Climbing Everest with oxygen 'not adventure'

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 14:47 23/05/2013
Brian Blessed
HARD MAN: Brian Blessed has attempted to climb Mt Everest several times.
Everest base camp
THE BEGINNING: Prayer flags adorn an alpine shrine on the trek to Everest Base Camp in the high Himalaya.

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Veteran English actor Brian Blessed has slammed people using oxygen to climb Mt Everest.

He said in the Irish Examiner that climbing with oxygen was "achieving nothing".

The 76-year-old, who is currently advertising a bank on New Zealand television, has tried three times to climb Everest and will make a fourth attempt next year.

"I don't think there should be any expeditions to the mountain unless they are climbing it without oxygen - 29,035ft is just high enough to be climbed without oxygen," he said.

"It's achieving nothing in the development of human will and human achievement and in the spirit of adventure. It's all vanity."

He said first Everest conquerors Hillary and Tenzing were different because they were "going into the unknown".

Blessed said people did not appreciate how dangerous an Everest ascent could be. He described the need for weeks of acclimatisation and the difficulties of conquering the various stages of the climb.

He said winds buffeted him "like the Flying Scotsman", his blood "thickened to the consistency of glue" and at night sleeping bags "become like cement" because of the cold.

"I lost 27 million brain cells, I came back 10 and a half stone, lost all my muscles and it took me six months to recover," he said.

The Sherpas put up all the tents, put the rope ladders up the ice field and "then they grab the bloody clients and all the heavy stuff and they give them oxygen, tonnes of oxygen, and they go up there".

"Their feet are placed in one thing after the other before a straight line up the ropes like a bloody zombie," he said.

"And if the weather gets bad and anybody misbehaves, they die.

"Even with the most modern gear, if Everest decides to be malignant, you're f......

"People are going up there who aren't qualified. To a certain extent I think they s... on the mountain. I think they s... on adventure; it's not true adventure.

"I can't put a better word to it, they are crapping on the mountain, they are insulting it, and just for their own egos."

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