UK & World News
British Army Team Ready To Scale Everest
A British Army team planning to climb Mount Everest has completed its final group training and is preparing to set off for the Himalayas in just over a month.
The expedition is hoping to raise awareness for sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSI). It is backed by the Combat Stress charity and The Royal British Legion.
The expedition team is being led by Warrant Officer 2nd Class Si Naylor and his second-in-command Major John Howell-Walmsley, MBE.
The other five members are Captain Tim Bradshaw, Paratrooper Sergeant Gaz McMahon, Major Rab Black, Flt Lt Ted Atkins and Major Kirsty Watson, who is the team's doctor.
Ted Atkins is both the only member from outside the Army - he is a former RAF officer and now serves in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force - and also the only member to have already successfully reached the summit of Everest.
He is enormously experienced and designed the oxygen system that 90% of Everest climbers now use on the mountain.
Major John Howard-Walmsley was honoured with an MBE for leading the largest ever military expedition to Greenland.
The team will climb the North-West ridge route of Everest, following in the footsteps of the great British mountaineer George Mallory.
The expedition coincides with the 90th anniversary of Mallory's fateful attempt and the centenary of World War One, the conflict that first revealed the concept of combat stress, then known as shell shock.
There are few places in Europe more remote than the Cairngorms in winter and the Scottish wilderness was chosen as the location of the final two weeks of training.
Staying in a lodge tucked away miles up an icy track outside Aviemore, the expedition members practiced mountaineering skills, rope techniques, and first aid. It was the culmination of a tough year of training.
The team leaves on April 1 for the Himalayas, and hope to "top out" on the summit of Everest by mid-May.
You can follow their progress on Twitter: @ArmyEverest14
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