TV personalities Ollie Ollerton and Nims Purja summit Nepal mountain to raise money for Royal British Legion

The TV stars and former Special Boat Services operatives took on the challenge ahead of Armistice Day

TV personalities Ollie Ollerton and Nims Purja have summitted a Nepalese mountain to raise money for the Royal British Legion. Matthew ‘Ollie’ Ollerton, who is a former UK Special Forces Soldier and directing staff from Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, and Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja, star of star of Netflix’s 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, took on the challenge ahead of Armistice Day on Friday 11 November 2022.

The pair, who are both former Special Boat Services operatives, led an expedition up the 6,812m-high Ama Dablam, and were accompanied on the challenge by other former Special Forces soldiers and Royal Marines Commandos. Amongst the group was also Aldo Kane, a former Royal Marines sniper-turned record breaker and TV personality, who is known for abseiling into the world’s most active volcano for a BBC documentary called called Expedition Volcano.

Ollie said: “It was one of my life’s greatest privileges to be part of this expedition, accompanying a group of some of the bravest souls that I have been proud to call my military brothers up the steep faces of one of Nepal’s most celebrated peaks.”

The expedition initially made a two-day hike from Lukla to Namche Bazaar, a town to the southwest of Mount Everest, in Nepal’s Khumbu region, where it spent a day acclimatising to the altitude at 3,440m, or 11,286 ft. From here it progressed to Deboche via the Tengboche Monastery, a Buddhist monastery sitting in the Sagarmatha National Park, and then Ama Dablam base camp at 4,800m, or 15,748 ft. After further training and acclimatisation, the group summited on 7 November.

The group climbed the 6,812m, or 22,349 feet, high peak to honour the many British soldiers who have given their lives in conflict and also to support of the Royal British Legion. The team marked the moment they summitted with a two-minute silence and also placed a wreath at the top in honour our fallen heroes. The Royal British Legion is a charity which supports serving personnel, veterans and their families.

While the expedition was technically straightforward for Nims because of his mountaineering experience, it was much a challenging climb for the rest of the group. Ollie had climbed Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps at 4,807m, or 15,771 ft, in 2018, but he described the feeling of climbing the Ama Dablam as like “breathing through wet leather”.

Ollie said: “[This has] allowed us to reflect on our shared experiences and remember those we have lost along the way, and the moment we hit the summit was emotionally charged, to say the least. I knew I would come down the mountain a different person and this was so, so true.”

A Royal British Legion spokesperson said: “We are incredibly grateful to Ollie, Nims, Aldo and the team for encouraging people to donate to the Royal British Legion during their challenging climb. There are many ways to participate in the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance, from donating or wearing a poppy to taking a moment to reflect and remember the sacrifices of those who serve, past and present.”

Donations can be made to the Royal British Legion fundraising campaign by visiting Ollie Ollerton’s JustGiving page.

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