Gripping story of Mt. Everest fatal climbs

World-renowned climber and filmmaker David Breashears returns to the scene of Mount Everest's worst tragedy in "Storm Over Everest," airing 9 p.m. Tuesday on PBS (check local listings).

This two-hour "Frontline" combines original cinematography with dramatic recreations of the weather of May 10, 1996, when a ferocious storm hit the mountain, trapping three climbing teams near the top of the world's highest peak.

In the film, survivors recount the progress of those expeditions as they approached the prized summit, then felt the weather deteriorate, within minutes, from favorable to deadly. Hurricane-strength winds reached 80 mph, and temperatures plunged to minus 30.

Breashears (who was making his third ascent, leading an IMAX film team) assisted in the rescue effort. Five climbers died before the ordeal was over. (Airing May 20, "Left for Dead: Miracle on Everest" tells the related story of Lincoln Hall, who, after reaching Everest's summit in June 2006, fell victim to cerebral edema and severe frostbite, and was given up for dead by his Sherpa guides. Then he lived to tell the tale. This documentary airs on National Geographic Channel.)

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