After a tough day yesterday, we arrived in Gorak Shep, our final resting point before taking on Kala Patthar.
Out of bed at 4.00am this morning, we set off under head torch, slowly working our way up the winding trail. Bobby was now entering a completely foreign, dark and cold environment, with a small beam of light guiding him as he advanced up the hill.
By the half-way point, Bobby was starting to struggle, and I told him it was now up to him. We could hold him, we could keep him balanced and on track, but at the end of the day, he needed to find his strength if he was going to reach the top. Four years of training had come down to this, and Bobby knew that he had to focus, and dig deep if he was going to reach his goal.
We all rested and watched the sun rise from behind Everest, and I think the spectacular scenery and realisation of where he was, gave Bobby the inspiration he needed. He had no illusions about the difficulty which lay ahead, but wanted to give the final stretch his best shot. He did however find it hard to comprehend that Everest, although it seemed close, was still another 3500m above us.
As we got higher, the snow and ice became a bit of a problem, but with the help of the team, we managed to keep him safe and upright.
Seeing that the summit was now close, Bobby gave it one last push, and was finally standing on top of Kala Patthar (5550m). He raised his hands in the air, and cried. You could see the relief and sheer exhilaration on his face, and in that moment, it all became too much for him. He had done it, and what an incredible effort it was.
In true Bobby fashion, he thanked everyone who had helped him reach this point, whilst proudly displaying the Australian and Nepalese flags. He was completely overcome with emotion, and no doubt felt immense pride in what he had just achieved.
Sumit, our good friend and owner of Himalayan Ascent, who had helped me plan and put this trip together, rang whilst we were on the summit to congratulate Bobby and the team. He also mentioned that Bobby had become the 1st person with his level of MS to reach this altitude in the Himalayas and also stand of top of Kala Patthar.
We need to say a huge thanks to our Sherpa team, Jangbu, Anggelu and Wang Da. Their level of dedication and care towards Bobby has been outstanding, and we feel honored to be able to work with such great guys.
We are not finished, and will assess Bobby’s strength before our next objective, Island Peak (6189m). Regardless of whether we takes this on or not, what Bobby has achieved so far is nothing short of extraordinary. He is a remarkable inspiration and has given hope to millions of people living with a disability.