Using climbing to help wounded, injured and sick veterans move beyond injury
Last month, six wounded, injured and sick veterans travelled to Chamonix in France to complete 10 days of mountain training with Climb2Recovery. The course was supported by the Endeavour Fund which plays an important role in ensuring that more Servicemen and women have the opportunity to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical and adventure challenges.
On the first day the team travelled across to Italy and took to cable car up to the Torino hut at 3300 Meters. This allowed them to get straight onto the Glacier and learn new skills such as using crampons and ice axe, travelling across the glacier on rope and rescuing a climber from a crevasse. They also summited the Petit Flambeau at 3375 meters. After spending the night in the Torino hut the team spent the next day crossing the glacier to the Aiguille du Midi the highlight being the knife edge climb up to the finish.
Unfortunately, a few days of bad weather followed which meant they needed to stay down in the valley. But this didn’t stop them from continuing to learn valuable mountain skills and the team spent the day indoor climbing. Thankfully the weather cleared and they all completed the Chamonix Via Ferrata, a three to four-hour climb using fixed metal points on the rock face.
Later on in the course, the team again travelled across to Italy to start the climb of Gran Paradiso, the highest peak in Italy standing at an impressive 4061 metres. The first day spent hiking up to the Chabod hut for an overnight stay. The following day the team set out on a six-hour climb to the summit - high winds and cold conditions made it a very challenging climb but three of the team reaching the summit.
The final two days were spent up on the Glacier with the team completing a multi-pitch abseil of 350 meters from the Aiguille du Midi and then crossing the glacier to the Cosmiques hut for the night. The following morning the team climbed the 3842 metres Arête des Cosmiques.
The trip was a great success, helping wounded, injured and sick Service personnel take that first step to move beyond injury. The course also inspired some new career opportunities, with several members of the team now hoping to become mountain leaders and rock climbing instructors.