Vicotira Pendleton, a former Olympic cyclist, was “nearly dead” with hypoxia when she was advised to descend from camp two.
Kenton Cool, who has reached the summit of Everest 12 times, was Pendleton’s guide and wrote on Instagram, “Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Expedition life is about expecting the unexpected. Be prepared for anything.”
The other members of the team were Ben Fogle and members from Fisher Creative.
“But sometimes it catches you off guard,” said Cool. “Climbing Mount Everest is like a game of chess. It keeps you on your toes. It is fraught with risk and in some ways that is why we are here. Our first ‘rotation’ onto the mountain was successful in part but Victoria Pendleton struggled with the altitude.
Cool continued, “While she was physically strong, physiologically she struggled to cope with the thin air. Her oxygen saturation was worryingly low. At sea level most of us would record a healthy 99/100%, anything lower than 95% and you’d probably find yourself in Casualty, at Camp 2 Victoria registered 28%. That’s nearly dead.
“We rushed her onto oxygen and dexamethasone, to prevent HAPE, High altitude Pulmonary Edema. It was pretty scary for all of us to say the least.”
The rest of the team will continue without Pendleton, who was raising money for the British Red Cross.
In 2012, she won the gold medal in the keirin at the 2012 Summer Olympics, as well as silver in the sprint.
Pendleton said after her recovery, “Unfortunately after much deliberation I have decided not to continue my endeavour to summit Mount Everest.” Read the rest of her thoughts below.
Unfortunately after much deliberation I have decided not to continue my endeavour to summit Mount Everest. The weather conditions have offered the possibility of an early summit bid, as a consequence I have been unable to adhere to the prescribed rotation program and keep pace with the team without causing concern regarding my health at the higher camps, due to my lack of adaptation to the extreme altitude. I am incredibly disappointed not to complete the challenge and frustrated as I feel in great physical condition and was moving swiftly and efficiently through the icefall and across the glacier, at no point did I feel this was a weakness in the challenge. Whilst we were working and moving I was really positive and comfortable. Unfortunately when we were recovering in camp in the afternoon, relaxing with a resting heart rate with a less active breathing pattern, I started to feel quite unwell and felt my body was going into shut down and the oxygen saturation of my blood was very low. So much so that I required a light flow of oxygen that continued throughout the night. My condition caused much concern to Kenton and distressed the team. Kenton felt it was perhaps more sensible for me not to continue, for the sake of my health and wellbeing. I took his advice and called an end to my summit bid. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to have experience one of the the most impressive, imposing and challenging environments on the planet, the Himalayas are a magical place I feel honoured to have visited. I hope that I may continue to support the @britishredcross and their fundraising and thank @anythingispossible.world for this incredible experience. I also wish @benfogle and @kentoncool all the very best of luck in their summit bid! I have 100% faith, thanks to @fishercreative for the photo x