Former Woldgate School pupil’s Everest challenge over due to altitude illness and Covid-19

A former Woldgate School pupil’s attempt to climb Mount Everest and K2 in the same year has suffered three major setbacks – ending his epic challenge.

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 9:35 am
Ex-Woldgate pupil Steve Davis.

Steve Davis, who is managing director of York-based property development company Grantside, suffered High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) during his attempt.

HAPE is a potentially fatal form of severe high-altitude illness, a Type of non radiogenic pulmonary edema caused by hypoxia.

Following his transfer to hospital, it was revealed Mr Davis had caught Covid-19 and also had pneumonia.

This led to him being moved to an intensive care unit along with other Covid patients in the hospital. It has been reported that dozens of climbers have been evacuated from Mount Everest Base Camp due to Covid.

Mr Davis said in his blog: “After another bad night’s sleep and waking up feeling like I’ve been run over by a king size Yak I make a request to see the base camp doctors and it doesn’t take long to confirm my worst fears – I have HAPE.

“My choices are simple if I do nothing I’ll die, if I try to continue higher up the mountain I’ll die quicker, I must go down in altitude as soon as possible for the condition to be reversed and hopefully we have caught it in time so there will be no lasting effects.

“Elite Exped arrange for a heli transfer down to Namche Bazar dropping me 2,000m in altitude. Shortly after breakfast of toast a doctor visited me and breaks the news that my Covid test is positive and I have pneumonia to boot.

“ICU isn’t a great place, for obvious reasons, its very noisy and rather chaotic and is non-stop until after midnight and kick starts again around 6am, the nurses and doctors are, however, friendly and efficient and do everything to make me feel as comfortable as they can.

“My iPhone provides the lifeline I need to my wife and kids and they send me messages of support and encouragement on a regular basis.

“Back on the mountain I see from my team’s instagram accounts that they are preparing for the first rotation, as quick as the idea that I could go back up the mountain and try again pops in my head I dismiss it, the mountain will wait and my wife has been through enough for 2021 but one things for sure, one day, maybe next year maybe the year after I’ll get to the top of that mountain.

“I have had lots of message and kind notes from lots of friends and well wishers, so many people with such kindness and love is really beautiful and lifting me each day, so thank you to everyone that is taking the time to drop me a WhatsApp, messenger, email or call – much appreciated.”