout that has occurred afterward.

Perhaps I'm being too cynical, but it just seems too early to already be making such a special. Of course, it will all come down to how the delicate situation is handled, and considering the Discovery team had hired Sherpas who were lost in the avalanche, I'd like to think that they'll produce something that won't just take advantage of the situation. Only time will tell of course, and we'll have to wait until it airs to know for sure. Here's hoping it is a well done piece on the plight of the Sherpas, and not just something that is put together to profit from the sad situation.

Before we judge them too harshly, it is only fair to point out that Discovery is contributing to the Sherpa relief fund. With 5 of the dead coming from their team, this seems like a good gesture on their part, and an indication of their understanding of the situation.

What are your thoughts on this story? 

1 comment:

Tonibelle said...

I think it is perfectly natural for Discovery Channel to change their focus and move their resources to the avalanche. I have no doubt that they will show nothing but respect to the Sherpas and their families. After following the blogs since the avalanche, I personally have many questions about the culture: what is happening now and what will be the future of Everest. I will be looking forward to the Documentary.