Prince Harry has sent his personal congratulations to the 65 Degrees North team for their successful unsupported climb of Antarctica’s highest peak. The team were absolutely delighted to receive his letter when they arrived back in the UK.
Prince Harry wrote in the letter: “Huge congratulations to the 65 Degrees North team for conquering the ‘top of the bottom of the world’ by summiting Mount Vinson, Antarctica. In overcoming physical and psychological injury to take on this challenge, you have again shown us all that the extraordinary is possible, if you have the will. I hope you are all incredibly proud of what you have achieved.”
Almost a year on from the tragic death of Henry Worsley, the inspired team were determined to pay their respects, and take on the formidable environment and brutal temperatures of the world’s coldest, most remote and hostile continent.
At 16:30 (GMT-3) on Sunday January 15th 2017 a 5-strong team from 65 Degrees North stood on the summit of Mt Vinson.
The journey to the ‘top of the bottom of the world’ began almost a year ago, when 65 Degrees North’s ‘Conquering Kili’ project saw a 14-strong team summit Mt Kilimanjaro, the World’s highest free-standing mountain. The success of that project led to a greater desire and passion to continue to push limits and inspire others through the ‘spirit of adventure’ and so began the training for this extreme challenge.
Richard Morgan, expedition leader said: “Participating in challenging adventure has significant benefits to our wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, aiding in their recovery and rehabilitation, increasing skills and confidence and providing them with the opportunity to overcome adversity and prove there is life beyond injury!On Mt Vinson the team, including injured veterans Danny Claricoates and James ‘Flo’ Nightingale, had to work together and help each other when the extreme conditions tested their resolve and strength.
“It proved tough at times, carrying heavy weights up the mountain in significantly low temperatures and suffering from the effects of altitude tested us all! Owing to the heavy loads, we abseiled off the mountain from camp 2 to the foot of the fixed ropes. I have seen Danny and Flo grow in confidence and they were a huge asset to the team. Both were integral to the success and displayed the qualities one would expect from servicemen in the most testing and challenging conditions.”
Team member Danny Claricoates carries the invisible wounds of war. He was medically discharged from a career he loved following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. He said: “Being part of 65DN allows me to be around like minded people, both serving and veterans, and means I can talk through problems. I feel supported and understood without the need to explain myself, or the need to go in to detail about what happened, as many guys on the team have shared experiences of the situations which led to the diagnosis of a debilitating condition, either mental or physical. Being part of 65 Degrees North has given me focus, drive and determination, it has given me the opportunity to progress and overcome adversity. It has helped me to move forward from the rut I was in, the constant feeling of being down and out. These challenges let me show others, but more importantly myself, that I can climb a mountain and stand on its summit… proving, despite injury, I can achieve anything and positive outcomes can, and will, impact on my future. Moving forward I would like to support 65 Degrees North in return, helping others on their journey to reach their summit and achieve what may at first seem unachievable…”
65 Degrees North is honoured to be supported by the Endeavor Fund. The funding and support it provides is vital to the success of our projects and enables us to continue our legacy. Representing the Endeavour Fund instils a huge sense of pride in the team and the knowledge that we are making a difference, through sharing personal stories of overcoming adversity, promoting the positive aspects of healthy living and effective team spirit and inspiring others to achieve and succeed beyond injury.