A few days after his 35th birthday on September 17th, he is planning to trek to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro – 19,341 ft above sea level. This is Africa’s highest peak and entails a climb from 5000 ft to nearly 2o, 000 ft in just six days.
David, who has never done much more than walk up and down Sheffield’s peaks as a student many years ago, will be in a party of 13 trekking for up to 10 hours a day for the children’s charity, Candlelighters. Each of the team has an individual target of £2500, with a hoped-for overall total of £50,000.
Candlelighter, also based in Leeds, was established in 1976. It is a charity formed and run by parents of children who have or have had cancer and the medical staff who treat them. The charity provides essential services and support to children with cancer and their families.
Kilimanjaro is sometimes seen as the 'easiest' of the seven continental peaks, because there is no technical climbing with ropes or crampons. However, it is still a great challenge and at the higher levels, the air carries only 30% of the normal oxygen content.
David’s preparation includes a personal trainer, working with British Military Fitness, running, cycling, daily stretching and resistance exercises including the possibility of entering the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge.
He says the final 48 hours of the 6 day Kilimanjaro trek is a 7 hour ascent in daylight. Then we have 5 hours for dinner, rest and preparation before starting the summit attempt at midnight. The team will hopefully reach the top at sunrise. Then we descend for 14 to 17 hours without any further sleep or significant rest.
David added: “I've been lucky enough in life not to have had anyone close suffering from cancer. However, my best man Gav Winter, who is the main driver behind the trek, has a brother who was diagnosed with cancer. During his treatment, when things were very touch and go, Candlelighters took his brother away on a couple of trips - one to Disneyland! They gave him the most important thing in the world -hope.”