"I barely made it.” Victoria man tells of deadly Mount Everest climb

chris dare summit of hope instagram

We're learning that a Victoria man who recently climbed Mount Everest nearly died last Thursday amid a climbing season that has been unusually deadly.

"I barely made it," says Chris Dare. "My Sherpa kept me in there. He kept me motivated. He kept me moving. Without him I would be still on that mountain. There's no doubt about it."

Dare says a traffic jam of climbers leaving at the same time lead to deadly delays that claimed the life of one of the climbers in his group.

Dare says he and his Sherpa tried to leave early but the rest of the climbers did as well. The jam caused delays that meant it took over eleven hours for them to reach the summit, instead of the anticipated six hours. They missed their weather window so they had to battle harsh conditions as well as dwindling oxygen supplies. "60-70 kilometre-an-hour winds and negative 50 degree temperatures - those were starting to come in. It made for very trying conditions to try and get out of there. And not only do you have to get to the summit, you have to get back down," says Dare.

"I had already exhausted a ton of energy and a ton of oxygen."

The trip up and down features several places where climbers need to move single file and wait in line for their turn.  Many of those spots are in the so-called "death zone" where the air is thin and climbers need to rely on oxygen supplies. Dare says one of the others in his group died on the way down.

"We're really just glad to be alive. We lost one member but we almost lost two more. There were a lot of heroics that were going on on that mountain that day, people giving up oxygen and going to try and rescue (others)."

Dare says he'll leave base camp on Wednesday and will then make his way home to Victoria.

Some seasoned climbers say Nepal's reluctance to limit the number of permits it issues to scale Mount Everest has contributed to dangerous and sometimes deadly overcrowding. 

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