Eastlake Football Club Building for 2017

Eastlake Football Club is pleased to confirm midfielder Ciaran O’Rourke and key defender Alex Wilson headline a number of re-signing’s for the 2017 season as the Club builds on the foundations laid in the 2016 by continuing Playing Coach Dan Ryall. O’Rourke re

Over 40? Be a Master of the [Dragon Boat] Universe!

Dragon Flyers welcome new starters at Come and Try Day Canberra’s only dragon boat club for over 40 year olds, the Dragon Flyers will welcome new recruits at their annual Come and Try Day at Lotus Bay, Lake Burley Griffin this Saturday 24 September at 11am. The d

ACT Premier Squash Competition - Round 6 Preview

Round 6 this week will be held at the Active Leisure Centre, Erindale from 7pm. With the competition half way completed, players are looking to perform a little better up against their opponents this week for the second time in the competition. Adam Gauntlet has fou

Tuggeranong go back-to-back to take ACT Netball Title

Tuggeranong have won back-to-back Canterbury State League championships defeating Arawang 68-55 in the division one grand final played at the SolarHub ACT Netball Centre in Lyneham. Arawang began strongly scoring the opening three goals before Tuggeranong goal shoot

Five in a row for clinical Central

A clinical and well-structured Central were simply too good for a gallant Goulburn in the Capital League 1 grand-final on Saturday evening. Central scored a goal in each half and ran out deserving winners and in so doing, earned their fifth premiership in five years.

Eastlake Football Club Building for 2017

Eastlake Football Club Building for 2017

Eastlake Football Club is pleased to confirm midfielder Ciaran O’Rourke and key defender Alex Wilson headline a number of re-signing’s for the 2017 season as the Club builds on the foundations laid in the 2016 by continuing Playing Coach Dan Ryall. O’Rourke returned...
Over 40? Be a Master of the [Dragon Boat] Universe!

Over 40? Be a Master of the [Dragon Boat] Universe!

Dragon Flyers welcome new starters at Come and Try Day Canberra’s only dragon boat club for over 40 year olds, the Dragon Flyers will welcome new recruits at their annual Come and Try Day at Lotus Bay, Lake Burley Griffin this Saturday 24 September at 11am. The day...

ACT Premier Squash Competition – Round 6 Preview

Round 6 this week will be held at the Active Leisure Centre, Erindale from 7pm.

With the competition half way completed, players are looking to perform a little better up against their opponents this week for the second time in the competition.
Adam Gauntlet has found some winning form the last few weeks and will be keen to put some pressure on the more fancied Corey Bedingfield. Graham McKay has been the inform player on Line 2 so far, however, Sean Rogers will be keen to continue where he left of last week after his first win.
Corey Markham and Ben Phillips are also sure to have a ripper of a match, with Corey keen for pay back after Ben made easy work of Corey during Round 1.
Jamie Latham and James Rusk are also likely to have a tough match with both players keen to put themselves in a strong position for the finals. With the top ranked player being away for a few week on line 3, all players will be looking to take advantage of the opportunity for important points.

Line 1 Matches
Corey Bedingfield (SCSC) v Adam Gauntlet (VSC)
Hayden Ross (DSC) v Finian Kennedy (DSC)
Charan Walia (SCSC) v Peter Nuttall (SCSC)

Line 2 Matches
Graham McKay (DSC) v Sean Rogers (SCSC)
Alex Lock (SCSC) v Leigh Bishop (QSC)
Corey Markham (QSC) v Ben Phillips (DSC)

Line 3 Matches
Lachy Watt (SCSC) v Dirk Phillips (SCSC)
Jamie Latham (VSC) v James Rusk (QSC)
Zac Morris (SCSC) v Ian Kildea (DSC)


Tuggeranong go back-to-back to take ACT Netball Title

Tuggeranong have won back-to-back Canterbury State League championships defeating Arawang 68-55 in the division one grand final played at the SolarHub ACT Netball Centre in Lyneham.

