A MOUNTAINEER has spoken of his shock after climbers were killed in an avalanche on Mont Blanc, just weeks after he took on the challenge.
Bryan Merrett was part of a team of six that attempted to climb one of the most deadly mountain routes in the Alps, but were advised by guides to turn around after 4,000 metres up because it was too dangerous.
Just three weeks after the landlord’s ten-hour trek, which included one of the guides breaking his leg during the descent, an avalanche along the same route killed nine climbers - including three Brits - and injured 14 others on Thursday.
The highest death toll in almost 50 years has been recorded following the Mont Maudit devastation.
“I couldn’t believe it, three weeks later and that could have been us,” said the 50-year-old property developer, who himself has undergone surgery on his knee recently following a skiing accident.
“They did the exact same route as us too but set off a little later, it was shocking to hear.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t get to complete the climb. I got so close and to be told to turn around was such a disappointment.
“We knew it would be dangerous. It wasn’t just a walk in the park, it was really intense. The conditions such as hail, rain and fog were incredible and the altitude was nothing I’d ever experienced before. I’d been training for the best part of a year.”
Despite living off bread and cheese, sleeping in a cramped wood cabin with at least 20 others and more importantly experiencing the life-threatening risks during the challenge, the Aurora charity shop landlord, formerly of Tickhill, said he could be tempted to do the climb again.
Around £500 has been raised from the climb for the Aurora charity which offers alternative treatments for cancer patients at its sites in Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Mexborough Montagu Hospital.
People can still donate by visiting www.charitygiving.co.uk/bryanmerrett or giving money to the Aurora charity shop in Scot Lane.