For the first time in history, currently serving Gurkha soldiers have summitted the tallest peak in the world, Mount Everest.
The Gurkha climbing team poses during the 2015 attempt that was eventually abandoned after a massive earthquake struck the Gurkhas' homeland and destroyed the Everest base camp. (Photo: British Ministry of Defence)
The Gurkhas had previously attempted the climb the mountain in 2015 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Gurkha Brigade, but the climb was abandoned when a massive earthquake struck the area around the mountain, triggering an avalanche that destroyed the base camp.
The 2015 team abandoned the climb and rushed to aid those affected by the quake. Gurkhas are recruited out of a small region of Nepal that sits in the same mountain range as Everest, and many of the team members had immediate family affected by the quake.
Gurkha soldiers celebrate their successful climb of Mount Everest after they reached the summit on May 15,
2017. (Photo: British Ministry of Defence)
They returned in 2017 thanks to a decision by the Nepal Ministry of Tourism to honor all 2015 Everest permits for an additional two years.
The climb is a grueling challenge under even the best of conditions. The base camp sits over three miles above sea level and each camp above that is more than half a mile above the previous camp.
The summit sits 5.5 miles above sea level, where the air is so thin that most climbers rely on bottled oxygen for much of the climb.