Arawang began strongly scoring the opening three goals before Tuggeranong goal shooter Jo Pivac landed her side’s first goal of the match.

Tuggeranong quickly found their rhythm and established an 11-8 lead with six minutes remaining in the quarter.

However, Arawang with goal shooter Jacoba Clough shooting accurately finished the opening term best to lead 17-16.

Tuggeranong came out strongly at the start of the second quarter as their midcourt of Breanna Toze, Maddie White and Carly Symons started to gain control.

They scored the first six goals of the quarter to set up a four-goal advantage, which they increased to six (32-26) at the halftime break.

The third quarter saw Arawang commit a number of unforced errors and Tuggeranong took full advantage.

Goal shooters Jo Pivac and Sophie Immonen capitalised on their opportunities and the defending champions set up a 53-40 lead heading into the final term.

Arawang tried hard in the final quarter but Tuggeranong proved too strong running out deserved 13 goal winners.

Tuggeranong coach Nicole Bowles said she couldn’t have been more proud of her side’s efforts.

“Winning another grand final is a surreal feeling, its just sinking in,” Bowles said.

“The victory is testament to the players hard work and how they have come together throughout the season.”

“At times today the game was ugly but they just kept working hard for each other and got the result in the end.”

Arawang coach Kim Symons said Tuggeranong were deserved winners.

“They were the better team on the day, made fewer errors and capitalised on their opportunities,” Symons said.

“I can’t fault my players effort they fought hard right to the end.”

“We’ve come along way as a group and have blooded a lot of younger players who will benefit enormously for playing in a finals series and grand final.”

The 2016 Canterbury State League Most Valuable Player went to Queanbeyan’s Kate Da Silva.

Five in a row for clinical Central

A clinical and well-structured Central were simply too good for a gallant Goulburn in the Capital League 1 grand-final on Saturday evening. Central scored a goal in each half and ran out deserving winners and in so doing, earned their fifth premiership in five years.

Grand Final result:
Central 2 def. Goulburn 0

Central were clearly prepared for this encounter and simply brilliant in their determination and resilience throughout a game they managed to perfection. They controlled the tempo of the game from the outset and dictated the play, pressuring Goulburn’s defence in the opening minutes and giving the minor-premiers little time to influence the play. Every Central player contributed with energy and commitment to the cause. Troy Sutherland was especially busy, creating havoc in Goulburn’s defence with clever interceptions and strong ball running. He was everywhere, even helping out in defence, pulling off amazing tackles in his defensive circle and then turning defence into attack, finding quick outlets to enable Central to maintain their relentless pressure on Goulburn.

Dan Hotchkis, side-lined through injury for the last few weeks, entered the fray in the 10th minute and had immediate impact with clever interceptions, astute and effective passing and ball running. Midway through the first half, Central should have been ahead when a clever pass by midfielder Thomson Stuckey split the Goulburn defence. He found Sutherland in the circle in space only to see his shot go wide. Inevitably, it was the irrepressible Matt Hotchkis who broke the deadlock. He had also had been busy across the park and in the 22nd minute, he received a ball from Jamie Hawke and hammered a tomahawk from the top of the circle to give Goulburn’s keeper Jason Brayshaw no chance.

Central simply gained momentum from this fillip and continued to dominate, enjoying the one goal lead at the break. The second half was much the same as the first with Central pressuring Goulburn into error giving them little time on the ball and forcing them to make rushed passes which were routinely intercepted by Central’s defence. Try as they might, Goulburn had few genuine chances in the circle. They did manage to earn more penalty corners than their opposition but even Aaron Kershaw’s usually reliable execution was matched by brilliant saves by Central’s obdurate corner defence.

One of Goulburn’s support crew was heard to suggest disconsolately after the game that “you can’t win if you don’t score goals”. Few of Goulburn’s normally reliable forwards were able to have any real impact. Dean Evans, Dan Fleming as well as Jake Staines had relatively quiet games and were never able to settle. Although they tried mightily, they could not breach a determined and well-organised Central defence which offered few genuine opportunities inside their defensive circle. When Goulburn did penetrate, brilliant goalkeeping by Luke Black or timely tackling by Central’s defensive unit led by Tim Black and Andrew Tomadini turned back any threat.

Goulburn were punished brutally and their aspirations for a first premiership disappeared in an instant in the 60th minute of the game when Matt Hotchkis received the ball after clever work between his brother Dan and Stuckey. The ball reached Matt and with little space and time to react, he repeated his earlier technique, again hammering the ball into the net. His fist-pump reaction and the plaudits from his comrades bore eloquent testimony to the significance of the goal – a successful defence of their premiership.

For his efforts, Hotchkis was also named Man of the Match – an accolade which may easily have been awarded to any number of his team-mates. His Coach David Weir and the Central brains trust should also be given credit for their motivation, structure and game plan, not to mention the quality of the team’s skills and their unrelenting determination.

For Goulburn, the premiership remains an elusive goal, but their Captain and dual Brophy Medallist Aaron Kershaw was magnanimous in his praise of the premiers, observing that Central’s premiership record is the benchmark to which his team will aspire.


St Pats come from behind to win grand-final

St Pats had to come from behind to beat ANU 3-1 in the Capital League 1 grand-final on Saturday. With the scores locked at 1-1 at the break, St Pats dominated for much of the second period as ANU struggled to find cohesion and were unable to apply sustained pressure on the increasingly confident St Pats defence.

Grand-final result
St Pats 3 def. ANU 1

ANU started more purposefully against a tentative St Pats in the early minutes of the final and earned a penalty corner in the 5th minute after a clever run by Isobel Cowell. Jess Smith scored from the corner to give the students the start they would surely have wished to enjoy. They could have extended their lead to two goals almost immediately when a Jess Roche pass found Jenna Cartwright but she failed to control the ball with an open net begging. ANU would rue this missed opportunity as St Pats appeared to overcome their initial nervousness and settled into a rhythm with Rachel Brady, Emma Taylor and joint McKay Medallist Millie Monfries imposing themselves on the flow of the game.

The teams were back on even terms when a Taylor pass across goal was neatly put away by Aleisha Price in the 12th minute. St Pats’ elation was unbounded and as they grew in confidence, they peppered the ANU defence with Emily Woods taking control in midfield and Mikayla Evans and Price enjoying space. Only brilliant saves by Peta Sutherland in goals and some timely tackling by Rachel Barnsley for the students kept them in the game. In the final minutes before half time, ANU changed the focus of their attack to their right side with Shelley Watson and Tamika Bostock proving effective with clever control and astute passes. A Watson free hit found Smith in space and she forced a penalty corner as the siren for half time sounded but ANU was unable to take advantage of the opportunity with St Pats holding firm.

After the resumption, both sides were guilty of scrappy play but St Pats quickly gained composure and pressed forward. They went ahead for the first time in the match when they earned a penalty corner and in a neat variation, Nicola Williams hit from wide on the left to give them the lead. Their one-goal advantage spurred them on and with Evans and Monfries getting great service from Maggie Anable and Sam Picker, only a diving save from Bostock on the goal line kept ANU in the game.

St Pats were uncompromising and took control in midfield, searching to extend their lead as ANU looked increasingly disorganised and despite the best efforts of Emma Lomas who worked hard all game, they were unable maintain pressure. Midway through the half, a Taylor pass found Stef Kindon whose deflection just went wide and then with 11 minutes remaining, a penalty stroke was awarded to St Pats. Emma Taylor had missed a penalty in the semi-final but on this occasion, she made no mistake and with a two-goal buffer, St Pats had the premiership in their grasp. Their defence remained determined with outstanding efforts from Brady, Woods and Picker who were offering few chances to the students. Playing catch-up hockey in the final minutes, ANU seemed to have little structure and lacked imagination. As their chances of winning their first premiership in 16 years faded under relentless St Pats’ pressure, the students lost composure and were guilty of rushed passes, poor ball control and ill-discipline.

