After the outstanding success of the North Pole expedition, Walking With The Wounded has setÂ its sights evenÂ higher for 2012 â€“ to successfully summit Mount Everest and put a team of wounded servicemen on top of the world.
The expedition will consist of two parts, but each will be challenging in its own way.Â The first is the 7-day trek from Namche Bazaar in Eastern Nepal to Base Camp at 5380m â€“ when up to 8 severely injured service personnel will overcome terrain that is a feat for even the fittest of trekkers.Â Then part of the expedition will continue on – for the assault on the summit.
Climbing Everest is one of the toughest challenges in adventure exploration: narrow ridges with 3km falls; altitude sickness and immense fatigue; unpredictable weather and sudden storms; precipitous climbing over ice-covered rocks; deep crevasses covered with treacherous snow bridges.Â It took 30 years of attempts to conquer the mountain, and over 200 people have failed to return from its jagged slopes. As with all of our expeditions, the safety of the team is of paramount importance and remains integral to the expedition planning and execution.
With these obstacles to success, it is clear why any attempt on Everest is a phenomenal undertaking.Â But Walking With The Wounded will be doing it with 4 wounded servicemen.Â The challenge of ice-climbing and negotiating crevasses will be all the more insurmountable, as will the immense difficulty of daily tent-life: the drying of clothes, cooking of food and prevention of frostbite that is essential to keeping the body capable of this monumental task. It is an undertaking of immense scale for able bodied individuals, let alone those wounded servicemen with severe injury.
A team of determined, hardy and tenacious soldiers has been selected through interview, trials in the Brecon Beacons and technical climbing assessments around Mont Blanc.Â Their training continues with further work in the Alps and Himalayas, then months of conditioning in the British mountains before the departure for Nepal in May 2012, and an expedition every bit as ground-breaking as those first ascents of 50 years ago.