Elderly Hong Kong Couple’s Everest Challenge Ends

This year, a senior couple from Hong Kong attempted to scale Mount Everest, one of the world’s toughest climbs. With the summit only 100 meters from reach, the couple made the most difficult decision of their life—return.Wong Yim Leung, 69, and Ho Suk Chu, or Stella, 65, are both mountaineering coaches in Hong Kong. Reaching the summit of Mount Everest had always been the couple’s dream and also the aspiration of many professional mountaineers. Having overcome nearly all difficulties in harsh weather conditions at high altitudes, resisting risk and temptation at a critical moment is not only wise but also takes enormous courage. “[During our journey], we had always heard the voice of an Indian woman talking on the phone every day from a camp next to us … She left three hours ahead of us on the day of the summit, [which] we had decided to turn back due to bad weather,” Wong told The Epoch Times. “I didn’t see her come back that night, and I really wish we could hear her voice again. I hope there is some news about her soon.” Wong was anxious to share his story after descending Everest, but not his experience or feelings about the climb, but his concern for a climber he had never met. When things didn’t go according to plan at a critical moment—100 meters away from the summit—the couple chose to give up their dream of reaching the world’s highest peak. Stella described it as the moment to “step back and consider better plans.” After retirement, Wong and Stella spent most of their life saving and preparing for the climb to the world’s highest mountain—Mount Everest. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung) After retirement, the couple spent most of their life saving and preparing for the climb to the world’s highest mountain—Mount Everest. In 2008, the couple completed the climb to Mount Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America at 6,194 meters. About 10 years ago, Wong completed the climb to Mount Everest, which later became Stella’s goal. Wong had been secretly saving up for many years to take Stella on the journey while insisting on training together with her. This year this couple decided to make their dream a reality. Mount Everest in good weather. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung) In March, the couple flew to Nepal to train and prepare for the Mount Everest climb. On May 21, with sunny weather forecast, Wong and Stella decided to set off at around 9 p.m., anticipating reaching the summit on the second day. The couple were fully geared up with protective goggles and oxygen masks and joined by three Sherpa guides as they made their way up the mountain via the South Col, a sharp-edged col between Mount Everest and Lhotse. The weather turns bad on the way to the summit of Mount Everest. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung) However, the weather conditions suddenly worsened as the wind speed gradually increased. “It was very difficult to breathe with the heavy wind blowing around us, not to mention with the oxygen masks,” Wong said. “It was very frightening … impossible to move forward.” Wong said one of the Sherpa guides was struggling to walk and keep his balance in front of him. The group went up the south summit at 8,759 meters, with the wind speed reaching 80 km/hr. “How does it feel to be in an 80 km/hr gale wind? You feel as if you might get blown away even if you were holding onto a sturdy pole,” Wong said. The horrific moment was when Wong knew they needed to descend in order to avoid a life-threatening outcome. Despite the three guides encouraging them to carry on forward as they were only 100 meters from the summit, Wong decided not to take the risk. “We were almost rolling down the hill during the descent. The gale wind was almost unbearable; our bodies were stiffened from the freezing temperature, and our eyelashes were covered in ice,” Wong said. “However, we did safely make it out eventually.” Stella recalled that she saw an Indian woman with two Sherpa guides ahead of them with their headlamps on in the dark, heading toward the summit. Upon returning to camp, Wong and Stella were anxious to see if the group had returned safely, but there was no sign nor any news. Wong and Stella fully geared up with protective goggles and oxygen masks. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung) After returning to Camp 4, Wong’s team settled down, still thinking that there might be a chance to reach the summit. After a few hours of rest, in the afternoon of May 23, an Everest rescue team came to check on the camp’s condition. The rescue team recommended immediate evacuation as “bad weather [was] heading their way.” Upon hearing the news, Wong and Stella were glad to have made the right call to descend. They were utterly exhausted at that point, but without any delay, they packed up and moved from Camp 4 to Camp 2, at a lower altitude. The Mount Everest climb. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung) To avoid further risk, Wong and Stella decided not to stay long at Camp 2. Although they were exhausted, they knew they would

Elderly Hong Kong Couple’s Everest Challenge Ends

This year, a senior couple from Hong Kong attempted to scale Mount Everest, one of the world’s toughest climbs. With the summit only 100 meters from reach, the couple made the most difficult decision of their life—return.

Wong Yim Leung, 69, and Ho Suk Chu, or Stella, 65, are both mountaineering coaches in Hong Kong.

