One in this series of news magazine programs that takes an in-depth look at a specific topic. This installment, anchored by Forrest Sawyer, focuses on the deaths of several adventurers who attempted to climb to the top of Mount Everest in the Spring of 1996. Sawyer opens the program by noting that it was not until the mid-1980's that climbing Mount Everest became a sort of status symbol, despite the fact that die-hard climbing enthusiasts have been scaling Everest for years. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to acquire the necessary permits and equipment, Sawyer explains, so only the wealthiest adventurers can make the trip to Nepal and up the mountain. Sawyer then proceeds to talk about the people involved in the 1996 mountain-climbing trip. He refers to climbing veterans Rob Hall and Scott Fisher, who opened competing businesses as mountain guides and were each leading a team up to the top of the mountain. Sawyer explains that each of the men's teams contained a member of the media, thus making the trip more high profile. Hall's team included "Outdoor Magazine" columnist Jon Krakauer, and Fisher's team included inexperienced climber and Manhattan socialite Sandy Pittman, who was reporting on the climb for ABC News. Sawyer briefly touches on the following idea that a number of people have had since the tragedy happened: if the media had not been present, the two guides might not have push their climbing teams so hard. Sawyer then provides details about the sudden and violent storm that took the climbers by surprise and ultimately took the lives of a number of the climbers. Sawyer interviews Krakauer, who had previously told his story in the successful book "Into Thin Air." Sawyer also talks to Texas businessman Beck Weathers, who managed to escape certain death at least three times on the climb; Weathers is shown recovering from the severe frostbite he suffered and the resultant reconstructive surgery he underwent. Sawyer also talks with David Breashears, a filmmaker who was on the mountain shooting footage for an IMAX movie when he witnessed the carnage on the mountain. Sawyer ends the program with the reflection that people continue to book trips to climb Mount Everest, despite the tragedy. Includes commercials and promos. This program is closed-captioned.

(This program contains graphic footage.)

("Turning Point" became a series of irregularly scheduled specials beginning in 1995.)

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.


  • DATE: September 19, 1996 Thursday 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:55
  • COLOR/B&W: Color.
  • CATALOG ID: T:45936
  • GENRE: Magazine
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Mount Everest
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV series, 1994-
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Commercials - Discover credit cards^TV - Commercials - Clorox bleach^TV - Commercials - E.P.T. pregnancy tests^TV - Commercials - Benadryl allergy medication^TV - Commercials - Toyota automobiles^TV - Commercials - Glade air fresheners^TV - Commercials - Mylanta antacid^TV - Commercials - Sears stores^TV - Commercials - Walt Disney World vacation destination^TV - Commercials - Campbell's soup^TV - Commercials - MCI telecommunications^TV - Commercials - Rogaine hair growth treatment^TV - Commercials - McDonald's fast-food^TV - Commercials - Consumer Credit Counseling Service^TV - Commercials - S.O.S. sponges^TV - Commercials - Carnation instant breakfast^TV - Commercials - Mastercard credit cards^TV - Commercials - Zantac 75 antacid^TV - Promos - "Second Noah"^TV - Promos - "Relativity"^TV - Promos - "Two Mothers for Zachary"^TV - Promos - "Murder One"^TV - Promos - "Twenty/Twenty {20/20}"^TV - Promos - "Home Improvement"^TV - Promos - "Spin City"^TV - Promos - "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" (telecast of a feature film)^TV - Promos - "Lois and Clark"^TV - PSA - American Heart Association


  • Betsy West … Executive Producer
  • Rudy Bednar … Senior Producer
  • Howie Masters … Producer
  • Adam Mosston … Associate Producer
  • David Perozzi … Associate Producer
  • Janice Tomlin … Senior Broadcast Producer
  • Wendy Roth … Broadcast Producer
  • Lisa Soloway … Editorial Producer
  • Doug Wythe … Open Producer
  • Roger Goodman … Director
  • Alan Wagmeister … Researcher
  • Judy Stoeven Davies … Writer
  • Brian Keane … Music by
  • Forrest Sawyer … Host
  • David Breashears
  • Scott Fisher
  • Rob Hall
  • Jon Krakauer
  • Sandy Pittman
  • Beck Weathers