MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 25, 2000 — WebTV Networks, Inc., and Quokka Sports, Inc., which teamed up to bring a three-month Mount Everest climbing expedition into the homes and classrooms of television viewers and Web users, today announced that two members of the IMG/Mountain Link team successfully completed their summit bid at 9:15 a.m. May 22. Cinematographer Michael Brown was the first team member to reach the summit; it was his first time climbing Everest and the first time he surpassed 8,000 meters. Brown is filming a television documentary of the 12-week expedition that will be broadcast as an interactive WebTV Networks program on NBC in December 2000. The broadcast of the adventure will be combined with interactive elements to create an immersive interactive and educational TV experience for WebTV Network™
Plus service subscribers. The other member of the team to reach the summit was Dave Hahn, a correspondent for Quokka Sports, who has now reached the Everest peak three times.
Kim Gattone, another of the seven-member team, remained at Camp IV at 26,000 feet with winds surpassing 50 mph. The 38-year-old elementary school teacher from Santa Fe, New Mexico, contracted a case of snow blindness, a painful condition that makes climbing nearly impossible. Her students and others around the country have been following the expedition and her curriculum about Everest and the surrounding Himalayan region via the Quokka.com Web site and WebTV® service. WebTV Networks sponsored Gattone to participate in the union of the Internet and broadcasting in the company’s first foray into extreme sports, delivering the rigors and the wonders of the world’s highest peak to television viewers and Web users in the comfort of their living rooms and classrooms.
Guide Greg Wilson, Dr. Steve Greenholz and expedition leader Robert Link turned back before reaching the summit because of bad weather and illness. Tom Wise, the seventh member of the team, made the decision early in the expedition to return home and not participate in the summit bid. The team returned to base camp on May 24.
Persistent heavy snowfall made climbing more treacherous than in recent years. Fresh snow on the blue ice increased the dangers of avalanches in some areas and limited visibility significantly. There were approximately 20 expeditions on the mountain this year, most of which were recently attempting to reach the summit during the few remaining days of tolerable weather.
Radio dispatches from the team indicated that everyone is doing fine; from base camp they will further share their experiences through online chats and e-mail.
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