It was a case of third time lucky for a British climber who has become the first person with cystic fibrosis to climb the world’s highest mountain after his previous two attempts nearly claimed his life.
Nick Talbot, 40, reached the summit of Mount Everest on Friday. He took medication to cope with the lack of oxygen at high altitude, but carried the same kit as everyone else and managed to complete the challenge in around seven weeks – the same length of time as it would take someone with normal lung function.
His previous two attempts, last year and the year before, ended in disaster. In 2014, his first attempt was foiled when 16 mountain guides were killed scaling the treacherous passes, forcing Nick and other expeditions to turn back.
Last year he nearly died when an earthquake triggered an avalanche, leaving him seriously injured and killing his friend Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive. Mr Talbot was left with broken ribs, cuts, bruising, and worst of all hypothermia, which badly affected his lungs.
The altitude also affected his digestive system, meaning he struggled to eat as much as he needed to and lost 2 stone, leaving him at just 11 stone, incredibly slim for his 6ft 2in frame.
His father Keith – who tried to persuade his son not to go through with this third attempt for fear he would lose his life – has hailed his “superhuman” achievement.