On June 30th, National Geographic continues a longstanding tradition of exploring the forbidden mountain, Mount Everest, with two special programs. The first is a feature-length documentary called Lost on Everest at 9:00 pm ET that attempts to solve one of the mountain’s biggest mysteries. National Geographic’s history with Everest goes back to 1933 when they brought the world the first images of the mountain from the air and in 1966 when they funded the first team of American explorers to reach the highest peak and gave the world the first footage from the summit.

In 1924, British mountaineer George Mallory and his climbing partner Sandy Irvine attempted to become the first men to reach the highest peak. Last seen just hundreds of feet from the highest peak, both men were never seen again. With a camera in tow, finding the camera is the key to finding out if they truly were the first men to reach the top of the mountain, something no man is known to have done until 1953.

George Mallory’s body was discovered in 1999, well preserved due to the cold conditions, which is shown in the film. Despite also finding the last known campsite the climbers used, the camera and the body of Sandy Irvine are the remaining pieces to be discovered in this mystery and the premise of this expedition.

Over one hundred frozen dead bodies are scattered on Everest due to the difficulty of bringing them down which adds to the challenge of finding the remains of a man from 1924. But over the years, there have been reports from climbers of seeing a body that matches a description of Sandy Irvine and with those reports, the team is heading to a very specific spot in hopes that the reports are correct.

The mission depicted is like finding a needle in a haystack and the challenges of climbing Everest with 21st century technology becomes a big part of the narrative as some members of the team are forced to stop their ascent. It serves to highlight the extraordinary accomplishment of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine, whether they reached the top of not.

You can see Lost on Everest only on National Geographic on June 30th. Following the film, another Everest special will air called Expedition Everest and fans of the mountain will want to pick up the single-topic July issue of National Geographic magazine, which is all about the forbidden mountain.

I give Lost of Everest 4 out of 5 Himalayan prayer flags