Having set off from the train station car park bright and early last Saturday morning, the Caroline Foundation gang are now well on their way to hitting that Burnaby Pointe peak in the Alps.
It’s a 7-day challenge, and it will no doubt put major hairs on the chest of everyone involved – good luck with that, ladies – but, the achievement here will be far more than simply physical.
Here’s the bould Sarah Cunningham with news from base camp…
Tuesday, July 2nd, and Day Three proved to be a tough, high-altitude climb to the summit of Breithorn. We had to dig deep for this one. Reminded us all that this challenge is so fitting in memory of all the people who have endured so much with barely a word of complaint.
Wednesday, July 3rd: First stage of taking on Pointe Burnaby (PB). Starting out from the town of Zinal (1675m above sea level) to reach Tracuit Hut (3256m), sunshine soon turning to hailstone which stayed with us all the way to our target point. Steep climb became even steeper as we reached boulder territory and rock face at the end. Rucksacks now heavier as we carried our crampons, harnesses and ice picks with snacks and clothes to overnight in hut. Arrived drenched and cold. Had to dry out for next day’s challenge.
Thursday, July 4th: Final stage to summit PB. Up at 4am to breakfast and kit ourselves out in readiness for the most serious climb of our lives. Set off at 5am in the hope of making good progress to the top before the sun came up and snow began to melt, revealing crevasses. Then 4-to-5 hours of relentless ascent through virgin snow to the top of PB (4153m). We were divided into teams of 3 with a guide – roped. For many of us, reaching the summit was one of the toughest physical challenges of our lives. Then we turned around to make the long trek back – downhill brought a whole new set of challenges; crevasses that were covered in snow on the way up were now more evident, and avoiding a fall into these became our new concern. Sometimes we did and just had to pull ourselves out and continue… Reached Tracuit with only enough energy left to fall into our bunks!
Friday, July 5th: Set off early for final descent back to Zinal. Blessed with beautiful sunny day. Legs now feeling the strain of our 6th day of continuous pressure. But now able to enjoy the breath-taking scenery that surrounded us – feeling great and grateful to have been gifted with the most amazing adventure of our lives.
Our gratitude to experienced alpinist Bill Roberts of Delgany, and Adam Kelly of Pura Vida Fitness Greystones knows no bounds. Also include in that the amazing guides, led by chief guide Miles Bright.
Nice ice, baby. Congratulations to the entire Caroline gang for their incredible achievement. In the meantime, as you sit on your warm, dry ass, you can donate to this kick-ass climb right here.
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