St Pats simply held on to run out comfortable winners and worthy premiers for the third time in four years. They have been consistent for much of the season and the quality of their game plan and the skills within the team suggest that they will dominate the competition for some time. Their Coach Darren Williams had a reasonably successful afternoon. In the game before the women’s CL1 grand-final, his CL2 men’s team defeated Wests 3-2; earlier in the afternoon, he suffered his only disappointment when the St Pats’ CL2 women’s side went down to a well-tuned Queanbeyan-Daramalan 0-3.

ANU will hopefully learn from the loss; they achieved a creditable result this season but still seem to lack tactical polish and an ability to execute their skills consistently – a challenge to be addressed for their next campaign.


Kade Klemke Canberra Demons New Coach

Canberra Demons, General Manager-Football, Shaun Young has today announced the appointment
of current Queanbeyan Tigers Football Club Coach Kade Klemke as Head Coach of the Canberra
Demons for season’s 2017 and 2018.
Kade has extensive coaching experience over recent years coaching at Queanbeyan since 2012,
which has seen the club winning two Premierships during his tenure as Coach.
General Manager-Football, Shaun Young, said “we are extremely excited to have Kade on Board to
lead the Canberra Demons program over the next couple of years”
“Kade brings with him a wealth of coaching knowledge and experience that will assist the Canberra
Demons in their endeavour to achieve success in the NEAFL competition. He will also build strong
relationships with the football families in the Canberra and Southern New South Wales regions, and
promote the Canberra Demons as the pathway for talented AFL players wanting to play at the
highest possible level without having to move interstate”.
Canberra Demons Coach, Kade Klemke, said “coaching the Canberra Demons is the next step in my
football journey and I am both proud and excited to be leading the Canberra Demons with a charter
of building a successful outfit in NEAFL”
“The Queanbeyan Tigers Football Club has been great for my development as a coach, and I cannot
thank them enough for their support over the past five years”
“I look forward to providing the opportunity for the best players in the Canberra and Southern New
South Wales regions, whilst developing the local emerging talent. My overarching philosophy is that
participating in any sporting competition is not about making up the numbers , it is about creating
and building the opportunity to be successful individuals and as a team.”

Results of Round 5 in ACT Premier Squash

Round 5 was again full of thrilling matches. Sean Rogers from Luton Properties reports.

Line 1

The match of the round was tipped to be the young guns going at it this week, Adam Gauntlet and Peter Nuttall. Unfortunately though, this wasn’t to be, with Peter having to retire ill. This sets the scene for Round 10 when the boys will meet again.

The other two matches provided some great entertainment, with both matches providing some great squash. Charan came out firing in the first game against Finian, with Finian bouncing back well in the second to make it one game each. Finian continued the third where he finished the second, winning the 3rd 11-3. Charan fought back in the 4th, taking it to a long game, with Finian coming out on top 15-13 in the 4th.

Hayden was competitive during most of his match against Corey, however Corey always managed to get in front when it counted, eventually wine 3 games to 1. A great effort though from Hayden given Corey’s dominance so far at the half way mark of the competition.

Results Adam Gauntlet (VSC) defeated Peter Nuttall (SCSC) 11-2, 11-1 (retired ill) Finian Kennedy (DSC) defeated Charan Walia (SCSC) 11-8, 4-11, 11-3, 15-13 Corey Bedingfield (SCSC) defeated Hayden Ross (DSC) 9-11, 11-7, 11-8,11-4

Line 2

As predicted, the line 2 match of the round was tipped to be Sean Rogers (SCSC) up against Ben Phillips (DSC). Over the years, these guys have had some close and tough matches, with this match no exception. Only 1 point separated them after 4 games, with Sean finally entering the winners circle winning 3-1.

