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RAF's Ted Atkins - A return for an Everest Summit!
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May 16, 2004 04: 21 EST
Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant and mountaineer Ted Atkins made it on his third attempt and is now heading down. "We received news this morning that Flight Lieutenant Ted Atkins of RAF Marham has reached the summit of Mount Everest in the early hours of 16 May 2004. He is starting his descent back down the mountain at this time, and we hope to receive more news when he reaches the lower camp areas," wrote his home team.

"His attempt was slightly delayed by weather changing conditions, he had originally planned to be at the summit by Thursday 13 May. He and his wife Shona are overjoyed at this achievement."

Ted first attempted Everest via the West Ridge in 1988, a route he called a “logisitical nightmare.” Ted reached to within 800 yards of the summit, where he'd earlier placed a cache with sleeping bag and camp stuff, but now the bag was gone. Ted tried grabbing some sleep in his rucksack, but by morning, his feet were nearly frozen and he gave up the attempt.

In 2001, Ted returned, leading the large, successful RAF expedition up the North side. Two members of the team summited, however his own bid ended at 8300m in deteriorating weather.

Ted became a member of the RAF’s Mountain Rescue Service in 1979 and led the first RAF Ascent of the North Face of Eiger. He made his first trip to the Himalaya in 1983 and later that same year, joined an 18-month expedition to Antarctica to explore Brabant Island.

This year, Ted is simply joined a permit to make his own attempt on the South Col route.

Ted test piloted a new personal oxygen system (pictured in part) that he says will be more efficient (waste less oxygen) than the commercially available system he was provided. Using an aviator's mask, some pieces of medical oxygen systems, a couple of condoms (!) and a plastic coke bottle, Ted said he'd use this system on his summit attempt. It seems to have worked!

Image of Ted testing his innovation, courtesy of BaseCampMD
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