Everest avalanche survivor gearing up for second climbing attempt

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A SCOTTISH climber who cheated death on Everest is gearing up for a second attempt at tackling the world’s highest mountain.

Jim Grieve, 52, from Kinross was caught in the midst of a terrifying avalanche last April after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, South Asia.

Nineteen people were killed on Mount Everest and nearly 9,000 across the rest of the country.

everest
Photo credit : Pavel Novak

At the time the father-of-three was taking a break at 19,685ft when the quake dislodged ice plates above from where he and his friends were sitting.

Grieve’s team managed to bunker down on a narrow “knife ridge” tackling 120mph winds and 50ft sheer drops before being rescued by a helicopter three days later.

Unfortunately, the groups American teammate, Tom Chaplin, 61, who had stayed at base camp were among those who were killed.

Despite trepidation, Grieve, who has wanted to conquer the 29,029ft summit since he was a child, has now started training and plans to return back to Everest later on this year.

Between shifts at an oil rig just of the Shetland Islands, Grieve has started training by performing squats and treadmill runs.

He said: “It wasn’t my time. It was an act of nature. If something is meant for you, then it won’t pass you by.

“Everest has always held a mystique for me. I’ve wanted to climb it since I was seven, but at first I didn’t have the money and then I never had the time. Now I want to fulfill my dream.”

Describing how he looked in horror at his friends as they heard roars of ice and snow hurtling down the slopes, he said: “They were facing the avalanche and I had my back to it.

“I could see the terror on their faces. It was difficult to breathe, there was so much noise and wind.

“It was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life.

“My main trepidation is going back through the icefall.”

However, the brave Scot admitted that his partner and mother of two-year-old son, Shirley is not “too keen” on the idea.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, founder of Asian Trekking, said the high number of climbers expected in the two month climbing window could give Nepal a much needed boost.

Over 800,000 homes were destroyed, leaving one in 10 homeless and eighty nine foreigners died.

Grieve plans to fly to Nepal in April and plans to raise money for Children 1st, Scotland’s national children’s charity.

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