Everest 2014: A Preview

Record attempts, a Hollywood thriller, and one crazy stunt are in store for the world's highest peak

We can’t help ourselves. Even though Everest isn’t the toughest mountain in the world to climb, it apparently has the best publicist because, arguably, it’s the world’s best known. Here’s a sample of what to expect this May from Everest a.k.a. Chomolungma in Tibetan ("Goddess Mother of the World") and Sagarmatha in Sanskrit ("Ocean Mother”):

Yet Another Everest Movie Planned

There are no less than four theatrical films and TV movies about the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest when eight climbers died. Here comes one more:

Everest is an upcoming American 3-D adventure thriller film directed by Baltasar Kormákur and written by Justin Isbell and William Nicholson, based on the book Into Thin Air written by Jon Krakauer. Release date is Feb. 27, 2015.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Scott Fischer; Jason Clarke is Rob Hall; Josh Brolin portrays Beck Weathers; and John Hawkes is Doug Hansen, a slow climber who causes his team to be late setting out on their journey up the peak.

Filming has already started in Nepal. Additional production is scheduled for the Alps and Iceland. The Hollywood Reporter posted that South Tyrol's regional film board has funded the $65 million production with a grant of $1 million.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

After several breaches of rules and guidelines while climbing Everest, Nepal has decided to adopt strict measures for climbers starting this spring. According to a February 22 story in India Today, to facilitate better service to the climbers, porters, sherpas, sardars, high-altitude workers and cooks, the Nepal government has decided to set up an integrated office at  Everest Base Camp.

Besides setting up a dedicated liaison office at BC for the upcoming spring season (from March through May), the government will begin verifying climbers' experience, health and age before allowing them to climb.

The ministry is also mulling installing GPS facilities in the Khumbu region, where  Everest is situated, to track the location of trekkers and mountaineers. Officials said that the move will stop overcrowding on the mountain.

[Read the full story at IndiaToday.com.]

Over the Hill: First Great-Grandfather to Summit Everest

Jim Geiger, a life coach and mountaineer from Sacramento, heads to Everest this May to try to become both the oldest American to summit (at the age of 68), and the first great-grandfather. He says there’s no reason to feel that as you get older that you can’t still do things. “Age is just a number,” he says. See his story below:

You Knew It Was Bound to Happen

In May, speed climber Joby Ogwyn, 39, will perform one of the most audacious human stunts ever: the first wing-suit flight off the summit of Mount Everest. It will be broadcast around the world live on the Discovery Channel as he plunges more than 10,000 feet at speeds up to 150 miles an hour.

His speaker’s bureau breathlessly promotes him as “… a world renowned, record-holding adventurer, [who] shares jaw-dropping, hair-raising stories and photos of his adventures while offering insights on how to conquer fear and take the first step when faced with a new challenge.” His speaking fees range from $20,000 to $35,000 per talk.

He says, “Everest is the pinnacle for me. I’m going to climb it, I’m going to jump off and I’m going to fly down to Base Camp, ‘boom, boom, boom.’ … There are 50 ways to die on that mountain. I only have to pick one.”

On February 27 he told CNN, “I’m not afraid to die.” 

“Boom” indeed.

[Read the full story at cnn.com]

See his promo video below: