The story begins with Laurie Skreslet just having lost his best friend in a climbing accident, that happened near Banff. He believes the accident was his fault. We then switch to an Everest expedition making its way through the dramatic Nepalese countryside approaching the mountain. The expedition leaders are already fighting, which does little to reassure the conflicted doubts Laurie has about climbing and the guilt he feels over his friend's death. Once they are on the mountain a huge avalanche kills three of them. Two days later, a collapse of ice crushes another.
After the tragic deaths of their friends everything goes wrong, the media turns against them, the sponsors cut off supplies and tell them to come home, the mountain is too unstable. Because of this half of the climbers leave. As the rest of the climbers are about to go, Laurie reflects on the situation, digging deep within himself to find inspiration and becomes convinced he must go on. He talks a couple of them into continuing up the mountain, inspired by the ghosts of past climbers, their deaths and triumphs.
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