Steamboat Springs Outdoor Life Network wants to take you to the top of Mt. Everest.
In the latest craze of reality-based television shows, OLN is getting ready to launch "Global Extremes: Mt. Everest 4Runners of Adventure," pitting five selected individuals against one of the world's most feared and revered journeys the summit of Mt. Everest.
"It's going to be pretty big," said Carla Cicalese, Public Relations Director for OLN.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's historical adventure to the top of Mt. Everest in the Asian countries of Nepal and Tibet. In honor and memory of that journey, OLN is hoping to provide the first-ever live broadcast of an expedition to the top.
Because not everyone is capable of undertaking such an emotionally and physically daunting task, a panel of experts and producers is accepting applications from all interested U.S. citizens 21 or older before narrowing the field down to a preliminary field of 50.
Cicalese said those 50 will take part in such outdoor sports as rock climbing, mountain biking and whitewater rafting in Moab, Utah, before that group is narrowed down to 24. Those men and women will then travel to a site yet to be determined in the United States where they will compete in events like backcountry skiing and mountaineering.
Twelve will make the final cut, and from there they will have what many would consider a chance of a lifetime as they travel the globe hoping not to be eliminated before the Mt. Everest expedition.
The first stop on the 4Runner Adventure tour is Africa's Kalahari Desert where daytime temperatures exceed 100 degrees before plummeting to below freezing at night. The next stop for the ten that remain will be Borneo, in the heart of the Malaysian wilderness as the climate switches from desert to tropical.
Eight will move on to Iceland where they will be expected to pioneer a route among the frozen mountain passes and valleys of the Icelandic Ice Caps. Five, should five remain, will then be eligible to summit Mt. Everest next year.
"'Global Extremes: Mt. Everest 4Runners of Adventure' promises to be one of the most thrilling and exciting television experiences ever created," said E. Roger Williams, president and CEO of OLN. "Viewers will have an opportunity to watch and follow outdoor enthusiasts challenge the world's most formidable obstacles and fulfill their dreams of climbing Mt. Everest."
Cicalese couldn't reveal specifics about applications received, but she did say over 400 have been sent in with the deadline of Sept. 10 fast approaching. And as expected, a majority is from areas of the country where one might expect to find outdoor enthusiasts.
"It's testing their limits," Cicalese said. "It's very exciting for someone involved in outdoor sports at this level to do something that is this extreme. There's something to be said of getting to the end of the road."
But it won't go unnoticed or without a prize. Participants selected for the five-month long series will be vying for a $250,000 payout.
In addition to citizenship and age, other requirements have been placed on the interested applicants. They must have a valid passport good through 2003, must complete a questionnaire demonstrating experience, competency and fitness of endurance level sports and have the personal stamina to endure extreme and hazardous conditions.
Experts from each area of the world where the competitions will be held have been asked to judge the competitors and provide insight before the events.
Participants also are asked to make a one-to-three minute biographical video explaining their interest in the 4Runners series.
Applications can be found at www.olntv.com. That information and the biographical video should be mailed to Global Extremes: Mt. Everest 4Runners of Adventure, P.O. Box 1268, Aspen, Colo., 81611.