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  Everest 2006: British West Ridge Expedition: EVEREST HOPEFULS SET OFF TO MAKE HISTORY


Jude Humphries

The Army team hoping to be the first Brits to summit Everest via the perilous West Ridge today set off from London Heathrow.  The team, made up of 21 highly experienced mountaineers hopes to create British history when they plant their flag on the summit some 29,028ft above sea level. 

The team leave today and will fly to Kathmandu from where they will move through Tibet to a base camp on the Rombuk Glacier.  They will then establish five camps progressively higher up the mountain before attempting their final bid to reach the summit some time in May.  The attempt is timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first Army Mountaineering Association’s summit of Everest and will test Army planning, preparation, training and team skills to the limit.  Conceived by Expedition Leader Warrant Officer Class 2 Dave Bunting in 2003, it is one of the greatest remaining mountaineering tests, exposing the climbers to some of the most challenging technical climbing and inhospitable conditions with temperatures of up to -50˚C.

The expedition is unique in that three separate teams will climb three separate peaks in and around Mount Everest.  As one of the Army’s most extreme adventurous training activities, the expedition will test and improve physical endurance, mental strength, logistical skills, team building and performance under pressure.

The Main Team, leading the record breaking attempt, is comprised of highly experienced cold climate, high altitude mountaineers.  After arriving in Tibet on 22 March they will attempt to reach the summit over a period of up to six weeks. Timed to avoid the summer monsoon rains, the team aim to summit in May 2006. 

Named after a British military engineer, Mount Everest is one of the greatest remaining challenges for human endurance.  Since Sir Edmund Hillary reached its peak in 1953 over 2,000 climbers have successfully followed in his footsteps. Only 19 of these did so via the West Ridge and no Britons have ever made it to the summit via this route.   

“We want to make British history” says Warrant Officer Class 2 Dave Bunting, a veteran of nine Himalayan expeditions with over 20 years experience in the Army.  “To make it would be absolutely overwhelming and to share it with this team would be amazing.” 

“What’s incredible is that I get to do something like this within my job.  The Army is one place where the skills learned on a mountain have direct application to your daily life.  Similarly the skills we learn from our work in the Army will help us deal with the challenge of Everest, building vital endurance and physical fitness, as well as discipline, morale and problem solving.  It’s also a testament to the power of teamwork.  There may be only a few to reach the summit, but the success will be due to all the team and the people who have supported them.”

The Main Team will be accompanied to Kathmandu and their base camp by the Development Team, a group of intermediate level mountaineers who will climb the nearby 7,045m Lhakpa Ri peak.  As part of their ongoing dedication to personal development the Army is also taking a third team, a group of new recruits who will climb their very own Everest in the form of the 6,250m Island Peak.   The Junior Team consists of male and female soldiers aged 16 – 17 years old who only joined the Army Foundation College at Harrogate in September 2005.  

Planning for the attempt began in 2003 and training has been ongoing since then. To ensure success and safety the team have undergone extensive physical and psychological testing as well as mountain training, ice climbing, first aid, nutrition and education about the environmental and cultural impact of the climb.

Everest 2006: The British Army West Ridge Expedition Dispatches

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






 

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