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Gurkha Everest Expedition 2017

A team of serving soldiers and officers from across the Brigade of Gurkhas are attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest. If successful, it will be the first time that a serving Gurkha has reached the summit.

Update

British Army Gurkhas have, this morning, reached the summit of Mount Everest (15th May 2017).

 

Progress

The Gurkha expedition is currently at Camp 2 as of 27th April. Sitting at 6,400 metres, Camp 2 is a challenge to reach, but the next step will be Camp 3, at a height of 7,162 metres. But even Base Camp sits at 5,334 metres.

After spending the night at Camp 2, the team will make their way up the formidable Lhotse Face to Camp 3 before returning to Base Camp as part of the acclimatisation process.

"The Lhotse Face looks dramatic," said Major Todd. "Camp 3 appears to be perched on the side of the ice. We will climb the Lhotse Face tomorrow, touch Camp 3 then return." 

After acclimatising following the successful completion of reaching Camp 3 at 7,200 metres, the team then made their descent ahead of the summit attempt. But on the 30th April 2017 the team discovered and aided in the recovery of the body of legendary Swiss climber, Ueli Steck.

 

Previous attempts

In 2015, the Brigade of Gurkhas selected a team of 16 serving Gurkha soldiers who would attempt to summit Everest in celebration of 200 years’ service to The Crown.

On 25 April 2015, as the Everest team made their first acclimatisation rotation on the mountain, a catastrophic earthquake hit Nepal, bringing chaos and destruction to the Gurkhas’ homeland.

Large parts of the country were destroyed, devastating the lives of the Nepali people. On Everest, a huge avalanche swept through Base Camp, flattening everything in its path.

We did what we could to assist the clear-up operation in Base Camp before trekking out on foot back to Lukla and awaiting a flight to Kathmandu. Our Gurkha climbing team all had immediate family spread across Nepal. Many of the team had specialist engineering skills and remained in Nepal for several months to assist the Gurkha Welfare Trust with the earthquake relief effort.

The Nepal Ministry of Tourism decided that all permits issued to climb Everest in 2015 would remain valid for two years, so at the beginning of April 2017, the team will begin its second expedition to Everest. No serving Gurkha soldier has ever summited Everest. Hopefully, the Gurkha Everest Expedition 2017 team can change this.

The Everest attempt in 2015
                                             The Everest attempt by the Gurkhas in 2015

 

Expedition YouTube playlist

 

Expedition route

The team will attempt to climb Everest via the South Col route from Nepal. From Basecamp (5,334m/17,500ft), the route weaves up through the treacherous Khumbu Ice Fall to the Western Cwm before heading up the steep ice wall of the Lhotse Face, across the Yellow Band and the Geneva Spur to the South Col, the sharp-edged notch between Everest and Lhotse.

The South Col is typically ravaged by high winds, leaving it free of significant snow accumulation, and is the site of Camp IV from which the team will make their final bid for the summit (8,850m/29,035ft) via the Balcony, South Summit and famous Hillary Step. The round trip climb to the summit from the South Col can take between nine and 18 hours.

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