PA Sport - Mon, 24 May 09:28:00 2010
Josh Lewsey was forced to abandon his push for the summit of Mount Everest on Sunday after his breathing apparatus failed and left him in fear of his life.
The former England international, 33, had reached 8,700metres and was feeling confident of making the top when his oxygen supply was cut off. Lewsey's emergency descent back to the Advanced Base Camp has been detailed in a harrowing account on the official climb website.
"Josh got to 8,700m, feeling strong and confident he would make the top. At this point his breathing apparatus broke and was not giving him enough oxygen, it then froze meaning he had no access to oxygen." It reads:
"He therefore had to rapidly descend to 8,200m without oxygen and was passing dead bodies on the way down, with real concern that he wasn't going to make it.
"Josh wanted to head straight back up from 8,200m and attempt the summit again but the resources were not available to him. He has therefore descended back down to ABC.
"Josh is currently in the process of deciding whether to make another attempt."
Lewsey's climbing partner, Major Keith Reesby, continued climbing but it remains unclear whether he has reached the summit.
The pair set out to climb the tougher North Ridge of Everest, the route attempted - and possibly completed - by George Mallory in 1924.
Lewsey and Reesby are raising money for army charities Help for Heroes and Combat Stress.