AFTER becoming one of the youngest British people to climb the world’s highest mountain, a Sleaford mountaineer has had chance to reflect on his achievement.
Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton, 22, has just returned from an epic two-month long challenge to climb to the top of Mount Everest, battling illnesses, escaping avalanches and cheating death along the way.
After suffering from a bad throat on arrival at Katmandu, he spent a few days recovering before flying to Lukla to begin the trek to Everest Base Camp, which his team reached on April 14.
Matthew said: “As you got higher up the valley before Base Camp, you could see Everest itself and the view was amazing but it was also very imposing.”
Once the team made it to Base Camp, they were met by Matthew’s guide, British Doctor Rob Casserley, who has reached the summit of Everest three times.
They reached Camp One on April 25 and, after a few more days, had moved up to Camp Two and Camp Three. They were lucky to miss an avalanche which completely destroyed Camp One, where they had just vacated that day.
They returned to Base Camp before venturing further along the mountain into the valley on May 4 to recuperate and regain their strength before beginning their final push to the summit on May 13.
Now using oxygen supplements, they climbed up to Camp Four on May 18, the last camp before the summit.
They then had just four hours to recuperate before their ideal weather window for a push to the summit became available.
After a long overnight slog, the team reached the 8,848m summit of Mount Everest at 6am on May 19.
Matthew described the feeling: “It was pure elation when we got there and a lot of relief that after two years of planning we finally got there. I couldn’t quite believe it, it was a dream come true.”
“It was an amazing view. It was so high, it was like looking down on the world. It was a sight to behold.”
After spending half an hour on the summit, the team had to get back down the mountain quickly as it was exctionally cold up there, the lowest temperature recorded was -30°.
Matthew expressed his thanks to his Sherpa, Chhewang Dorjee, who saved his life as he ran out of oxygen just 50 metres from the summit.
He compared the sensation of running out of the vital element to feeling very drunk, and he collapsed but luckily his Sherpa was on hand to change his oxygen for him and save his life.
Four people had been pronounced dead on the summit of Everest during this weekend, and Matthew remembers passing these climbers on his way back down the mountain as they made their way up.
After spending a night at Camp Four, the following day the team arrived back at Base Camp before heading down to the valley, where they were able to relax and reflect on what they had just accomplished.
As far as the future goes, Matthew has not planned any more major expeditions, but is considering writing a book on his journey over the last two years, from the initial planning and training right up to his summit.