Cayman climber summits Everest

Cayman Islands-based climber Guy Manning reached the summit of Mount Everest this weekend. 

Carrying the Cayman Islands flag and the names of 56 cancer survivors from Cayman, Mr. Manning, along with teammates Nacer Ibnabdeljalil and Guy Munnoch along with Sherpas Dawa Gelji, Tashi and Karma, reached the top of the mountain at about 7.30pm Cayman time on Sunday, 19 May – about 6.15am Monday morning Nepal time. 

They left the South Col camp, the last stop before the final push to the summit in darkness, at 8.30pm Sunday Nepal time, climbing through the night to reach the top and returning to the camp at lunch time on Monday. 

By Tuesday morning, the team was still descending the mountain, on their way back to base camp. 

Mr. Manning, a partner at Campbells law firm, set off from Cayman at the end of March. 

“We’re so proud of him – it’s an awesome achievement,” said Nicole D’Heer Watson, marketing manager at Campbells. 

Mr. Manning, 39, is on a mission to climb the highest summits on each of the seven continents. With Everest now under his belt, he has climbed five. 

He and the team followed in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay by taking the South Col route 60 years after the duo made history by being the first to ever reach the summit of Everest. 

Jagged Globe, the expedition company the climbers used, described the team’s ascent on its website as being in “very quick time”.  

In all, 24 climbers with Jagged Globe reached the summit on 19 and 20 May. Seven climbers and eight Sherpas set off and reached the summit the day before Mr. Manning and his teammates. 

On its website Sunday, Jagged Globe wrote: “Nacer from Morocco (hoping to become the first Moroccan to summit Everest), Guy and Guy chose to remain on the South Col for a further 24 hours to give them more time to rest. They had already made the tough climb from Base Camp to Camp 2, Camp 2 to Camp 3 and Camp 3 to Camp 4 on the South Col over the previous 3 days. So, over the past 33 hours or so, they have been sleeping, eating, breathing in bottled oxygen and getting psyched up for the hardest days of their lives.  

“Right now (22.12 BST) all three climbers, plus their climbing Sherpas, are on one of the toughest sections of the climb, between the Balcony and the South Summit. It’s dark. It’s cold (gustier than last night) and all they are focussing on is the next step in front of them, illuminated by their head torches.” 

Mr. Manning has already climbed the 19,340 foot Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa; the 16,067 foot Vinson in Antarctica; Russia’s 18,510-foot Elbrus in Europe; and the 22,830 foot Aconcagua in Argentina, South America. And now he has reached the top of the 29,002-foot-high Mount Everest. 

As well as challenging himself to summit Everest, he has also been raising money for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. The money raised will go toward building a new chemotherapy centre for the Cayman Islands and to give financial aid to cancer sufferers. He fully funded his own climb, so all money raised through corporate sponsorship or individual donations will go directly to the Cancer Society.  

Jennifer Weber of the Cancer Society sent a photograph to the Caymanian Compass of Mr. Manning before he set off on the final push to the summit.  

“In his left hand he’s holding the coded list of all our current financial aid patient names. He’s carrying that list in his parka pocket, close to his heart, as a source of inspiration,” she said. “Likewise, he is inspiring our patients to heroically battle their disease. Not sure who is praying harder for whom!” 

The expedition was not without controversy. According to news agency AFP, the Nepalese government has accused British climber Daniel Hughes, a member of the Jagged Globe team that reached the summit the day before Mr. Manning and his teammates, of breaking the law by making a video call from his smartphone to the BBC from the summit Sunday. 

According to AFP, Hughes did not seek the government’s permission for his broadcast. “Even the tourism ministry has to seek permission from the communication ministry to film, broadcast or conduct media related events on Everest,” said Purnachandra Bhattarai, joint secretary of Nepal’s tourism ministry. 

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