Wounded soldiers see Everest for first time

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The Walking With The Wounded expedition climbed to an altitude of more than 4,000m yesterday on their way to Mount Everest Base Camp.

Six days into their 10-day hike, the five injured soldiers reached the milestone as the landscape became more barren and the temperature dropped.

Captain Martin Hewitt,31, Captain David Wiseman, 29, from Tadcaster, Captain Francis Atkinson, 31, Private Jaco van Gass and Private Karl Hinett, 25, were all wounded while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

They will attempt to reach the 8,848m summit of the world’s highest mountain in May.

At nearly eight miles, yesterday’s walk was the longest so far. The team left Phortse (3,810m) in bright sunshine and immediately started climbing a steep hill.

Once at the top they followed a path carved into the mountainside, with a sheer drop into the valley on their right hand side.

The clear weather meant the group had stunning views of the Himalaya’s daunting peaks.

Pte van Gass, 25, who lost his left arm in a blast from a rocket propelled grenade in Helmand Province in 2009, said: “The excitement is building up in me.” It’s a mixture of excitement, and I am a little bit nervous, which is good.”

The team managed to catch a glimpse of their eventual target, but clouds around the windswept Everest summit hindered the men from getting a clear view.

Pte van Gass, a paratrooper from Middleburg in South Africa, said: “Coming around a corner and having a view of Everest was incredible.”