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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Preview: Nova Show on Denali

This looks intriguing: Next Tuesday night, NOVA Presents "Deadly Ascent," an hour-long show based on a June 2000 research expedition to Denali. From the press release: "In an exploration of extreme medical science, NOVA ascends Alaska’s Mount McKinley to try to solve the mystery of high altitude deaths on one of the most dangerous mountains on earth.... NOVA chronicles daring mountain rescues and emergency medical evacuations as it accompanies an expedition team of researchers and experts employing the latest NASA technology to investigate the lethal diseases attacking climbers all over the world.... It’s no secret—cold can kill. But why? Even some of the most physically fit and well-equipped climbers still die on Denali, debilitated by a strange and confounding sickness. NOVA joins a team of medical researchers, rescuers, world-class mountaineers, military Special Forces and an astronaut taking part in a study by Dr. Peter Hackett, who turns the mountain’s vertical arctic landscape into a high-altitude lab."

Who knows if "Deadly Ascent" will actually prove informative to experienced mountaineers or if it will simply play up the supposed drama of mountaineering, "where climbers pit themselves against ... frozen giants and push the limits of survival," as the PR folks put it. Tune in January 17 at 8 p.m. EST to find out.

If nothing else, the show's website has some very cool features for those interested in climbing North America's highest peak. In particular, be sure to check out the "Climb Denali" interactive feature, which allows you to pan around 360° views from each of the camps on the West Buttress and the summit, and also to "fly" up the entire route. Great stuff.

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