With the Australian Junior Championships commencing in Sydney shortly, Alex Lock was looking to hit his straps leading into this event. The first game saw Graham McKay win a close one, 12-10. The next 3 games could have gone either way. Alex got up in the 2nd game 11-8 to make it one game all, however, Graham stuck to his guns, winning the next 2 games 11-8, 11-8.

Last but not least was Corey Makham versus Leigh Bishop. As tradition goes, Leigh commenced the match in his customary tracky daks, with Corey winning the first 11-9. Leigh left the court after the first, with words to the effect ‘man he’s harder to read than a book underwater’. With that, off came the tracky daks, with Leigh winning the 2nd 12-10 in a close one. Struggling to ‘read that book underwater’, Corey soldiered on, winning the next 2 games 11-5, 11-6.

Results Sean Rogers (SCSC) defeated Ben Phillips (DSC) 12-10, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7 Graham McKay (DSC) defeated Alex Lock (SCSC) 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-8 Corey Markham (QSC) defeated Leigh Bishop (QSC) 11-9, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6

Line 3

This week’s matches were a bit of a mixed bag. Jamie Latham was up against the young, fast Lachy Watt, however, Jamie proved to strong for Lachy this week, winning comfortably 3 games to nil.

The other young gun however, Zac Morris was up against James Rusk. This time, the young gun proved too strong for the Kiwi import, with Zac winning comfortably 3 games to nil.

The last match saw Mick Hookham reserve for big Russell, up against Dirk …Phillips. Both these guys love to run, which provided some great rallies throughout the match. The scene was set with games even at 1 all. Mick was able to nudge in front in the last 2 games however, winning 11-8, 11-6.

Results Jamie Latham (VSC) defeated Lachy Watt (SCSC) 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 Zac Morris (SCSC) defeated James Rusk (QSC) 11-8, 11-6, 11-5 Mick Hookham (SCSC) defeated Dirk Phillips (SCSC) 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6


Redeveloped Canberra Tennis Centre enhanced with more tennis events

The successful staging of the first two Pro-Tour events at the redeveloped Canberra Tennis Centre has resulted in an additional three international pro-tour tournaments now confirmed as part of the annual events calendar.

In addition, last month Tennis ACT was awarded the Parks and Leisure Australia (NSW/ACT) Award for Excellence for Leisure Facilities Development for the redevelopment of the Canberra Tennis Centre, and local construction firm Manteena, won the Master Builders Association $5-20m building award for Next Gen Canberra.

Tournament Director and Tennis ACT CEO Ross Triffitt said the redeveloped venue has given Tennis ACT capacity to create events catering for players at all levels, from beginner to professional.

“The increase in tournaments provides players from the ACT and surrounding region to gain Australian ranking points without having to travel,” Triffitt said. “They provide a launch pad for future tennis champions and since 2013, world No.16 Nick Kyrgios, James Duckworth, Sam Groth, Casey Dellacqua and Daria Gavrilova have all featured on the honour roll at Pro Tour events in Australia.

“For local professional players such as [360] Alison Bai and [1294] James Frawley, who spend the majority of the year on the road, it is a great opportunity to compete in their home town.  These events will showcase the amazing new facility we have in Canberra and the community will have the chance to watch world class tennis”.

“There is also an enormous benefit to the wider Canberra community, with an expected $13million plus worth of economic benefit to the Territory over the three year agreement”.

The three unanticipated tournaments, the Canberra Challenger (Jan 2017) and the ACT Claycourt Internationals #1 and #2 (March 2017) will increase the economic benefit to the ACT by an estimated $1million per annum.

International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior and Seniors events, along with a number of domestic tournaments, including the 12s/14s National Claycourt Championships, will also be staged at the new centre, as well as Australian Money Tournaments (AMT) offering $28,500 in prize money.

“We are really pleased with the success of the venue and international and national events it has attracted.  Although we are mindful these events do come at a cost to Tennis ACT and we will need to look for support locally to sustain them into the future”, Triffitt continued.

