Special forces veteran Ant Middleton takes on the toughest challenge of his life…
When he was a Royal Marine, Ant Middleton served in some of the world’s most dangerous countries, yet he never felt as scared as he did on the slopes of Mount Everest, where he came close to losing his life!
Ant embarked on a mission to climb the world’s highest peak. In a special documentary, he recalls how disaster struck as he neared the summit.
‘A snowstorm came out of nowhere,’ he says. ‘I was waiting in a queue to cross a ridge where there was only room for one climber. It was getting colder and colder, my feet and hands were numb and my oxygen was running out. I thought I was going to die!’
Everest is 8,848 metres 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 slopes of the mountain are one of the world’s most dangerous environments. In fact, one climber dies for every 17 that reach the summit.
‘People were just walking past this climber who had no oxygen,’ he says.
‘I told him he needed to move or he’d die, but he said he just wanted to sleep. I knew he wasn’t getting off the mountain. It was the first time I’ve ever left someone to their death. It’s a moment that will stay with me.’
With the blizzard getting worse, Ant 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 my kids were going to grow up without a dad. I was so glad to get off the mountain!’
Nerves of steel… Ant risked his life
factual Extreme Everest with Ant MiddletonSunday, 9.30pm