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Shereen's Sunday interview with Graham Ratcliffe

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Shereen Nanjiani Shereen Nanjiani | 09:45 UK time, Monday, 21 February 2011

This week's special guest was Graham Ratcliffe, the first man to climb Everest twice. Graham's just written a book about Everest's worst ever disaster in 1996 when eight people died in one night after a ferocious storm.

Graham was there that night and the nagging feeling that he could have done something to save lives has plagued him ever since. For a long time he couldn't talk about it or even read any of the hundreds of articles that were written about the events that led to so many deaths.

Finally he decided to research it for himself and what he found out shocked him. According to Graham, the two team leaders who led the climbers to their deaths disregarded a weather forecast warning of dangerous conditions. It's Graham's belief that they did so because of the intense pressure to get their clients to the summit. People pay a lot of money and it's become big business.

His book outlines the mistakes that were made and the frustration he felt at not being able to help. Graham had actually seen a couple of the climbers who were in trouble but hadn't realised what was going on as no-one had raised the alarm.

It's a moving story and one Graham feels he's finally come to terms with now that he's found out the truth. He also tells me that lessons have been learnt since that night on Everest though those who have been there tell me it's still big business.


Shereen is broadcast every Sunday on BBC Radio Scotland, 0900-1000.

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