Breaking news from Martin Hewitt

  • Martin Hewitt | May 8, 2012

    It is with great disappointment and respect for our expedition lead guide that I write the following blog.

    Since our return from climbing to the base of the Lhotse wall on Everest there have been a number of meetings with guides, lead sherpa, expedition managers and the ice field doctors. Whilst I’ve maintained a fairly accurate blog over the past 6 weeks there are elements of information and events that I have left out in order to minimize the concern to our team’s families.

    The Khumbu icefall has been at it’s most dangerous for over a decade. To expand a little;
    The Icefall is in the most dangerous state seen in many years, primarily due to lack of precipitation.  “The two main issues are the fragile state of the ice in the centre of the glacier presenting risk of significant collapse and serac fall from the West Shoulder of Everest onto the route.  The former risk forces the route onto the north side of the glacier and therefore under the West Shoulder.  This route has become a gauntlet running exercise – we had two serac collapses onto
    the route within a three minute period during our acclimatisation ascent to camp two last week” Avalanches in this area are not uncommon during the warmest hours of the day when temperature change causes expansion or contraction of the ice resulting in avalanche. We’ve witnessed avalanches at all hours including many at nightfall. Despite attempts to minimize the risk to climbers we’ve had narrow escapes from direct hits as we’ve passed through.

    Since the beginning of the climbing season the core temperature has been significantly higher than it should be for this time of year. With an unseasonably warm core temperature comes a significantly greater risk of avalanche, which we have witnessed to one degree or another most days at some point along the route to camp 2. As the season progresses it will continue to get warmer and the ice field will become more unpredictable and put climbers and sherpas lives at greater risk.

    Beyond the ice field is the Lhotse face and the yellow band. This season’s lack of snow has resulted in the glacier forcing loose rocks out and they are constantly falling down this 50° slope onto the path of mountaineers and Sherpa climbing the face. Thus far there have been double figure casualties on this part of the route alone.

    In order for our team to commit to our summit attempt we have to climb just once more. However, our Sherpa would need to ascend these two areas no less than 8 more times. On analyzing the risk to their lives, a decision was taken by the expedition leader to cancel our summit attempt. Everyone on our team is used to accepting high levels of risk through military service and partaking in pioneering expeditions. There comes a point when one has to swallow a little pride and deal with a short term set back in order to prevent what one feels would be certain serious injury and potential loss of life. I believe that this is the situation I find myself in today and as team manager have given my full support to Russell as the expedition leader in his decision. He is the most experienced man on this mountain and has made a difficult, selfless decision that I’m confident will save lives. Whilst other smaller teams may go on and some may summit this year, our team is large and has a significant logistical tail thus requiring many trips through the dangerous areas of this mountain and greater risk.

    I write this blog gutted that we have not completed the task we were set 10 months ago but proud to be the manager of such a determined, courageous group of men that have pushed the boundaries of endurance overcoming injury and adversity. The mountain is still there and we are still young! To all our partners, supports, families and friends I‘d like to say thank you for your support. We’ll be home soon and we will continue to provide more examples of overcoming injury in extreme environments. Support the walk.

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28 Responses to Breaking news from Martin Hewitt

  • Andre says:

    Sorry to hear, but a wise and responsible choice indeed

  • andy says:

    Chin up MEN you have walked and tryed were many have FAILED, WELL DONE see you all soon. Andy x

  • To you all.

    It is small comfort for any of you to understand how proud we all are of your very great achievement. You have reached a place that few of us would dare to imagine both physically and with your minds and your hearts. You are all quite simply the bravest of the brave. When you return home, think not of what you have not achieved, and think of what you have done. Hold your heads up high for you are all great men. To me, seeing what you have done, is not about a footprint on a particular grid reference, it is about the great and numerous things you have achieved from the moment you embarked on this journey many months ago. Bless you all, Nicholas Harrison – Founder Soldier On!

  • Garry King says:

    Sorry to her about this guys but in the scheme of things this is only a setback and you can and should be extremely proud of what you have achieved thus far. I take my hat off to you all. I’m an ex squaddie myself and more than appreciate the sacrifices you and your families have made. This is literally a case of live to fight another day ( which you have all done for real ) It’s people like yourselves that put the Great into Britain. Well done.

  • Ross Whelan says:

    What a sterling effort! Try not to be too dishearted by the set-back as getting this far in itself is such an amazing accomplishment.
    Best regards and a safe trip!


  • Anne Richards says:

    I am devastated for you – I can’t begin to imagine how you must all be feeling. Just know that there are many, many supporters around the world who are enormously proud of you and your project, and who admire you hugely for the determination and dedication you have shown.

