Canadian mountaineer John Lauchlan can't resist after his mates have gone home during another preparation for their dream-expedition to Mount Everest, to try a new Rockies route and falls to his death. At his funeral, the mates agree to continue and dedicate their expedition to his memory. One rogue breaks away in protest at the sensible move to find corporate sponsors, even if that means concessions, including an experienced climber being added. Once in Nepal, the rogue is expelled after reports he's wanted a drug suspect, they others soldier on, bravely suffering ...
The expedition proudly sets up base camp with live TV coverage, a first-ever. Bringing equipment up to camp one seems to go well, they even rescue a scattered New Zealdn expedition's survivor, until one group sets out without checking the grim weather forecast and is caught by an avalanche. Neophyte Pasang and two other Sherpas are killed, but the others agree to continue, despite grim feelings of guilt and blame.
A new blessing by another Buddhist priest overcomes the Sherpas' initial refusal to go on. Soon after, an ice cave-in costs the life of an official team member, Blair Griffiths. Now the mood comes dangerously close to retuning, but Roger survives a leadership challenge vote by rogue Roger. Laurie breaks a few ribs in another incident, but decides after a visit from the wives to rejoin the climb anyhow.
The skeleton team goes on with a few loyal Sherpas. Laurie goes on despite broken ribs, having learns from Sundare how a valiant rescue cost his toes without saving the client's life. Despite more horrible weather, they even establish a record for their southern route. Even then, the press gets contradictory quotes, but the first-ever Canadian Everest-success stands.