“We are very pleased with the high standard of the facilities at the redeveloped Canberra Tennis Centre,” Tennis Australia’s Director of Events and Facilities, Tom Larner, said.

“It’s tremendous for Canberra to have such a great venue and the opportunity to stage international tournaments at all levels, juniors, professional, seniors and wheelchair. We’ve had excellent feedback from the International Tennis Federation and the ATP and look forward to another successful summer of tennis in Canberra”.

The redeveloped Canberra Tennis Centre features 28 tennis courts – including synthetic grass, Italian clay and hardcourt surfaces – as well as four ANZ Tennis Hot Shots courts.

The redevelopment of the Canberra Tennis Centre was a tri-partite agreement between Tennis ACT, Tennis Australia and the ACT Government.

Events snapshot:

The Canberra International: 29 October – 6 November 2016

The Canberra International, a $50,000 ATP Challenger and ITF Women’s $50,000 event is the perfect lead in to the Australian Summer of Tennis. Players with ATP/WTA rankings between 100-300 will aim to improve their rankings ahead of the 2016 Australian Open. In 2015, Queensland’s Ben Mitchell completed a dream week in Canberra after fighting back from a set down to claim the Canberra International 2015 title in three sets over Luke Saville (SA). In the Women’s event, unseeded Asia Muhammad (USA) defeated the number 3 seed, Cindy Burger (NED) and number 2 seed, Eri Hozumi (JPN) to win the title.

The Canberra Challenger:  7 – 14 January 2017

The 2017 Canberra Challenger, a Men’s $75,000 ATP tournament and part of the Australian Pro Tour, will be held at the Canberra Tennis Centre for the second time. In 2015, ten of the world’s top 100 men played the event, with top seed Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) won the Canberra $75K ATP Challenger event after a straight sets victory over fifth seed Ivan Dodig (CRO).

ACT Claycourt International: 11-26 March 2017

The Canberra Tennis Centre will host the $25,000 ACT Claycourt International events from 11-26 March 2017. In 2015 the ACT Claycourt International events were the first professional event held on the redeveloped European clay courts. The 2015 ITF/WTA events were both won by Japanese entrants. Eri Hozumi (JPN) claimed the ACT Claycourt International #1 and Top seed Miyu Kato (JPN) defeated Anna Bondar (HUN) to win the ACT Claycourt International #2.

Entry to the Canberra Tennis Centre is free for all five Pro-Tour 2016/2017 events, with a gold coin donation upon entry on finals days.


Inward Bound 2016 at ANU

Across the Australian National University, students from the eight residential halls and colleges are currently clocking up training miles in preparation for the university’s annual Inward Bound. Now in its 54th year, this long-distance navigational running event remains the premier event on the ANU’s residential sporting calendar.

Inward Bound presents to each of its competitors a mental and physical challenge unlike any other. Dropped at an unknown location within the NSW and ACT region, runners are to make their way to a designated endpoint, using only basic navigational tools. Competitors travel on fire-trails, roads or through bushland, some covering up to 100km in the process.

Working behind the scenes, approximately three hundred volunteers are responsible for checking the participant’s gear, assisting with the transportation of runners and ensuring the safety of competitors and spectators during the event. It is estimated that more than six hundred spectators will drive out to cheer on the runners at Endpoint.

This year, whilst maintaining the history and traditions of the event, Inward Bound is also looking outward, teaming up with the charity Batyr. Founded by ANU alumnus Sebastian Robertson in 2010, Batyr aims to raise awareness of mental illness amongst young Australians. Through this partnership, organisers hope to highlight parallels between Batyr’s message and the nature of an event such as Inward Bound – that by embracing the support of others, even the toughest of challenges can be met. With each kilometre that passes, participants exhibit dedication, teamwork and resilience.

Links to and pride for the residences are built or strengthened, seeing competitors displaying feats of grit, courage and determination. Each year legends are made as stories of adversity overcome are recounted over the weeks that follow the event. After months of preparation, the organisers of Inward Bound hope to show this unique event to the wider community and highlight the impact that it has on its competitors, volunteers and spectators.

