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HGTV’s ‘Battle on the Mountain’ Fraught With Medical Emergencies

4 min read
HGTV’s ‘Battle on the Mountain’ Fraught With Medical Emergencies
Taniya Nayak, Ty Pennington and Alison Victoria


HGTV’s Taniya Nayak, Ty Pennington and Alison Victoria

When HGTV fans tuned in for the network’s new star-studded competition series, “Battle on the Mountain,” on January 22, 2024, one famous face was missing from the show.

Home improvement guru Ty Pennington was noticeably absent from the series kick-off when his “Battle on the Beach” co-stars Alison Victoria and Taniya Nayak welcomed three teams of contestants vying for a $50,000 prize. Though they laughed off Pennington’s absence with little explanation, the truth was that Pennington had been airlifted to a Denver ICU due to a life-threatening abscess in his throat.

Though Pennington recovered and returned to the set weeks later, his medical crisis was one of multiple challenges the “Battle on the Mountain” cast encountered during filming.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ty Pennington Underwent Emergency Surgery While Filming Began on ‘Battle on the Mountain’

Much like with “Battle on the Beach” — in which Pennington, Victoria and Nayak each mentor a different team — the three couples competing on “Battle on the Mountain” are tasked with renovating a vacation home with a six-week deadline and $100,000 budget.

On the premiere, Victoria and Nayak welcomed the teams to the Colorado mountain site, located outside the ski town of Breckenridge, before their HGTV mentors — “Rico to the Rescue” star Rico León, “Design Star” season 2 winner Kim Myles and Kim Wolfe of “Why the Heck Did I buy this House?”

“Welcome to the mountain,” Victoria said to the contestants before their mentors arrived. “You guys are probably used to seeing us at the beach, but we’re here to bring on a brand new battle.”

She then referenced Pennington, who won the third season of “Battle on the Beach,” which aired the same week they began filming the new show.

“Our other partner in crime, Ty Pennington, is still on his ‘Battle on the Beach’ victory tour,” she laughed as the cameras panned to the contestants, all giggling.

Pennington had, in fact, traveled to Breckenridge to film the show, right after appearing at the July 9 Hollywood premiere of the “Barbie” movie. On July 11, he later shared on Instagram, he woke up at 4 a.m. barely able to breathe.

He wrote, “Turns out, that sore throat Ive had for the last month was actually an abscess which had grown so large it was closing off my airway,” he wrote. “Next thing I know, I was intubated and flown to the ICU in Denver.”

Pennington underwent surgery at Denver’s St. Anthony’s Hospital, was eventually released from the hospital and thanked the medical staff who saved his life and took care of him during the week. Fans and friends flooded his post with well-wishes and relief, including Nayak.

“We love you,” she wrote. “So happy you are ok! Missed you in Breck but we are so happy you got the care you needed just in time.”

Pennington posted from picturesque Breckenridge on July 24 and wrote, “Not a bad place to recover! 🙏🏼🏔️ Thank you by the way, for all the kind and thoughtful messages. Very grateful for all the love! Finally starting to feel better… almost back to my annoying self 😆🙏🏼❤️”

On August 21, he posted a photo of himself reunited with Nayak and Victoria in the mountains and wrote, “Been workin on a lil somethin… 🤫”

Kim Myles Reveals Other Challenges on ‘Battle on the Mountain’ Included Altitude Sickness for Many

Pennington’s medical crisis was not the only challenge the stars and contestants faced during filming of “Battle on the Mountain.” For one thing, the location was at such a high altitude — at least 10,000 feet above sea level, Nayak told contestants — that previews of the show show multiple people required oxygen.

Myles, who also co-starred in HGTV’s “Battle of the Bling” in 2022, told Denver-based Westword, “There’s no oxygen where you are, so let’s talk about that! It’s hard to breathe until you have acclimated, and that is a real impediment to physical labor and sometimes even just talking. That was a huge challenge and very unexpected, because even though you’re told, there’s no way to prepare for it.”

Myles also told TV Insider that she hadn’t truly understood what altitude sickness is until she arrived for the show.

“The first day I got there you are to acclimate,” she said. “But to truly do that, it takes a week or two to acclimate properly. Even taking three steps, you feel like you’ve gone up three flights. It’s already hard enough to have the teams pull off what they have to pull off.”

On top of the thin air, some people had thin skin, Myles told the outlet.

“There are some very interesting personalities,” she said diplomatically. “Very interesting, some might say challenging personalities. So that in itself is a twist. You normally don’t see that on HGTV.”

Exacerbating the “moods and exhaustion,” she said, additional challenges included getting materials up the mountain, bears “walking on the set,” and weather shifts to contend with.

Liv Lane is an entertainment writer who covers the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, American Idol and The Voice for Heavy. She has three decades of experience as a local and national radio host, brand publicist and creative consultant, interviewing and working with a wide range of dignitaries and celebrities, from Deepak Chopra to Lil Nas X. Liv is also an accomplished watercolor artist whose intuitive art is sold across the U.S. and Canada. Liv attended the University of Minnesota and is based in Minneapolis. More about Liv Lane

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