AN expedition team of 13 sick and wounded serving soldiers and veterans reached the summit of the 6,476m high Mera Peak in the Himalayas on Remembrance Sunday.
Leeds Beckett University’s Carnegie Great Outdoors team led the expedition and worked alongside the Royal British Legion.
Many of the 13 people on the 22-day expedition have been helped by the Royal British Legion funded Battle Back Centre in Shropshire.
They include a war hero who was seriously injured in an explosion in Afghanistan.
Lyndon Chatting-Walters, 28, of Bramhope, Leeds, said: “It has been a difficult but humbling two weeks of trekking and acclimatising, and with the support and friendships made within the team it all became possible.
“It was a truly incredible experience to honour the centenary of the First World War standing on top of a hard earned mountain with fellow veterans.”
Overall Expedition leader Dave Bunting, said: “The last 48 hours has been a mixture of intense stress and one of the most rewarding projects I have ever done in the mountains.
“The ascent was very challenging physically and mentally but to watch this newly developed team of people overcome the challenges together and support each other in the most extreme and alien of situations was simply
superb and will stick with me forever.”
Christopher Joynson, operations manager at The Royal British Legion’s Battle Back Centre, and expedition leader for the Royal British Legion, said: “The summiting of Mera Peak is the culmination of 18 months planning
between the Royal British Legion and Leeds Beckett University.
“That it occurred on Remembrance Sunday could not have been more significant. The team have done really well as many had no previous climbing experience and have now climbed a major Himalayan peak.”
Mr Chatting-Walters was a teenage soldier when he survived a ten-hour firefight in Sangin province in July 2008.
His unit of the 9th Parachute Squadron of the Royal Engineers escaped, but came under fire again before the vehicle he was in was blown up by an improvised explosive device
The force of the explosion catapulted the combat engineer 60ft into an orchard where enemy fighters were hiding during the battle.
Two US Marines were killed and seven troops, including Mr Chatting-Walters, were wounded.
Mr Chatting-Walters survived crossfire and was rescued, but suffered a catalogue of injuries.
His back was broken in four places and he had a broken leg and jaw and shrapnel injuries to his groin.
He spent three weeks in intensive care during a ten-week stay in hospital.
He has suffered mental health problems and was helped by the Royal British Legion funded Battle Back Centre in Shropshire for sick and injured troops.
He is now a qualified climbing and mountaineering instructor and works as a coach with Leeds Beckett University’s Carnegie Great Outdoors team.
The team organise sport and adventure programmes and activities for injured veterans and serving soldiers at the Battle Back Centre.