CNN International will exclusively broadcast a new three-part documentary âThe Challenge: Everestâ, which will debut on June 30. After the telecast of the first episode, it will be repeated eight times and then the following episodes will be telecast in due intervals.
The documentary features British broadcaster Ben Fogle and double Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton CBE, who faced one of the greatest challenges of their lives attempting to reach the summit of Everest.
The journey captures the mental and physical toll of the 8,848-metre climb, which has claimed the lives of nearly 300 people. The Challenge: Everest accompanies Fogle and Pendleton during their six-day trek to base camp, acclimatisation on Everest and the final ascent to reach the summit.
It tells the story and dangers of the six-week expedition, including the extreme weather and frequent avalanches on the South Col route from Nepal. Through revealing interviews and intimate video diaries, viewers will see Pendleton wrestling with the heart-wrenching decision whether to retire from the climb after suffering severe hypoxia at high altitude.
The documentary also captures the life-threatening moment when both Fogle and the cameramanâs oxygen regulators exploded within sight of the summit, deep within Everestâs so-called Death Zone.
Fogle and Pendleton were accompanied by world-renowned mountaineer Kenton Cool, who was making his 13th ascent of Everest. Together with the heroic Ang Thindu Sherpa and Ming Dorjee Sherpa, who sacrificed their own oxygen masks and tanks to rescue Fogle and the expeditionâs cameraman.
Produced by CNN Vision, the in-house creative production unit of CNN International, Fogle and Pendleton were filmed by award-winning photographer Mark Fisher, an expert mountaineer in his own right. The Challenge: Everest enlists CNNâs commitment to high-quality productions to capture the intensity of scaling the worldâs tallest mountain for a global audience.
âThe Challenge: Everest is a production that aligns with CNNâs core remit; to deliver incredible human stories from around the world,â said Matthew Percival, Executive Producer and Commissioning Editor at CNN Vision. âOur team has filmed in so many places but Everest is a first for us, capturing the atmosphere of this most challenging of environments. Through Mark Fisherâs extraordinary footage, CNN Vision has been able to share both the beauty and danger of Everest, whilst also conveying the very personal nature of Ben and Victoriaâs experience in Nepal.â
As part of Fogleâs capacity as UN Patron of the Wilderness, the team effected an âethicalâ climb, aiming to remove all the expeditionâs waste from the mountain and reduce environmental damage caused by visitors to Everest, 65 years after Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary made the first confirmed ascent.
Fogle and Pendletonâs climb was in support of The British Red Cross and the expedition was part of the âAnything is Possibleâ initiative, founded by Her Royal Highness Princess Haya, which honours the legacy of HM King Hussein I, who believed that with faith, honour and courage, anything is possible.