Watch the Virgin Strive Challenge rescue off the Matterhorn

Two people stand at the top of a steep, snow-covered mountain
Image by Jack Brockway
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 4 September 2014

Warning: this isn’t for the faint-hearted. Here’s the video of Sam being airlifted off the mountain as he struggled with altitude sickness after climbing the Matterhorn.

Matterhorn Madness - Sam Branson is Airlifted off the Mountain

While it has been a huge team effort, the two people who got the Virgin Strive Challenge off the ground were Sam and my nephew Noah Devereux. Together with Stephen Shanly, the three of them reached the peak yesterday in incredibly tough circumstances. Sam and the rest of the team are doing fine today, emotionally and physically exhausted but jubilant at their achievements.

San Branson and two other mountaineers
Image by Jon Griffith

Noah is an absolutely exceptional young man in every way, and is always thinking about other people. Here’s another example of that.

Yesterday Richard Reed, who founded Innocent Drinks, was among the Strivers climbing the Matterhorn. Three quarters of the way up the mountain, his guide said that he had to turn back. Richard really felt he could have gone on, but obviously you do as your guide tells you and without complaining he went right down the mountain again.

Mount Matterhorn stands amidst other mountains, covered in snow.  A vague figure of a person stands on the distant mountain top
Image by Jack Brockway

At midnight tonight there is another weather window and Richard wants to get the job done. He plans to try to climb the Matterhorn again. Noah immediately volunteered to join him, as it isn’t in the spirit of the Virgin Strive Challenge to let him go alone.

Mountain rescuers on top of a mountain
Image by Jack Brockway
The team on Mount Matterhorn
Image by Jack Brockway

We don’t think any non-professional has ever climbed the Matterhorn two days in a row – we’re checking with the Guinness World Record team right now!

Matterhorn madness - the round-up
Sam Branson, kneeling on the ground, supported by Noah Devereux, at the top of the Matterhorn
Image by Jack Brockway

They only have a small weather window to climb the mountain, and they’re having to start one and a half hours further down the mountain for the second day running, as the usual starting point - the Hörnli hut - is closed. They’ve even asked (the sadly made-up) to find a forecast that is favourable!

*Update: Weather closed in so Richard & Noah had to abandon their second Matterhorn climb. unreliable! Great effort team.

Richard Branson looking at the camera with the Matterhorn in the background
Image by Jack Brockway

The best way to support their efforts is to keep donating to the Big Change charity, raising money for young people to develop life skills. As the team said, life and the Virgin STRIVE Challenge are about the journey… not the destination. Keep Striving!