Anzac Day altitude on Everest

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author)

Location(s): Nepal

Chief Petty Officer Scott Elleman marked Anzac Day 2016 on Everest Camp 2. (photo: Unknown)
Chief Petty Officer Scott Elleman marked Anzac Day 2016 on Everest Camp 2.

Anzac Day was a momentous occasion for Chief Petty Officer Aviation Technician Aircraft Scott Elleman who met a personal challenge of climbing to Everest Camp 2.

Amongst his specialist mountaineering equipment, Chief Petty Officer Elleman stashed a Royal Australian Navy White Ensign and Anzac Day signage. On the day he says he brought them out as a mark of respect to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“As a service member, Anzac Day is especially relevant. When I realised the climb coincided, I decided to pay my respect at altitude,” he said.

“At approximately 21,000 feet, I believe this may be the highest point that an Australian White Ensign has travelled."
For a man who only took up mountaineering and high altitude climbing 18 months ago, ascending to Everest Camp 2 was an incredible personal achievement.

“I first came to Nepal with my two sons in January 2015 and we ascended to Base Camp. The mountain got under my skin that trip and after returning home I realised I had unfinished business and had to try and get to Everest Camp 2.”

Getting to the camp involved crossing the notorious Khumbu ice-fall, a treacherous section of the glacier which has claimed the life of many mountaineers. The glacier moves at such a speed that large crevasses open and large towers of ice have been known to collapse with little warning.

“You have to be mentally and physically prepared to cross the Khumbu. To make it to Everest Camp 2, you have to cross it twice as you ascend and descend over two days to acclimatise,” he said.

“The day of the first crossing, we rose at 3am for breakfast before starting off to cross the famous ice-fall. It was a big day, full of danger and beauty as we used the rope and ladder crossings to get across the ice-fall,” Chief Petty Officer Elleman said.

“There was a hairy moment, when I did have a major wobble crossing a ladder over a crevasse, which caused a few heart palpitations. Thankfully my group made it across without incident.”

Having made the achievement, does Chief Petty Officer Elleman still have unfinished business?

“That’s the million dollar question. When you’re sitting at the base and looking up the final peak, it’s hard not feel the pull,” he said.