Stephen reached 8650m in the early hours of this morning (when most of us were still in bed), after setting off from camp three at 10.30pm (Everest time). Conditions were good with some of the team sending back pictures of blue skies over the mountain. After a gruelling 10 hour climb, Stephen reached 8650m (less than 200m from the summit), but unfortunately a mistake meant that he was given an empty O2 canister when swapping, forcing him to turn around and return to camp three – 8300m. Stephen is currently recuperating at this height and waits to see if it will be possible to make a second attempt at the summit. The majority of Stephen’s team have either already or are turning around and returning to lower base camps.
To have reached this stage, outlasting many seasoned climbers out there, Stephen has already proved himself an accomplished and determined athlete. Not to mention the psychological and mental strength needed to continue to face some of the most inhospitable conditions on earth (I can’t even imagine how tough it must be up there). I know that everyone who knows Stephen, knows how talented and driven a man he is and will be immensely proud of his achievements so far. We all wish him well and want him home safe to celebrate these achievements back in the UK!