Iceland chief executive Malcolm Walker and his son Richard have achieved their goal of reaching the summit of the North Col of Everest at 23,030 ft.
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The North Col is a higher point than the summit of any mountain on Earth outside of the Himalayas and their sub-ranges.
Walker and his team are raising money for Alzheimer’s Research. Him and his son are now returning to the UK while the remainder of the expedition are preparing to reach the summit at 29,035 ft where they aim to plant the Iceland Foods flag at the top of the world.
Walker said: “Getting to the top of the North Col was the most frightening and physically demanding thing I have ever done in my life, and I am delighted to have been able to meet the challenge I set myself at the beginning of the expedition. I will admit that I daydreamed about maybe going further and trying for the summit myself, but this has never been a suicide mission and I knew when we arrived at the top of the North Col that I had reached the limit of my endurance.
“I have learned that climbing Everest isn’t technically difficult: it’s just a very long way up and a test of survival in extreme conditions. It is dangerous because of the severe and fast-changing weather and because of the many illnesses (some of them fatal) that can attack human beings at very high altitudes. But most of all every step you take is a massive effort so that climbing the North Col, which is perhaps the most difficult part of the ascent to the summit, becomes a killer due to sheer exhaustion.
“Richard, who has shown himself to be the strongest member of the whole expedition, could undoubtedly have stayed on to make a successful summit bid, but has decided that the time is right to return to his wife and daughter in England. We both wish our fellow climbers the very best of luck in returning to the North Col and going on to the summit.
“I am immensely grateful to everyone who has already donated to help us towards our target of raising at least £1m for Iceland’s Charity of the Year, Alzheimer’s Research UK.”
Read more about the Iceland expedition on icelandeverest.org.uk