The Climb To The Summit Begins

The Climb To The Summit Begins
“The Summit” AUS Season 2.

It was one of last year’s surprise new TV offerings and now it’s time to climb The Summit again.

In a thrilling game of survival, a motley crew of 14 Australians from various walks of life find themselves at the base of a mountain in New Zealand to embark on a life-changing quest to haul one-million dollars to the top in just 15 days. Waiting for them on the river flats is Jai Courtney, who reminds them of the rules of this deadly game: they will carry the cash in their backpacks and whatever they get to the top will make-up the prize pool. If they miss the deadline, they get nothing. The group will find 7 checkpoints along the way where they’ll be rewarded with food and shelter, but at a cost… they must vote someone off the mountain and steal their cash. The hikers must remain as a group, and if anyone quits their cash also leaves the mountain with them, so those who are physically weaker need to think carefully about what else they have to offer… morale? Friendship? Alliances? Whatever their approach, those hungry for the money will quickly seek out prey who will limit their chances of getting to the top. And to add to the pressure, the menacing Mountain’s Keeper has an immediate shock in store – as she delivers their money from the skies above, the group realise they’re missing a massive quarter-of-a-million dollars from the prize pot and must find it on the mountain.

As the group embark on the first of over 180 kilometers it’s clear that some are lazer-focused on finding the missing money while others reveal their goal is to find themselves, like Tiffani of pop-group Bardot fame who now has six kids and feels stuck in the monotony of motherhood. The hungriest wolf among them (unprofessional poker player and crypto investor Sharkesy) soon emerges as he slyly admits he enjoys winning (stealing) money from old ladies at the poker table. His goal is clear – to win the money at all costs – and anyone who gets in his way has to go. As the group reach the base of their first steep ascent and with the missing money drawing them to the top, rugby legend and Australian Survivor royalty Mat Rogers also admits that in this competition anyone who slows the group is a liability. With all eyes on those who may be weaker, spirited farmer Ros (who is self-declared farm fit and f**k fit), is the first to struggle and have her bag carried by fellow farmer Lachie. But soon eccentric theatre technical director and oldest member of the group David is requiring regular breaks and his bag to be carried, before he slips and falls into a hole injuring his toe.

When the group finally reach the top of the hill they’re confronted with their first high-octane obstacle in order to win back their missing quarter-of-a-million dollars. They must get all 14 members up a perilous ladder and across a rickety bridge in just 60 minutes, if they miss the deadline the money goes. As the group try to rouse spirits with a can-do attitude Sharkesy’s frustrations boil over and he calls out how slow they’ve been so far, telling the group he’d rather quit than continue like this and they’re delusional if they think they will complete the obstacle in time! The stunned hikers dismiss Sharkesy’s concerns while muscle-clad dock worker Taylor takes the lead as first across the obstacle. He completes his run faster than required but admits it was harder than expected, and as other fitter members of the group make it across in a timely manner, they start to worry about Ros and David’s ability to complete it. An especially perky Ros takes to the obstacle with gusto bellowing to the group about how excited she is! But a mis-step on the ladder soon sees her fall and rip her pants – however, you can’t keep a farmer down, and she defiantly presses on before a stumble on the bridge sees her drop off it completely leaving her dangling in mid-air! As the group hoist her back on the bridge their time is wasting away and the pressure truly sets-in… and a couple of hikers later it’s David’s turn to cross. He rouses himself as he steps into ‘battle’ with the mountain but soon slips and stumbles on the ladder, while the group wince at their chances of completion slipping ever further away. As he reaches the bridge, he channels his theatre background to perform for the group and makes a strong start, before losing his balance… and his earlier injury results in a pitiful attempt to drag himself across. Sadly, David’s snails-pace effort sees their 60-minute time limit perish, and the devastated group watches their missing quarter-of-a-million dollars explode before their eyes! With the money lost, they must still get the remaining three hikers across so as not to lose their money too, and it’s time for nurse and midwife Charlotte to face her deepest fears… born with one arm missing, she’s here to prove she can take on the physical extremeties of this adventure, but she must adapt everything she does making obstacles a huge hurdle. Incredibly, her steadfast determination sees her complete the obstacle in good time, and as the last two hikers make it across as well Charlotte is overcome with emotion at her achievement.

With the obstacle having set them back and David requiring yet more breaks as they hike, the group decide they must bed down under the stars rather than pushing on to their first Checkpoint. A furious Sharkesy is aghast that the group are willing to stop so early and questions what these ‘monkeys’ are even here for! As the group wake the next morning, their continued lack of urgency sees them take time to share stories about themselves and they’re moved by Phil’s tale of surviving the Bali bombing attack, while after failing to recognise Simmone MacKinnon, they’re excited to learn she used to star in McCloud’s Daughters. But the Mountain’s Keeper has other ideas and knows this pace will not get them to the top, so she pounces on their morning camp and drops a mystery duffle bag. Lachie sprints for the bag before bringing it back to the group, where they learn they have a second chance to regain their missing 250-million-dollars, but they must sacrifice a fellow hiker and the cash they’re carrying. Mat Rogers quickly throws up Ros and David’s names for their struggles, before Sharkesy’s name is also added to the mix for expressing his frustrations yesterday and suggesting he would rather not be here if no one is putting the effort in. After all three make a plea to spare them, the group must decide whether they value fitness or a kind personality more… Ros’ rambunctious and jolly nature saves her this time, while Sharkesy’s complaints earn him 2 votes, and the group decide that David’s injury and lack of fitness is too much of a risk, so he is the first to go home.

As the remaining 13 hikers push-on towards the first checkpoint the rain sets-in and Sharkesy knows the hiking will only get harder and the conditions harsher, so hungrily eyes-off Ros as the next target while trying to shed the focus from himself by acting more helpful and patient than yesterday. As the group arrive at their first Checkpoint they’re jubilant for the shelter from the rain and a satisfying feed, but tension builds as they know they need to vote another hiker off… Sharkesy’s efforts to be nicer have been noted and Ros is fearful about where that leaves her. However, Jai appears in camp with an announcement – no one will be voted off, but the group still need to place a vote! Relieved but confused and concerned about what else they may be facing, the group learn that they must vote for one person to carry the 250-thousand-dollars they regained all the way to the top of the mountain… if they get it there they can choose to keep it for themselves or share the money, but along the way they can still quit or get voted off at checkpoints and the money stolen. While some of the group are wowed by the opportunity for a shield (as carrying the money would mean you’re safe from getting cut on obstacles), seasoned Australian Survivor competitor Mat Rogers is convinced it’s the poisoned challace and would put a huge target on your back, but keeps his concerns to himself. When Lachie and Phil both volunteer to carry the money, Bali bombings survivor Phil is chosen and vows he will share it if he reaches the top! As the group continue to enjoy their food and shelter, Mat warns that Phil will need to play one heck of a social game from now-on if he has any hope of getting to The Summit.


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