This year, Inward Bound is to be held on October 14-15. Training is currently taking place at ANU and surrounding regions. More information can be found on our website: www.anuinwardbound.com

Cover photo for this article by Julia Faragher

Ben Darlington – life saver; cancer survivor; Everest conquerer

To make it to the summit of Mount Everest, descend safely and live to tell the story, just once, is amazing.

To make it to the summit twice, descend safely and live to tell the story hints at remarkable courage and strength.

To make it to the summit of the world’s highest mountain as a married couple is truly remarkable.

And yet, modest Canberra electrician Ben Darlington has done all of these things, this year with his equally courageous wife Laura, who is now one of fewer than 15 Australian women to reach the summit.


Laura and Ben Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

This tale of survival rarely gets bigger for one man who had cheated death on several occasions – not just in mountain climbing, but also by defeating cancer.

What happened on the way down from Everest in May this year elevated Ben from a strong, successful, courageous and tenacious adventurer, to a life saver.

Descending to Camp 4 (at 26,000 feet it’s just 3,000 feet below the summit) Darlington committed self-sacrifice to save the life of a climber trapped and edging closer to death.

This part of Everest is known as the “Death Zone”, and it is very difficult to survive on or above this deadly altitude.

Incredibly, Ben, Laura, and the trapped climbers made it out and back down to Base Camp, but Ben suffered severe frostbite on his toes.


Ben Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

The condition of one of the trapped climbers, Robert Kay, was severe and  could have taken his life easily had he not received vital aid from the healthier married couple.

“Along with altitude sickness, two common conditions that extreme altitude climbers suffer from are pulmonary oedema – fluid on the lungs – and cerebral oedema – cerebral fluid on the brain. Robert had both.” Darlington explained.

Ben and Laura, with enough oxygen supply to last them through, opted to stay with Robert overnight at Camp 4 – both risking the same conditions which were threatening Robert Kay’s life.

Kay was found on the other side of their camp, barely breathing. 

“He had minutes to live.” Ben said.

“We dragged him into our tent with the help of another team member and injected him with Dexamethazone. This steroid injection put a small amount of life back into him and Robert was just alive”.


Ben Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

“We spent the whole night keeping him that way. Every moment that he was slipping away, Laura would administer drugs. She was amazing. To be able to do what she did at sea level is one thing, but at 8000 metres after her first summit was incredible and I was proud to watch”.

“I’m hopeless with patients so I was organising the rescue for the morning and keeping the maximum flow rate of oxygen to Robert”.

“That night was the longest night of our lives”.

“[Laura and I] had enough oxygen to last us the night, but we had to save it to keep a sufficient supply.” Ben said.

The couple and the stranded climbers were at 7,000 metres at the time and Robert had to be brought down to 6,500 metres in 14 hours in order to save his life.

“Robert survived but was very weak. We needed to move as three nights at Camp 4 is the maximum and Robert wouldn’t last another night. We left Camp 4 with our lead Sherpa clipped, and we pulled Robert from the front and I held Robert vertical from behind as we started to descend.”

Laura continued to supply drugs and oxygen to Robert as they ascended down to Camp 2, with her and Ben’s oxygen supplies running low.

They made it to Camp 2 safely, where a helicopter eventually arrived and took Robert to Kathmandu hospital, where he received expert care and eventually recovered.


Ben and Laura Darlington. // Photo supplied by Ben Darlington

The journey to the summit of Mount Everest is one of the toughest challenges known to man. Altitude sickness, oedema, hypothermia and falls have taken the lives of almost 280 people in the last few decades.

For Ben and Laura, it was a tight race to the top, pushing past other climbers, and they had to watch their oxygen flow rates.

But once at the summit, Ben described the feeling at the top of the world with his wife as a rare feat.

“After spending a planned extra day at camp 4 we left on our summit push at around 8am, but quickly found ourselves catching up to slower climbers, with too many to pass.” Ben stated.

