Iceland founder Malcolm Walker’s charity expedition to Everest is hanging in the balance following an accident close to the Nepal/ Tibet border.
The team of 12 climbers, led by explorer David Hempleman-Adams and including Walker and his son Richard had just completed a 12-day acclimatisation trek through Nepal. They were en route to cross Friendship Bridge into Tibet on their road journey to Everest Base Camp when the accident took place, which badly injured two drivers and resulted in the loss of much of the expedition’s kit.
The Iceland Everest Expedition aims to scale Mount Everest to raise £1m for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Walker said: “Today the team was due to cross the border into Tibet. All our gear was loaded onto two lorries last night to make the journey to Everest Base Camp. Unfortunately one of the lorries went over a cliff and plummeted down a ravine.
“The lorry was completely destroyed. Luckily the driver, his assistant and the climbing Sherpa who was with them managed to jump out of the cab and were saved from certain death. The driver and his assistant are badly injured and in hospital. The Sherpa is OK.
“All our gear was strewn over the mountainside – our special Expedition Loxton’s food, kerosene, gas heaters, climbing gear and our personal possessions. Our permits to cross into Tibet were valid for today only, otherwise it might take another week or two to get a new permit and risk missing the ‘weather window’ for our Everest summit attempt.
“We frantically reloaded our gear onto a new lorry and it was touch and go whether we would make it to the border by the deadline of 3pm local time. Luckily we have now made it through to Zhangmu in Tibet, but we are short of a lot of equipment and are going to have to order new gear and get it delivered to Everest Base Camp if we are going to make it up the mountain.”
Walker is writing a blog on the trip, at www.icelandeverest.org.uk