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  Everest 2006: British West Ridge Expedition: WEST RIDGE SUMMIT TEAM SELECTED AS ARMY CLIMBERS TAKE ONE STEP CLOSER TO CONQUERING EVEREST


Photo Source: Laurie Skreslet

“One last massive effort” is all that remains between the Army Everest West Ridge Team and place in history as the team who set to make the final push to become the first ever Brits to summit via the notorious ridge was announced today.

Speaking as one of the nine team members who this morning were selected as the personnel set to write Britain into the record books, Expedition Leader  Warrant Officer Class Two Dave Bunting expressed that the selection process was “difficult” but one that would “would give the highest chance of success, whilst ensuring the highest level of safety”.

The summit team is to attempt to reach the peak in one push. “Seven days of hard graft” according to experienced climber Bunting who was upbeat after making the crucial selection, the decision, which was accelerated by news of good weather:

“The aim is to put 200% into this next weather window, there’s a great chance coming and we’re going to put absolutely everything into it”

In a significant milestone for British climbing, the mountaineers are now splitting into teams to support each other from Tilman’s Camp up to the notorious Hornbein Couloir, each team paving the way and securing the route for the next in order to ensure the five selected team members have the best possible chance of standing on the world’s highest peak and making British history.

Preparation and meticulous planning has been key to the encounter with the West Ridge and the summit team selection process has created a wave of emotion and willpower amongst the Army climbers who are almost at the point of conquering the mountain and beating the infamous West Ridge.

The selected team members are:
·        Warrant Officer Class 2 Dave Bunting, Expedition Leader
·        Warrant Officer Class 2 Dick Gale
·        Warrant Officer Class 2 Shaun Phillips
·        Sergeant Ian Venables
·        Sergeant Paul “Brush” McComb


This is one of the Army’s toughest ever physical challenges and tests the training, organisational skills and endurance that the British Army is famed for.

The journey to the West Ridge has taken the teams from Kathmandu, to Roadhead Base Camp and then onto the expedition’s base 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, 2  3, 4 and 5.  

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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