A TICK over two weeks ago, an ex-SAS medic named Terry Ledgard unfurled a Carlton flag on the summit of Mount Everest.
By his own admission, 40 year-old Ledgard survived a few “near death moments” to complete the noble deed – becoming the first man to display the famous dark Navy Blue ensign of Carlton atop the equally famous peak’s snowy surface.
“I’d be surprised if anyone else has done it (flown the Carlton flag at the top), as there have only been 20 or 30 something Australians who have summited”, said Ledgard, now basking in the warmer weather on offer in his hometown of Whyalla, the South Australian seaport on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula.
“I got back about a week ago, having started in the lower Himalayan foothills of Everest and working my way up. It was a 43-day climb from go to whoa. Summit day was an especially brutal 26 hours of abject torture”.

Traversing the south east summit bridge

To mere mortals, scaling the summit of Everest would surely rank as the ultimate challenge both physically and mentally.
To Ledgard, who discharged from the Australian Army after completing one tour of Afghanistan in 2007, Everest presented an opportunity “to cure the existential boredom after service”.
Fair to say that if ever a man embodied the time-honoured Latin phrase “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano” – “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body” – it’s Ledgard, who’ll be in the house at Adelaide Oval to cheer his beloved Blues against Port on Thursday night.
Ledgard’s conquering of Everest after six months’ worth of preparation and training is an incredible story in its own rite - but even more incredible is the fact that the mountain was the sixth of seven of the world’s tallest tops he has scaled, as part of an adventure odyssey to climb the seven summits - the highest mountain on each seven continents.

Terry shrugs his shoulders on the traverse to the Hillary Step

“Mt. Everest was definitely the hardest. I remember scaling the Khumbu icefall, looking up from Camp One and thinking ‘Man, I don’t know if I have another day like that left in me’,” Ledgard conceded.
“The first mountain I climbed was Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, then Kosciusko back home, Acongagua in Argentina, Elbrus in Russia and Vinson in Antarctica.
“That means Mount Denali in Alaska is the last one to go – and as I’ve come back with a touch of frostbite on my fingers I’ll give myself a year to recover from the cold injuries before I climb it.”
In terms of his Carlton allegiance, Ledgard turned back the clock more than a quarter of a century in providing a wonderful explanation.
To quote the mountain man - “Back in the day I grew up in Coober Pedy, and what first got me into supporting the Blues is that ‘Koutoufides’ sounded very much like ‘Coober Pedy’”.