To climb everest one needs 3 aspects:
2.sufficient will power
3. Adequate support / luck
In our case we had the first two covered but sadly when it mattered most on summit day for factors outside our own control we lacked on the third.
From the start we talked about doing Everest in a ‘bare bones’ way: that was as hard as was still possible for us (relatively novice climbers)- professionally led but non guided. There is the availability on this mountain to climb it on a scale from fully solo, unsupported without oxygen, which is up there with the most unbelieable endeavours any human could ever achieve. Right the way through to fully pampered- someone holding your hand the whole way, administering for you, including carrying your weight, kit and excessive amounts of oxygen. On top of this you have the choice of routes:
The East and West ridge are almost imposible for all but the worlds best and most experienced climbers which is why only a handful of people have succeed on them. The North and even more so the South side as it is slightly less technical are renowned as the ‘commercial’ routes where people like Keith and I can pay a firm on varying scales as outlined above to put the logistics in to support you to the top.
Of course the vast majority of people on these sides pick somewhere in the middle of this scale having the integrity to train hard before hand, carry your own kit and administer yourself higher up on the mountain. However, when a ‘climbed Everest’ is reported no one outside yourself or perhaps those around you truely know how much resource you recieved, what level of support, which route and thus where on that scale you stood in achieving the quest.
Which begs the question of why do people challenge themselves to climb mountains like this?
If it is to summit, then clearly in a black or White way, ours wasn’t succesful. There is no getting away from this outcome and regardless of reasons both Keith and I will always wish we had. However, if it is to challenge yourselves, to push the boundaries of what you are physically and mentally capable of, if it is to take something on you know you’re not good at, face failure and to come away with your pride intact. If it is to know the seductive temptation of unconciousness encrouching upon you but know that your own death is it’s hidden but inevitable outcome. If it was to scratch the itch before real life kicks in and in that fulfil the challenge so that you crave normality and never need to do something like this again…… Then yes it was indeed succesful.
In light of the above, I’m sure that some find this challenge easier than others but for us and the way we did it, it was indeed the ultimate test of resolve, fortitude and patience. To that end Id like to thank my family for giving me the character to achieve what we did, Britains injured troops the motivation to do so, our sponsors for allowing us the chance, the climbing team for the friendships made and lastly to my good friend Keith Reesby for the camaraderie and memories shared.