Reaching the summit of Mount Everest had always been the couple’s dream and also the aspiration of many professional mountaineers. Having overcome nearly all difficulties in harsh weather conditions at high altitudes, resisting risk and temptation at a critical moment is not only wise but also takes enormous courage.

“[During our journey], we had always heard the voice of an Indian woman talking on the phone every day from a camp next to us … She left three hours ahead of us on the day of the summit, [which] we had decided to turn back due to bad weather,” Wong told The Epoch Times. “I didn’t see her come back that night, and I really wish we could hear her voice again. I hope there is some news about her soon.”

Wong was anxious to share his story after descending Everest, but not his experience or feelings about the climb, but his concern for a climber he had never met.

When things didn’t go according to plan at a critical moment—100 meters away from the summit—the couple chose to give up their dream of reaching the world’s highest peak. Stella described it as the moment to “step back and consider better plans.”

Epoch Times Photo
After retirement, Wong and Stella spent most of their life saving and preparing for the climb to the world’s highest mountain—Mount Everest. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung)

After retirement, the couple spent most of their life saving and preparing for the climb to the world’s highest mountain—Mount Everest.

In 2008, the couple completed the climb to Mount Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America at 6,194 meters.

About 10 years ago, Wong completed the climb to Mount Everest, which later became Stella’s goal.

Wong had been secretly saving up for many years to take Stella on the journey while insisting on training together with her. This year this couple decided to make their dream a reality.

Epoch Times Photo
Mount Everest in good weather. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung)

In March, the couple flew to Nepal to train and prepare for the Mount Everest climb.

On May 21, with sunny weather forecast, Wong and Stella decided to set off at around 9 p.m., anticipating reaching the summit on the second day.

The couple were fully geared up with protective goggles and oxygen masks and joined by three Sherpa guides as they made their way up the mountain via the South Col, a sharp-edged col between Mount Everest and Lhotse.

Epoch Times Photo
The weather turns bad on the way to the summit of Mount Everest. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung)

However, the weather conditions suddenly worsened as the wind speed gradually increased.

“It was very difficult to breathe with the heavy wind blowing around us, not to mention with the oxygen masks,” Wong said. “It was very frightening … impossible to move forward.”

Wong said one of the Sherpa guides was struggling to walk and keep his balance in front of him. The group went up the south summit at 8,759 meters, with the wind speed reaching 80 km/hr.

“How does it feel to be in an 80 km/hr gale wind? You feel as if you might get blown away even if you were holding onto a sturdy pole,” Wong said.

The horrific moment was when Wong knew they needed to descend in order to avoid a life-threatening outcome. Despite the three guides encouraging them to carry on forward as they were only 100 meters from the summit, Wong decided not to take the risk.

“We were almost rolling down the hill during the descent. The gale wind was almost unbearable; our bodies were stiffened from the freezing temperature, and our eyelashes were covered in ice,” Wong said. “However, we did safely make it out eventually.”

Stella recalled that she saw an Indian woman with two Sherpa guides ahead of them with their headlamps on in the dark, heading toward the summit. Upon returning to camp, Wong and Stella were anxious to see if the group had returned safely, but there was no sign nor any news.

Epoch Times Photo
Wong and Stella fully geared up with protective goggles and oxygen masks. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung)

After returning to Camp 4, Wong’s team settled down, still thinking that there might be a chance to reach the summit. After a few hours of rest, in the afternoon of May 23, an Everest rescue team came to check on the camp’s condition. The rescue team recommended immediate evacuation as “bad weather [was] heading their way.”

Upon hearing the news, Wong and Stella were glad to have made the right call to descend. They were utterly exhausted at that point, but without any delay, they packed up and moved from Camp 4 to Camp 2, at a lower altitude.

Epoch Times Photo
The Mount Everest climb. (Courtesy of Wong Yim Leung)

To avoid further risk, Wong and Stella decided not to stay long at Camp 2. Although they were exhausted, they knew they wouldn’t be able to cross the Rongbuk Glacier with their physical condition. After careful consideration, they decided to call for help. A rescue helicopter flew them back to Everest Base Camp, marking the end of their endeavor.

“Sometimes, you must make difficult choices and adapt if unexpected events occur. We are thankful to be alive and to have avoided injuries in this dangerous endeavor,” Wong said.

As for Stella, she said that her wishes had been fulfilled and that she realized it is important to know when to stop as things are not always perfect.

Although Wong and Stella didn’t complete the climb, they said they have no regrets and are happy that they chose safety over their temptation in a critical moment that could decide their life or death.

“Take one step back, and you will see more possibilities,” Stella said, quoting a famous Chinese expression.