  • […] manager Martin Hewitt said he was “gutted”, but to carry on would risk “certain serious injury and potential loss of […]

  • […] manager Martin Hewitt said he was “gutted”, though to lift on would risk “certain critical damage and intensity detriment of […]

  • Darren hunt says:

    Gutted for u lads. But she ain’t goin nowhere. Come bk next yr and see if she is more generous.
    Typical woman being temperamental.
    Glad ur all safe. 2013 support the walk

  • […] manager Martin Hewitt said he was “gutted”, but to carry on would risk “certain serious injury and potential loss of […]

  • […] manager Martin Hewitt said he was “gutted”, but to carry on would risk “certain serious injury and potential loss of […]

  • Ali irvine says:

    To do anything other than what you have done would be totally unnecessarily reckless and nobody would respect that. i am sure you are all devastated but you have done, in so many ways, what you set out to achieve- awareness for the plight of wounded service personal so be proud of that and cherish the memories. I say “Very Well done”… and safe home to your families.

  • Melanie Perry says:

    I know you area all devastated not to be able to complete the climb, but you made the right decision. You have all done brilliantly and everyone is hugely proud of you all – there will be other challenges.
    Take care all,

  • Dr Eoin Mac Cann says:

    Well done lads. Your decision accentuates your determination and loyalty. Your achievements are truly great. Be proud. Come home safe. We’re very proud

    Well done!

  • Graham Cook says:

    Tough call guys but the right one. You have a pocket full of personal first already and the mountain will not go away, so who knows what next. Enjoy the whisky nosing, or was it gulping? Regards from all at HQ ATG(A)

  • Carole Bolton says:

    I cannot imagine how gutted you must feel but it takes another kind of courage to acknowledge the level of risk and to support the decision not to attempt the summit when a big part of you, as you say, accepts a high level of risk. You have our utmost admiration in all you have achieved and will undoubtedly go on to achieve. Well done to you all and safe journey home

  • So proud of all of you, you are just so inspirational and the fact that you are carefully considering the risk to others in all this just shows what great men you all are.
    You do far in excess of what I am able bodied person would ever consider doing. You have my deepest respect.

  • […] manager Martin Hewitt said he was “gutted”, but to carry on would risk “certain serious injury and potential loss of […]

  • […] manager Martin Hewitt said he was “gutted”, though to lift on would risk “certain critical damage and intensity detriment of […]

  • Eileen O'Connor says:

    So sorry to hear of your news, and obviously we cannot imagine the disappointment you feel. However, you have all achieved so much by getting this far and should feel really proud. All of your supporters are proud of you. I had the honour of meeting some of you in Cumbria and was incredibly moved by your focus and dedication regarding this expedition. As someone else has mentioned, try to focus on what you have achieved and not on what you have not. Wishing you all a safe journey home.

  • Troll (Sally's Mum!) says:

    Just so glad you are all safe = Wisdom is a WONDERFUL thing and we have all been thinking of you = Love Troll (Sally’s mum) X xx

  • […] *******Walking with the Wounded (Himex) Announces the End of Their Summit Bid – 8.5.2012******… […]

  • Gareth Soens-Hughes says:

    Doesnt make any difference to us lot back home whether you made it or not, still a damn brave thing to attempt. Well done fellas & look forward to seeing you home safe xx

  • Jocky says:

    Dibber, Wise and team. I am gutted for you but it was the right decision in those conditions. The mountain will be there next year – and so will you hopefully. Keep up the work inspiring the country. And slangevar!

  • Dick Gale says:

    Well done Guys, you were going very strong when we saw you on Lobuche East and I have little doubt that you would have been successful should the conditions have allowed it. It is a strong leader who can call a halt to such an expedition and the temptation to just give it another go is huge but it is the right shout.
    Hope to see you in Tom and Jerry’s for a beer when you get back to Kathmandu.

  • Neil Winship says:

    Bravo for more brave decisions! Our 1975 British & Nepales Joint Army expedition to Nuptse lost four brave climers due to time & weather; May Gerry, Richard, David & Pasang contine to RIP. Not that we should have aborted earlier but, besides your team’s physical bravery in even atempting, you have now shown the moral courage to turn away this year. Well Done Indeed.

  • Greg Paul says:

    I was a “civilian” climber from USA that had the privilege to climb along side the Wounded Warriors on Everest. They are an inspiring group of men and it was an honor to climb with them. Great Britain should be proud. They will be back and Everest doesn’t stand a chance against them!