Gurkhas to return to Mount Everest
On April 25 2015, a 21-strong team of Gurkhas were trying to reach the summit of Everest.
They had almost done it when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal.
On the mountain, the movement of the earth triggered a huge avalanche which engulfed hundreds including the British Army team.
Somehow they all survived – but 21 others would perish.
It took days for the team to navigate their way back to base camp.
There the tents they had called home were destroyed, and others seeking to make the same climb were dead.
It was amidst this devastation we first came across the expedition team.
They were coming down the mountain as we were seeking to report from it.
Weary and shocked, they told how they had been trapped in the icefall then spent days tending the injured and moving the dead.
Some of the Nepalese Gurkhas would descend the mountain to discover that family members had been killed and family homes or villages destroyed.
In the months since they have been involved in the rebuilding operation, creating homes from the rubble, restoring livelihoods and hope.
The original team of 21 have also been training to go back.
Everest for them remains unconquered and they are determined to get the first serving Gurkha to the summit.
Today as they met with their Commander in Chief, HRH the Prince of Wales, Major Andrew Todd explained why going back matters so much.
“It’s been an enormous challenge having to overcome the adversity of what happened in 2015, it’s showing the great courage of the Gurkhas to be going back with the same team.
“That’s what we are famous for, we have to go back to Everest, we have to climb it.
“We have to put the first serving Gurkha on the summit of Everest.
“It’s a mission unaccomplished – and that’s not how Gurkhas leave things.”
For some the post traumatic effects of the avalanche have made the training even more difficult.
Major Todd added: “One of the challenges is that our men were in the ice fall during the earthquake and it is notoriously dangerous.
“They had to overcome a huge amount of ice and avalanche debris crashing around them, and then overcome their fear to go back on the mountain.”
They return to Nepal at the start of April, and aim to reach the summit by the first week of May.
Confident, determined and hopeful that this time nature won’t defeat them.
Source: ITV News