• JON CLIMBS MOUNT EVEREST IN ADVENTURE FILLED WITH TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY

Renowned West Midlands Veterinary Referrals Jon Mill has climbed Mount Everest in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that was filled with jubilation and sorrow.

While Jon, who co-founded West Midlands Veterinary Referrals, successfully reached the summit, he also faced the harrowing scenario of seeing a climber and a sherpa die on the slopes of the world’s highest mountain.

Jon also faced his own personal battles to conquer the mountain in the imposing Himalayas.

His health was deteriorating as he reached out for Camp 3 and worsened to the point where he was forced back to Basecamp with suspected pneumonia, meaning an emergency airlift and medical care before he returned to Mount Everest to start again.

The setback provided extra motivation and when Jon returned, he covered distances much quicker than he had dared hope for.  

Six days after leaving Basecamp, Jon reached the summit and fulfilled an ambition he’d had since he was a young boy when his father gave him a book called ‘The Ascent of Everest’.

Jon’s time on the summit, where he flew a West Midlands Veterinary Referrals flag as a nod to the company that he has been very proud to be associated with, was short-lived though. The weather took a terrible turn for the worse, and triumph soon turned to tragedy on the descent while still near the top of the mountain.

Writing about the harrowing experience near the summit when he was unable to help a climber and a sherpa despite desperate efforts to keep them alive, Jon, who built a close bond with his own sherpa, Furinji, said: “We were alone on the extreme roof of the world with two men who were neck deep in trouble.

“There was no chance of helicopter rescue at that altitude (8,800m), and in any case, it would have been impossible in that weather.

“We left two men to die alone because to have stayed would have made it four dying men, but walking away and trying not to look back was an unbelievably hard thing to do.

“When you hear of people dying it is a statistic; when you have held their hands, looked into their eyes and then you have to walk away and leave them to die alone, it is completely different and I struggled to think about anything else for days. Their faces haunted my dreams.”

Despite this adversity, Jon, who has completed many other epic challenges, including skiing across Greenland and cycling across South America, is already planning his next adventure in Antarctica by trekking from the coast and then climbing Mount Vinson before returning to the coast.

Jon, who retired from West Midlands Veterinary Referrals last year, leaving the legacy of a renowned multidisciplinary referral centre, said: “When people ask the question why climb Mount Everest, no one explains it better than the famous mountaineer George Mallory.

“Firstly, because it is there and, secondly, anyone who asks the question wouldn’t understand the answer.”

Jon has written about his adventures including climbing Mount Everest, and hopes these will be published through Amazon in the coming months under the title 'Restless'.