Gurkha Everest Expedition 2017

Gurkha Everest Expedition 2017

In 2015, the 200th year anniversary of Gurkha service to the crown, the Brigade set out to scale Everest with the aim of placing the first serving Gurkhas at the summit. The majority of the team were at Everest Base Camp when the fateful earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, causing a devastating avalanche that ended the expedition as the team’s efforts were redirected towards rescuing injured climbers on the mountain. On 15 May 2017, the team returned and made history when they successfully placed nine Gurkhas and four British team members on the summit.

The 14 summiteers, including three Gurkha soldiers, made it to the summit at 1:15pm, a time confirmed by Gyanendra Shrestha, a Tourism Ministry official. This is the first time that serving Gurkha soldiers have reached the summit.

The following morning ten more of the Gurkha Everest team made it to the summit, which was a fantastic achievement for the Brigade and the British Army.

Deputy expedition leader Major Andrew Todd said at the time:

“This is a fantastic achievement for the Brigade of Gurkhas, after our attempt in 2015 was called off due to the avalanches from the earthquake and our team then turned to assist the humanitarian aid that was required in the area.

“We are ecstatic about this success. It is another example of how the British Army strives to achieve excellence. We are delighted to have worked with the Sherpas to fix the ropes to the summit and to be the first team to summit this year – a great collaboration between Nepalis, working together to get the job done.”

Mountaineering officials had said, as the weather forecast stated high winds, that it was not certain when Everest aspirants would make their summit bids. On May 10, the so-called ‘icefall doctors’, a dedicated team of local climbers who prepare the route up Everest by fixing ropes, had attempted to reach the top but were forced back by high winds and heavy snowfall. Making the most of a lucky break in the weather, the Gurkha team was able to work with Sherpas to forge a way to the summit.

In 2019 expedition leader, then Major Andrew Todd, donated to the Museum the ice axe of Lt Chris Boote, which was used on this expedition.

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