CHAPATTI MAN, MOUNTAINEER ALAN HINKES, SLIPS DISC AGAIN

Mountaineer Alan Hinkes, who hit the headlines around the world in 1997 when he sneezed on some chapatti flour whilst on a Himalayan mountain and slipped a disc, has injured his back again. Alan has probably slipped the same disc, but this time it went as he bent over to pick up a rock shoe whilst at home preparing to go out on the nearby Yorkshire hills.

In 1997 Alan was climbing on Nanga Parbat (8125m), the ninth highest mountain in the world, when he sneezed on some chapatti flour and prolapsed a disc. He lay in agony in his tent for ten days with very few pain killers at a height of about 4000m. He could not be rescued by helicopter at that height because the air is too thin. Eventually he managed to drag himself down slightly lower to a height where he could be rescued and he was taken off to hospital for treatment. He made a full recovery and the following year returned to Nanga Parbat and successfully reached the summit.

In the spring of this year, Alan attempted to climb the third highest mountain in the world, Kangchenjunga, but he was beaten back close to the summit by appalling weather. On the descent an ice bridge over a crevasse collapsed under him and he fell in and broke a bone in his elbow. In considerable pain he managed to descend to base camp with only one useable arm. He has been receiving treatment for his arm in the UK since his return
in June.

On Wednesday last week, whilst preparing for some training on the Yorkshire hills, Alan bent down to pick up his rock shoe and his back went again. He was immediately in agony and over the weekend has found it increasingly difficult to move.

"I can't believe that my back has gone again," said Alan flat on his back at home. "There was very little sign that it was about to go and it was such a small movement that set it off. On Wednesday I was just stuck to the floor - I couldn't move I was in such agony. My injured arm has meant that I have not been training properly; I haven't been doing much rock climbing which I found helped my back to get its strength back last time. I may well
not be fully mobile for another three weeks which is very frustrating. I shall do everything I can to get myself back to fitness again."

Alan is receiving twice daily physiotherapy treatment and will have an MRI scan at hospital later this week.