Climbing the heights for sight
Topcon Area Sales Manager Luke Wyndham has climbed the four peaks in Bolivia (Point Austria; Pequeno Alpamayo; Hyauna Potosi and Illimani) last month to raise money for Vision Aid Overseas and Optometry Giving Sight.
Following months of preparation both mentally and physically, the 22,000 feet trek was no small undertaking, which Luke had started to prepare for in autumn last year.
The intense 22-day experience included acclimatisation, glacier training and of course sightseeing in between the climbs. “Offering only a couple of days respite in the hotel in La Paz in-between climbs, which in many ways only serves to interrupt momentum, making the following days seem more difficult than they should.” said Luke.
“Even after months and months of training and preparation I did find the whole experience quite difficult, the level of endurance was quite challenging actually and I felt I was ready to give up on numerous occasions. But in all honesty, I would have been disappointed if I didn’t feel that way. Our guide told us - it is a retrospective sport – you end up questioning all day “why you are doing this?” then once you get to the top it’s a great feeling” added Luke.
Reflecting on the best bits, Luke talked of “camping in -8 degrees Celsius and eventually finding a balance of when you are comfortable; everyone in the group really gelling together, youngest climber being 22 and oldest 57, 2 doctors, a solicitor, project managers; and of course the views of the rain forest – all under a cloud – it was pretty spectacular”.
All summits started in darkness, which maximises on the daylight available to make progress and time to deal with any problems, should there be any. “After the last one was done, I was ready to do the first one again and enjoy it more as looking back it seemed really easy!” I’d do it all again, but perhaps not to those heights. I really enjoy more technical challenging climbs rather than just going up a glacier”, for which during training Luke got quite a name, he was known as the man “who needs an ice axe anyway” with his full body arrest.
Now that Luke is safely home, he is finding it quite strange settling back into normality. He has copious amounts of energy and is hungry all of the time. While training and during the expedition itself, he would easily consume 5,000 calories in a day to maintain energy levels. Now the reality kicks in and he needs to shrink his stomach down – as well as go for frequent runs!
Luke so far raised just over £2,094 and there is still time to sponsor him, simply text TOLW60 and your donation amount to 70070 or visit www.justgiving.com/TopconGB-GivingBack.