An adventurer’s attempt to climb Everest twice in a row was foiled when thieves stole his oxygen.
Chichester’s Rupert Jones-Warner had been hoping to complete consecutive summits from both sides of the mountain for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in memory of his friend Lucy-Anne.
But at 7,000 metres, just 24 hours from the top of his second summit, the 27-year-old found his tent had been ransacked and crucial oxygen supplies to help him up the final push were missing.
He said: “It would have been two summits in a week, which would have been a record.
“We couldn’t go any higher. We were at the limit of how far you can go without oxygen and the next oxygen was another kilometre up and it was far too risky to go on.”
Rupert would have become the first Briton and youngest person ever to do a summit climb of Everest from both sides in the same season.
It was his second time tackling Everest after a lucky escape from the Nepalese earthquake, which struck during his first attempt in 2015, killing several climbers in an avalanche.
Since returning home, supporters have been quick to remind him of his success scaling the world’s tallest mountain once, no mean feat itself.
“For everyone else, it was the climax, but for me it was half way,” Rupert said. “I wish I’d really taken it in.
“Because of the lack of oxygen you’re not performing as well, your mind isn’t thinking like at sea level.”
His original attempt raised thousands in aid of Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and this time Rupert’s efforts were to honour Lucy-Anne Yeates, from Funtington, who died in February, aged 25.
Rupert went to Ditcham Park School with Lucy-Anne, who had incurable lung disorder cystic fibrosis.
Fundraising is a full time job and years of effort go into each expedition.
Despite the disappointment, Rupert said he may well take on the mountain again.
He said: “Unfortunately, it’s looking like I probably will go back.
“I’d like to leave it, to put it behind me, but there’s the voice that says to keep going.”
To donate to Rupert’s appeal go to https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/double-summit-for-cystic-fibrosis