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Group glad Everest climb called off

A group of injured soldiers have said they are thankful that their attempt to climb Mount Everest was abandoned after a huge ice collapse crushed a section they were due to cross.

The Walking With The Wounded charity team were scheduled to tackle the Khumbu Icefall in Nepal at 2am on Wednesay (9.15pm Tuesday GMT) on their way up the mountain.

But their attempt to reach the peak of the world's highest mountain was called off yesterday because the task had been made "almost impossible". They got back to the safety of Base Camp last Friday after experiencing treacherous conditions further up.

Former Captain Martin Hewitt, Captain Francis Atkinson, Captain David Wiseman, Private Jaco van Gass and former Private Karl Hinett will discuss their ordeal during a live internet broadcast with expedition sponsors Glenfiddich tomorrow.

During the webcast they will attempt to break the world record for the highest whisky tasting from a specially designed tent at Base Camp (5,360m above sea level).

Supporters can view the live broadcast at glenfiddich.co.uk/everest.

Mr Hewitt, the expedition manager, said: "There is absolutely no doubt in our heads now that the decision taken yesterday by our expedition to suspend this year's attempt on Everest was the right one.

"Last night at exactly the time we were due to be traversing the icefall towards Camp One on Everest, a huge ice fall came crashing down onto the route, obliterating the ropes and ladders we were due to be stood on.

"Thank goodness nobody was hurt. But one thing is for certain, that we now are in no doubt that we have made the right decision to live to fight another day."

Pte Van Gass said: "We are really hoping lots of people log on and ask us questions in tomorrow's live broadcast. It will help us feel much better about what has been such a disappointing turn of events."

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