The 2015 Gurkha expedition to climb Mount Everest has been launched at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
The expedition is one of the first major Gurkha 200 celebratory events, and the launch event consequently was filled with big names from the Brigade’s past and present including former CGS, General Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE, Brigadier Ian Rigden and Colonel BG, Colonel James Robinson.
However, although several Gurkhas reached above 27,000ft on the 1922 expedition led by Brigadier Charles Bruce, and a further three were part of the successful Army Mountaineering Association expedition to Everest in 1976, a serving Gurkha soldier has never achieved the summit of Everest.
The team of Gurkhas is planning to change that by summiting Everest in May and thereby draw attention to the fact that Gurkhas have played a significant role in Himalayan exploration over the past 140 years.
The expedition has already garnered a lot of support from both within the Brigade, the wider Army and elsewhere with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales having agreed to be a Patron alongside General Sir Peter Wall and famous mountaineer and explorer Kenton Cool.
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.
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The round trip climb to the summit from the South Col can take between nine and 18 hours.
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You can follow their training and progress on the team’s website www.g200e.com .