On the afternoon of May 12, 1989, six Polish climbers were on their way down from the summit of Mt Everest when they were struck by a massive avalanche. Four died within hours; a fifth did not survive the night. One injured climber was left stranded on the mountain. New Zealand Geographic-sponsored climbers Gary Ball and Rob Hall were about to leave Kathmandu after their own attempt on the summit when they heard the news and offered to help. What followed was a remarkableand heroic rescue bid.