Discovery to air ‘Everest Avalanche Tragedy’ doc in May

Climbers descend Khumbu Icefall in this photo from 2013.
Climbers descend Khumbu Icefall in this photo from 2013.
(Associated Press)

The deadly April 18 avalanche that killed killed 13 and left three people missing on Mt. Everest will be the subject of a 90-minute documentary “Everest Avalanche Tragedy” that will air on Discovery on May 4.

Discovery had a camera crew from NBC News present on Mt. Everest in preparation of a planned live jump from the summit of the mountain with climber Joby Ogwyn when the tragedy struck. It is the single deadliest avalanche in the history of Mt. Everest.

The cable channel had hoped to repeat the success of the “Skywire” event from last summer in which Nik Wallenda tightrope walked across a portion of the Grand Canyon. But in the aftermath of the avalanche on the mountain’s south face, Discovery decided to cancel the event.

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“We were at Mt. Everest to make history, but instead we were there as eyewitnesses to history,” Discovery Network president Eileen O’Neill said in a statement. “It is essential to tell this story and honor all the Sherpas who lost their lives.”

The camera crew captured footage immediately after the avalanche in which large blocks of ice tumbled down the mountain from the Khumbu Icefall, an area above the Mt. Everest base camp. The documentary will also cover the rescue efforts to save the lives of the Sherpas, who guide climbers up and down the mountain.

The documentary will feature interviews with Ogwyn, who had originally planned to leap from the top of the mountain in a specially designed wing suit.

Discovery has said it will make a donation to the American Himalayan Foundation Sherpa Family Fund, which supports the families of the Sherpas who died on the mountain.


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