Online Collection

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Ice axe used by Major Michael 'Bronco' Lane, 7th Royal Horse Artillery on an ascent of Mount Everest, 16 May 1976

In 1976 legendary climber Major Michael 'Bronco' Lane joined the first all-military expedition to climb Mount Everest. Bronco and Sergeant John 'Brummie' Stokes reached the summit, but on the way down terrible weather forced them to spend the night in a snow hole. With his fellow climber suffering from snow blindness and breathing becoming difficult, Bronco had to remove his glove to open an oxygen bottle. When he did this he knew he would probably lose his fingers to frostbite. Both climbers also lost all of their toes.

In 2006, 30 years later, the British Army marked the anniversary of this remarkable climb with a new challenge. It was an ambitious attempt to climb the most difficult route to the summit, the West Ridge. Only 13 climbers had ever successfully climbed this route before, none of them British. Unfortunately conditions were against the 2006 team too. After three years of preparation the team had to stop just short of the summit.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 2000-10-676-1


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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