Victoria Pendleton struggled with her mental health after failing to reach Mount Everest summit

Victoria Pendleton at Royal Ascot earlier this month. (PA)
Victoria Pendleton at Royal Ascot earlier this month. (PA)

Olympian Victoria Pendleton says she’s struggled with depression after failing to reach the summit of Mount Everest last month.

When she began the intimidating climb up the notoriously dangerous mountain alongside Countryfile’s Ben Fogle back in April, she was forced to pull out due to an oxygen deficiency, while Fogle went on to conquer the climb in May.

Fogle, 44, dedicated his achievement to his stillborn son, Willem, and while Pendleton, 37, couldn’t complete the challenge she’s admitted that the failure to do so has affected her mental and physical health.

Speaking to the Radio Times, the former track cyclist said she was feeling ‘psychologically and physiologically damaged’ after pulling out of the gruelling task.

Ben Fogle celebrating his climb in memory of his son. (Instagram)
Ben Fogle celebrating his climb in memory of his son. (Instagram)

‘It’s really put me through the wringer… I’ve taken a real battering. I’ve never felt so overwhelmed with illness.

‘I’m having good days and bad days. You just have to grin and bear it.’

‘But I felt even further away from myself then, she told them. ‘They’ve assured me that it’s quite a normal thing and in time it will pass.’

Having partaken in the event for a three-part series for CNN and in association with the Red Cross, in order to raise awareness of the mountain’s environmental changes, she revealed how she struggles heath-wise.


Pendleton said she suffered from hypoxia, which is where when the body experiences a lack of oxygen. She describes the pain and exhaustion, after reaching the expedition’s second camp with ‘a horrific headache, like knitting needles sticking in the back of my skull’.

But despite her issues and health problems, the double Olympic champ says she’s going to try her hand at clay pigeon shooting or equestrianism, after a successful time cycling and subsequently horse riding.

‘Nick Skelton won showjumping gold at 58, didn’t he, so there’s still time!’ she quipped.

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