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  Everest 2006: British West Ridge Expedition: ARMY’S TEAM TAKES FIRST STEPS ON EVEREST


Jude Humphries

The Army on Everest expedition Main Team have now placed their first footsteps on the mountain itself.  Stepping onto the ice at the bottom of the French Spur, climber Paul Chiddle took the team onto the next stage of their climb.  From here they aim to place the first ever British climber on top of Everest via the perilous West Ridge.   It is one of the Army’s toughest ever physical exercises and tests the training, organisational skills and endurance that the British Army is famed for.

The journey to the French Spur has taken the teams from Kathmandu, to Road Head Base Camp and then onto the expedition’s base camp at Tilman’s Camp. From here their journey here has taken them across ice fields and glaciers and has seen them transport fuel, food and other goods to establish camps 1 and 2.   The challenge now is to beat the weather and establish camp three at 7,300m.

There are three teams making up the expedition, all tackling separate peaks. The Junior Team of 16-17 year olds has arrived at Base Camp at Island Peak (6250m).  The Development Team of intermediate climbers are on their way to conquer their own mountain, the impressive 7045m Lhakpa Ri peak. The final team, the Main Team, are well on their way up Mount Everest via the West Ridge.  

As the climb develops, the teams will establish five camps progressively higher up the mountain before attempting their final bid to reach the summit sometime 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.  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.

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

 

 

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