Wounded Servicemen Take on Everest in Charity Climb
Private Jaco van Gass reached the North Pole last year; this year he has already completed a course of Everest Base Camp trekking in preparation the summit – photo by Walking with the Wounded"
This spring, as hopeful climbers embark on Everest Base Camp trekking routes to prepare themselves for attempts on the summit, one group in particular is making the headlines. The Walking with the Wounded Everest 2012 Expedition is made up of wounded servicemen who are braving the extreme conditions of the world’s highest mountain, taking on a journey that challenges even the most experienced of mountaineers.
The Walking With the Wounded team, which consists of nine servicemen in total, has already completed the first stage of their mission – Everest Base Camp trekking– and are currently settling in at Base Camp, keeping the world posted with their blogs and photographs. For five of them, however, the biggest challenge is still to come: reaching the summit of Everest itself.
Among the five is Private Jaco van Gass, who lost his left arm in Afghanistan. Not content to let this stand between him and the summit, he has invented a prosthetic ice axe to assist him in scaling the frozen walls of the mountain. As well as acclimatisation, innovations like this one are another reason that it was so vital for the group to spend time at Base Camp – Private van Gass has had the chance to test out his invention, and worked out some vital adjustments for it.
This is the latest in a run of very successful expeditions from the charity, of which Prince Harry is a patron. Last year saw Private van Gass and other members of the group trekking to the North Pole; this year, Walking with the Wounded hopes to raise over two million pounds, to put towards re-training injured British Armed Forces servicemen and women.
You can follow the progress of these brave climbers, and their news, thoughts and photos, on the charity’s news page.