On Monday 15th May 2017 members of the Gurkha Everest Expedition reached the top of Everest, becoming the first to scale the world’s tallest peak this year. The 14 summiteers included three Gurkha soldiers. “They made it to the summit at 1:15 pm,” said Gyanendra Shrestha, a Tourism Ministry official. This is the first time that serving Gurkha soldiers have reached the summit.
Then on Tuesday morning ten more of the Gurkha Everest team made it to the top of the world. This is a fantastic achievement for the Brigade and the British Army.
Mountaineering officials had said; “As the weather forecast stated high winds, it was not certain when Everest aspirants would make their summit bids. On the 10th May, the so-called Icefall Doctors, a dedicated team of local climbers who prepare the route up Everest by fixing ropes, had attempted to reach the top, however, they were forced to return due to high winds and heavy snowfall above what is called the ‘balcony’ (8,400 metres). The high-altitude Nepali mountain workers had then decided to make their summit bids after 17th May
However, the Gurkha Everest Expedition did not wait. “The Gurkha team assessed the weather themselves. They decided to mount the summit bid considering the weather window, a period of time when weather conditions can be expected to be suitable for them to climb,” said Shiva Raj Thapa, managing director of Summit Nepal Trekking that is handling the Gurkha Everest Expedition.
Deputy expedition leader Major Andrew Todd MBE said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Brigade of Gurkhas, after our attempt in 2015 was called off due to the avalanches from the earthquake and our team then turned to assist the humanitarian aid that was required in the area. We are ecstatic about this success. It is another example of how the British Army strives to achieve excellence. We are delighted to have worked with the Sherpa to fix the ropes to the summit and to be the first team to summit this year — a great collaboration between Nepalis, working together to get the job done. We now hope for a safe descent to Base Camp over the next 24 hours or so.”
The team will now make their way down the mountain to the relative safety of Basecamp, regroup and prepare to return to Kathmandu and home to the UK.
We will update our dedicated page for the Gurkha Everest team as the full story unfolds.