Sat Bains suffers pulmonary edema in Everest dinner party bid
Chef Sat Bains' attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the highest-ever formal dinner party has ended after he descended from Mount Everest base camp on medical advice.
The two-Michelin-starred has been part of an attempt to raise £100,000 for Community Action Nepal, and had been planning to serve a full meal on 27 April at Everest's North Col, more than 23,000 ft (7,100 m) above sea level. Separately, Bains has raised nearly £23,000 for industry charity Hospitality Action.
The team shares some Champagne in dinner jackets at base camp to recognise Bains' contribution.
However he has been forced to descend to under 2,000m urgently, after he was diagnosed with the full symptoms of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), which can be life-threatening.
The symptoms arose after the team left base camp (5,182m) on Monday 20 April on a strenuous practice trek over a frozen lake at 5,300m.
On their return, the team were monitored by the expedition medics, who became concerned about a "stitch" Sat appeared to have acquired on his side.
After another shorter practice trek on Tuesday 21 April, Bains' symptoms increased with coughing and shortness of breath. After further tests, he was diagnosed with the full symptoms of HAPE.
He was closely monitored overnight on Tuesday and was given steroids and oxygen to alleviate the symptoms. After a full day of rest yesterday (Wednesday 22 April) under full medical supervision with oxygen at Base Camp, his lung capacity and breathing had not improved and the decision was taken for him to immediately descend.
However, before he to descended, the team dressed up in dinner jackets and Bains donned his whites to celebrate his achievement and give a sense of the event after all his commitment and effort.
Bains in his whites at base camp before his descent below 2,000m.
HAPE typically occurs at altitudes above 2,500m and remains the major cause of death related to high-altitude exposure, with a high mortality rate in the absence of adequate emergency treatment.
Bains has since begun his descent with oxygen to the hospital at Kathmandu (1400m), where he will receive further tests and treatment before being given permission to fly home.
Bains with oxygen mask as he is monitored by expedition medics.
It is not yet known if his existing asthma condition has been a contributing factor.
Speaking to The Caterer this morning (Friday 24 April), Bains, who was en route to hospital in Kathmandu, said: "I have to wait to get the all clear before I come home, but please thank everyone for their support, it's been incredible, and tell them I'm OK, but there's no Twitter or Google in China.
"I had to make a decision for the team and myself as I was willing to take the drugs and oxygen and continue, but it would have put others at risk and could have scuppered the World record attempt if they had to look after me and get me down from an even greater height.
"The last day of climbing we managed to go past the Japanese camp at 5,700 metres and that was a 15k trek over six to seven hours and that's what did it, I couldn't regain my breath on the way down so I knew it wasn't my asthma.
"I felt strong in body, mind and spirit throughout all of this and that's why it was so frustrating to leave, but my lungs just wouldn't convert air - it's a very strange feeling. It is very different to any form of respiratory shortage I've had in the past, and I've only been a mild asthma sufferer so it was harder to understand what was going on. But I had great people around me and we definitely made the right decision. I feel very upbeat for them all (and their challenge), and they have my full support.
"I just need to get all clear from the clinic later today so I can get back home to a very worried Amanda and team!"
The remaining members of the expedition team will leave Base Camp this weekend and continue their attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the World's Highest Dinner Party at North Col (7100m) on Thursday 30 April.
Speaking about Bains's departure from the venture, expedition advisor Ted Atkins said: "I so wanted more of this guy, but not at any price and going higher when going high had caused his illness.
"We had to set up a whole dinner near our camp so that we did get our slice of Sat. I also had to organise his evacuation to the Nepali border then onto the hospital in Kathmandu. It worked.
"We got our dinner and it was amazing. Sat found the breath he needed for this last act, looking fine in pressed chef whites.
"It has been a sad day, but a happy one too. Sat has left us with his food and a plan. The party goes on in his honour, he will be there with us, if in pre-packaged bags of amazement."
To donate, go to the team's fundraising page here.
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