In May 2016 Les Binns, a former soldier from Rotherham, decided to climb Mount Everest. But Les was no ordinary climber and this turned out to be no ordinary attempt to summit.
Les served for thirteen years with the Light Dragoons and saw numerous operational tours, including Iraq and Afghanistan. On his final tour to Helmand Province in 2009, Les was seriously injured by an Improvised Explosive Device – an incident that claimed the lives of three soldiers. Les lost the sight in one eye and was medically discharged some time later.
Les wanted to prove that injured soldiers, and others affected by life-changing injuries, could still reach new heights, so decided to conquer the world’s highest peak.
He made his first attempt in 2016. This was a wholly self-funded expedition and was a phenomenal challenge for such a relatively inexperienced visually-impaired climber. He had reached The Balcony, just 500 metres short of the summit, when he encountered a female climber in severe difficulty. Les made a difficult decision on a difficult day; Sunita Hazra’s life was more important than his own ambition to reach the summit. The descent was not easy, but he got Sunita back to Camp 4; unfortunately, he was unable to save the life of a second climber.
Les returned to a fanfare of media attention; his story became global news.
Not one to give up easily, Les has decided to return to Everest in the Spring of 2017 so that he can finally see the world from its highest point. He is taking this opportunity to raise money for our Charity – the national charity of the British Army, a charity that helped him considerably after his injuries in Afghanistan.
Les will talk about the challenges he faced – and will face again – at the Royal Geographical Society.
Tue 28 March 2017, 18:45 to 21:45
Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR
Tickets start at £20.00 + booking fee and can be ordered here.