05:51PM, Wednesday 12 June 2019
A mountaineer who reached the summit of Everest has joined an elite club of climbers who have scaled the highest mountain in all seven continents.
Nick Hollis, 45, of Maidenhead Road, Maidenhead, reached the peak of Everest, 8,840 metres (29,000ft) above sea level, on Thursday, May 30.
He has now joined the esteemed ‘Seven Summit Club’, one of only a few hundred climbers to have done so.
After arriving back in the UK, Nick spoke about the harrowing scenes he saw on the summit of the world’s highest mountain.
He said: “I wasn’t expecting so many dead bodies. I don’t mean dead bodies from years ago. I’m talking about bodies of people who had died that day or the day before.
“They were literally just lying on the route.
“It’s unsettling, it makes you think, it makes you really consider the risks of what you’re doing.
“There’s no escaping the fact that you are doing something that potentially means you won’t come back.”
Even though Nick returned from the two-month trip in one piece, his own journey was not without complications.
“During the night of the ascent my oxygen system blocked up which meant being above 8,000 metres (26,250ft) without oxygen,” he said. “That was pretty scary.
“It was very windy and I got some eye damage.
“I got to the top of the mountain at sunrise and realised I was snow blind.
“I was stood on the top of Everest with just no vision whatsoever.”
So far this year an estimated 890 climbers have reached the summit, the most recorded in a year.
But with 11 deaths reported, it has also been one of the most deadly.
Nick described how inexperienced ‘thrill seekers’ were causing issues on the mountain.
He said: “The challenge is these mountaineers are a bit of a new breed, and they’re not what I’d call traditional mountaineers, they’re thrill seekers, they’re adventurers.
“There are exceptions here but a high proportion don’t have the necessary skills to be on a mountain like Everest.
“When the minute things don’t go their way they don’t have the skills, don’t have the knowledge and they’re extremely vulnerable.”
Nick, a motivational speaker and mountain guide, has called on the Nepalese government and mountaineering companies to employ more stringent vetting when issuing permits and allowing climbers up the mountain.
Now that he is back at ground level, Nick has started recovering from the exhausting endeavour, which saw him lose nearly 10kg (22lb) in weight.
Once he is fit and ready, he is hoping to either trek to the north and south poles, or row across the Atlantic Ocean for his next challenge.
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