“Experience told me to turn down our oxygen flow rates and settle in to a slow pace for a long night”.

“Laura fell into a small crevasse that I failed to point out. But she gets up and keeps going. It was peaceful with medium wind, beautiful sheet lightning over the mountains behind us and the odd “what the f*** are you doing here? Hurry the f*** up or f*** off!” coming from my mouth”.

“We continued higher with me watching Laura’s every move but she was climbing like a pro. Every hard section I thought she might crack, but she powered up. By this time the sun was rising and we were a couple hours from the summit”.

“I knew we were going to make it”.

“We crested the south summit, carefully climbing along the traverse, up the Hillary step and on to the summit”.

“What an amazing and scary feeling, being on the top of the world with your wife. I couldn’t believe we both made it together”.

“It will be hard to top in our lifetime.”

The electrician revealed that he was aware of his frostbitten condition while at Camp 4 and how it came about, but that he had more important matters to worry about at the time.

“When at Camp 4 in the tent with Robert, he was hypothermic and the tent was small. I had my feet under him and they got cold, real cold, frostbite cold”.

“At the time, I knew I was getting frost bite, but we had bigger issues”.

“I have paid the price”.

“Once frost-bitten, you don’t take your boots off until you have options, as feet swell and my boots wouldn’t go back on. So at Base Camp I took my boots off and realised I had bad frost bite. The next morning, I was choppered to Kathmandu”.

“Life is not meant to be easy”.

“Our experiences shape who we are, and help us understand life. 8000 metre expeditions certainly have many highs and lows but this takes the cake.”

Darlington, who owns and runs a very successful electrical contracting company in Canberra servicing Property Management, Strata and Facilities Management companies, began his passion for mountain climbing in Peru, South America in 2011, before beginning his first ascent to Mount Everest in 2012.

However, Ben was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013, and, despite successful treatment and recovery on the first round, it returned again in Peru in 2014.

This time it had spread to the stomach, and he had to undertake further treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He eventually recovered for the second time.

Despite this, he would not let such a setback halt his dream and passion for mountain climbing, and proved it by ascending the deadly top-of-the-world summit once again.

It proved a very successful comeback.

Darlington also had some useful advice on what it would take to survive such a deadly mountainous adventure.

He said that one must first know their area and allow their bodies to adapt to altitude without ‘cheating the system’.

“Skiing and camping out on the mountain over time is a useful way of becoming familiar with your altitudinal surroundings.” he said.

“Your body must learn to adapt to 6,500 metres, to allow the number of blood cells to increase. No ‘artificial doping’ helps.”

He revealed that the drug he used to save the life of Kay was a form of steroid that has limited availability for purchase.

“There are prescription drugs used on the mountain that are available in hospitals but not over the [general pharmacy] counter.”

One such prescription drug included Illoprost, which Ben used to treat his frostbitten toes, but not without a sufficient sting in cost.

“[Illoprost] is used to treat hypotension in blood vessels. One injection for seven days costs around $US10,000”.

“[The frostbite] could heal over time, but nobody knows how or what will happen.”

He also refuses to accept that his condition will restrict him from furthering his mountain climbing ambitions.

“Frostbite will not hold me back. I would hate for Everest to be my last one, but I would not want to go back there.”

He had also developed a kinship with the native Sherpas, who are more adapted to the altitudinal conditions and act as the guides for climbing Everest. They also have the authority to permit mountaineers to climb when safe.

This included halting the climbing of the mountain indefinitely after the deadly avalanche in 2014, which took 16 lives, and then again after the earthquake in 2015 that triggered another avalanche and killed 22 people at Base Camp.

When asked about the psychological challenge of the eerie sight of dead bodies on or below the summit of Everest, Darlington said that the experience acted as a motivational tool to aid in overcoming the odds against surviving.

“You must think about what the people who died did not do that inspires you to think about what you can do to survive.”