Press Release

Date 08-05-03

SARS Outbreak Forces Wheelchair Explorer To Delay Everest Expedition

08.05. 2003. London. Less than a week before the start of a wheelchair explorer's expedition to the Tibetan side of Mount Everest, the China Tibet Tourism Bureau has closed the country to foreigners in an attempt to prevent the spread of the SARS virus.

Glenn Shaw, who suffers from Brittle Bones and is confined to a wheelchair (when not driving his Land Rover or paddling a canoe), has been organising the Everest expedition for over two years. "This was going to be my 50th anniversary tribute to Hillary and Tenzing's first ascent in 1953," explained Glenn. The expedition had been planning to reach Base Camp on May 29th, exactly fifty years to the day since the historic achievement.

As a result of the decision to close Tibet, Glenn and his team have been forced to delay the start of the expedition until favourable weather conditions return to the mountain in the autumn. "Obviously, all the members and sponsors are very disappointed," Glenn said. "But as a responsible expedition we respect the action that the authorities have taken. The health and well-being of the people of Tibet must be everyone's first concern." Glenn's supporters and sponsors are all standing by him.

Mount Everest enjoys two brief periods of calm and stable weather each year: April and May, and October and November. The rest of the time, strong winds and heavy snowfall can make approaches to the mountain unpleasant and even hazardous. "I need the best possible conditions if I am to stand a chance of reaching Everest," explained Glenn. "I can't go in May so I have no choice but to be patient and wait until October.

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Glenn Shaw is a past recipient of a ski scholarship from the American National Sports Centre For The Disabled. In 2001, he was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, which enabled him to undertake a voyage by sea kayak around part of the Antarctic coastline. Glenn has also worked with Brunel University's Research and Development Team to develop kayaking equipment for fellow disabled explorers.

Glenn Shaw 07880 507263, email:
Steven Day 07931 777777, email:

Notes: See for high resolution photography, biography, sponsors and details of the expedition.

For more information on the decision to close Tibet to foreigners, visit:

website by rayzume