The cruel and twisted end to Everest 2014.

Home/The cruel and twisted end to Everest 2014.

It’s with bitter disbelief and immense disappointment to confirm my Everest 2014 expedition is over. I am utterly gutted- I cannot pretend otherwise.  Sadly this is entirely due to civil strife and politics- circumstances fully beyond our control. Our expedition leaders fought very hard and decided we would persevere until the very end unlike most of the other teams, in the hope this very frustrating and difficult situation would be resolved. Sadly as other teams pulled out the strength in numbers disappeared and the pointless politics got no further. This morning Henry Todd, our base camp manager told us we too had no option but to head down. I will nnever forget those gut wrenching words. Our Sherpas wanted to work for us, it emerged that protagonists had used the tragic loss of Sherpas to take advantage of a fragile situation and start making threats, crippling any movement up the mountain from base camp. Whilst the conditions were good and the Khumbu Icefall was indeed as safe as ever for us to continue through (despite other teams lying and using this as an excuse for their departure) it would simply be totally unsafe to progress the expedition without the Sherpa support. We cannot do it without them nor endanger their lives unnecessarily. But the real tragedy is now the Sherpas have lost out on a significant amount of salary this season and that next year the Nepalese side of Everest is going to suffer and make huge losses. The average Joes and armchair keyboard warriors like to suggest we are pressuring and mistreating our sherpas- forcing them to work in a dangerous environment. Many don’t realise that these incredible people are extremely loyal and proud of what they do- they are far wealthier than most people in Nepal but we now have a situation where the feeding hand is being bitten. If the Sherpas didn’t want to work out solely due to their loss comrades we would understand but this is simply not the case. Time has simply run out so now we are on our way back to Kathmandu;without even stepping foot on the beautiful mountain that we have gazed at for weeks. We have full respect for the lost Sherpas but sadly the protoganists have completely taken advantage of this. Everyone has lost out. Why? Our leaders cannot work it out.                                                                                                      I feel physically sick. Our acclimatisation trek and our team was simply fantastic- I was making great friends and with a strong set up at base camp I knew all was going very well. The seeming wastage of  sacrifices, suffering and sheer dedication required- the countless hours of hard training, 15 months of persistence with fundraising, doubts and overcoming setbacks- make this extremely painful. But what’s even harder for me to deal with is letting down my sponsors and supporters whom have invested so much funding, faith and belief in me every step of the way to this short-lived dream. Getting my sponsors banner and a photo of my dogs and grandad on top of the world was the reward I wanted so badly and to prove to young people what they can really achieve. But the opportunity has cruelly been taken from me and my team mates, some of whom are older will sadly never get this opportunity again. As for me, I live for purpose- and summitting Everest then creating a legacy afterwards- has literally been my life for the past few years. This is something I never saw coming. I don’t know whether I could risk others’ money on something so fickle again, or whether I could create the same momentum, put the bad memories behind me to motivate and dedicate myself to another attempt. I’ve picked myself up and come back stronger many times before but this time will really challenge me. Until then, I want to thank you all again for your encouragement, solidarity,  support and charity donations on my Everest 2014 mission. And to my sponsors, both major and contributors, for making this a reality.  It’s truly been overwhelming, incredible at times, and so tragic it had to end like this but I guess trying is always better than dreaming.

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By | 2014-04-25T07:58:06+00:00 April 25th, 2014|Everest 2014 Updates, Uncategorized|4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tonia White April 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Alex, you tried and did not succeed due to no fault of your own. Never give up your dream and hold your head high and be proud. It takes a strong person to get as far as you have and I, for one, have faith that you will realise your dream, Keep fighting and remember how far you have come to date.

  2. Martin Saba -Smith April 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Such a dreadful shame for you and the team. I really feel for you all. Am so, so sorry.
    Let’s hope you can reach your goal maybe next year. Hope your descent is safe and hassle free.

  3. a dude May 3, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    alex,
    you’re understandably disappointed. however, no offense and all, but if you were a true lover of the mountains, you’d know that most alpinists have suffered many failures on tough attempts (assuming your fully supported all-inclusive-western-comfort ascent of touristy Everest could be classified as ‘tough’) , including the very best ones (terray, kukuczka, buhl, and many others). for those who didnt pay their failure with death, they often just tried again, showing their mental strength and tenacity.
    you missed one shot, so what ? people died on the mountain on that occasion and you’ll have other opportunities in the future to try again. get yourself together, stop reacting like a spoiled westerner, and realize this is not the end of the world, far from it.

  4. Alex June 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    An interesting point you’ve attempted to make, but once again, missing the point that the failure on Everest was not due to the conditions, altitude, logistics or our well-being but a pointless and mindless political strife. And if Everest was easy, why did Ranulph Fiennes, Ed Viesturs and other uber-hard mountaineers/explorers take numerous attempts to summit?

    Amusingly, your slander calls me a ‘spoiled Westerner’, meanwhile I’ve traced your IP address to the University of Cambridge. Doesn’t that shoot yourself in the foot, slightly?

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