A couple of posts ago, I mentioned a real tv show called “Trepadores”, produced by the Chilean broadcast company Mega. The final aim of that program was to reach the top of the Aconcagua, the tallest mountain of the American continent. They had 4 months to get prepared and trained to face the challenge.
Less than 2 months after the start and because of low ratings, the show is cancelled. Actually not the show, but the aim of reaching America’s top. No audience, despite all scandals, semi-naked showers, alcoholized parties and some little sex action. Of course in between you had the usual two teams fights, eliminations, nominations, and believe it or not, some true mountaineering training, provided by the most important figures of the Chilean mountaineering.
I thought, by the time I wrote my earlier note, that I would watch one episode, maybe two and then give up…and I was wrong. like my dad told me : ” indeed they’re taking the show off the air because of low audience, actually only one guy in Switzerland seemed to be watching it”…
For me watching such was a bet ; the one you might be making when totally drunk at 4am, that makes you finish with bruises, half-naked with the bunny ears. I was curious on how a real tv show would be able to turn semi-forgotten B lists local stars (and some average joe) into experienced trekkers / hikers / mountaineers within a tight 4 months. Climbing the Aconcagua via the normal road doesn’t require any true 50 years mountaineering experience. It is more on how fit you are and how you react on the high altitude and low oxygen. This means 4 months of training , good weather and no health issue could make you achieve such challenge. And if on top you ll be guided by the most experienced people ever, well all odds seem to be on your side.
I was born in Chile but spent most of my life abroad, in Europe. Instead of the life at sea level I lived and still do between 550m for now and 850m for my childhood times. Against all expectations I grew up surrounded by mountains, just like people do in Santiago, with the difference that here you do something out of it. A mind-set ? a tradition ? well a mix of all. Watching the show has been an interesting sociological study of some south american specimen of contemporary fame addicted characters. Big mouths, shouty people, humongous egos, laziness, lack of commitment, back stabbers ; in other words, nothing that makes you the ideal candidate for the initial challenge of the climb. The production had to invite some handicapped people to show them what a sport commitment means….sad, very sad, as such specimen seem to have a faster rate of reproduction worldwide…
I think I had hope for something more ; I expected the show to collapse, but not for a rating reason. No I wanted to see some of those guinea pigs to be truly motivated by this amazing opportunity that was given to them. That some would truly commit themself and give a twist to the show : serious learners that could damage this big manipulation game and prove you that Big Brother can’t offer a tangible challenge.
At the end it is what happened, not by virtue but by trash related events. In the last episode I watched, the participants have been asked to keep their commitment untouched for the next 10 days, as the show is over and no one will ever see how it feels to be around 7000m.
Their new target is a big amount of money instead. For most of them their eyes started to finally shine when hearing that….
A good trade….
Seems like gold fever moves people far more than any self accomplishment dream….
this being said if some more about gold digging and instantaneous fame ….check those movies :
– The Ring Bling, by Sofia Coppola
– Spring Breakers, by Harmony Korine
– Reality, by Matteo Garrone
Not all the same quality, I would even say that some of them are as empty and poor as the metaphysics of the characters…but well…make a mix of all three and it becomes quite interesting 😉