how sas veteran Ant Middleton cheated death on Mount everest
NEW CHALLENGE Extreme Everest with Ant Middleton Sunday, C4 HD, 9.30pm
When he was a Royal Marine, Ant Middleton served in some of the world’s most dangerous countries, yet he never felt as scared for his life as he did on the slopes of Mount Everest.
The war veteran, who rose to fame as one of the taskmasters
from C4’s SAS: Who Dares
Wins, attempts to climb the world’s highest peak in a new documentary. He says disaster struck when he was near the summit, as a snowstorm came out of nowhere.
‘I was waiting in a queue to cross a ridge where there was only room for one climber,’ he explains. ‘It was getting colder and colder. My feet and hands were numb and my oxygen was running out. I honestly thought I was going to die up there.’
Everest is 8,848m high, and the air at the top contains only 33 per cent of the oxygen available at sea level. Known as the ‘Death Zone’, the upper slopes are among the world’s most dangerous environments.
For every17 climbers who reach the summit, one dies, but Middleton’s training helped him survive the ascent and return to his wife and family in Essex.
LEFT FOR DEAD
‘People were just walking past this climber who had no oxygen,’ he recalls. ‘I told him he needed to move otherwise he’d die, but he said he just wanted to sleep. I knew he wasn’t getting off the mountain.
It’s the first time I’ve ever left someone to their death, and it’s a moment that will stay with me.’
With the blizzard worsening, Middleton faced a race against the clock before he ran out of oxygen and frostbite set in.
‘I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life,’ he says. ‘Even when the bullets were flying over my head in combat zones, this was worse. At one stage I thought I was about to die and my kids were going to grow up without a dad. I was so glad to get off the mountain.’
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