It’s with bitter disbelief and immense disappointment to confirm my Everest 2014 expedition is over. I am utterly gutted and 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 never 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.
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 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 granddad on top of the world was the reward I wanted so badly and to prove to young people what they can really achieve. 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.