A MOUNTAIN climber whose second attempt at climbing Mount Everest was dashed following the deadly Nepal earthquake says he is delighted to be back on home soil.
Explorer Ellis Stewart landed back in the UK at midday yesterday before taking a train ride to get home to Hartlepool and be reunited with his family.
The 41-year-old said: “I’m feeling really quite exhausted after being up for about a day and a half.
“It’s devastating what’s happened out there, it’s just all sort of hitting home. The loss of life and everything like that.
“I’m just taking stock of everything.”
Ellis was climbing to Everest’s Camp 1 when the earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.9, hit last Saturday morning.
The Hartlepool adventurer was hit by an icefall while on the world’s highest summit, but he managed to survive the earthquake which has killed thousands of people.
He spent several days on the mountain before being evacuated to safety by helicopter. Officials say the death toll from the quake is around 6,000, but could reach 10,000, with eight million people affected - more than a quarter of the population.
Ellis took to Facebook as he reflected on the devastation before his return to the UK.
He said: “Managed to finally fly out of Lukla and on to Biratnagar on the Nepal/India border, where we then picked up a flight to Kathmandu.
“Had a few hours spare to whip through to hotel and pick up belongings before heading back to airport and booking first flight out with Qatar.
“Kathmandu currently a tent city with a lot of scared people. Such a shame to see a city I love on its knees like this.”
His hopes were also dashed last year just days before he was due to start his final ascent when an avalanche struck, this time claiming the lives of 16 Sherpa guides.
Ellis has also confirmed that he will not be attempting a third go at climbing Everest.