“I lost my way and felt most of the time like I was sinking but now I feel like I belong”

richard climbing

We all met up at Heathrow and then flew to Geneva from there where met by our transport which was friendly and took us to France where we were met by the guides who were going to take us out climbing and tell us what we will be doing for the week which sounded exciting.

On the second day we took the sky lift up to the hut and our guides taught us how to rope up and what type of equipment we’ll be using whilst walking across the glaciers. They also explained what we should do if anything happened should we fall into a glacier. After that we took a nice long walk over the glacier to one of the places where we would have a go at climbing – this this was over 2000 meters high, which was quite high for me for but it was really exciting and our guide Ally taught us how to climb in the safest way. We then walked across the ridge of the Swiss Alps to a location where we absailed down – I twisted my knee but carried on with the guys.

During the following three days we were all growing more confident and competent in climbing where we went to various locations to climb in France, Italy and Switzerland where we did several types of climbing techniques and covered several types of terrains. We even did free climbing which was quite exciting when it comes down to the last day of climbing I achieved a climb to 4000 feet, just 165 feet from the summit due to altitude sickness and I had to be taken off the mountain.

When I came around I was happy to get to that location as I thought it was a success for me as it was for the whole team. From the rehabilitation side of the expedition to reach 4000 feet was an achievement and something to feel proud of as it proved I can conquer anything by giving me confidence. I also met a really good bunch of lads and we all became close, like when we were in the military. We’ve kept in touch and we plan to do more climbing together and other stuff we have a course planed in November in the Lake District which sound really fun. We also plan to do some fundraising for the charity to give something back so others can gain benefits in the same way it benefited us.

“I enjoyed every minute and second of my time climbing in the Alps with. The experience and the mental state I found myself in was the pill I needed, it helped me see that keeping myself and my mind actively busy and positive propels me to move forward. The comradeship gave me the sense of being part of a team again of which I have not felt since leaving the army in 2012. I lost my way and felt most of the time like I was sinking but now I feel like I belong, I do matter and that I can achieve anything now. I feel it has helped me more than you know.”

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