Monday, October 22, 2018

Blind Man Sets World Record by Reaching Top of Europe's Tallest Mountain

Jack Garner

Jack Garner is the first British blind mountain climber to reach the top of Mount Elbrus, Europe's tallest mountain, facing over 50 mph winds and minus 35 degree wind chills.

Mountain

Despite eight days in freezing temperatures and challenging weather conditions, that didn't stop 23 year old Jack Garner from completing his mission to the top of Mount Elbrus-- Europe's highest mountain between the Russian and Georgian border among the Caucasus ridge and considered the tenth most prominent peak in the world. 

Blind since he was 11 years old due to a genetic condition, Jack began to train as an athlete in many competitions, challenging himself to help him cope with the traumatic loss of his sight.  He began bungee jumping and sky diving for charities, and aimed to break a world record one day-- to be the first blind man to ever climb Mount Elbrus. 

In 2015, he accomplished a six day climb on Tanzania East Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro--the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.  In 2016, he did an eleven day trek on Mount Everest in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas, and now in 2018, he climbed the 18,510 foot high Mount Elbrus, an eight day climb despite the odds.  With a team of four climbers and two guides from Cumbria-based mountaineering company Adventure Peaks to help guide him, the crew together reached the peak while using an ice axe to scale the dangerous mountain.  He was taught to use the ice axe on this expedition, as the crew encountered obstacle after obstacle due to the treacherous conditions.

"It was my first time walking on snow and ice. It took a bit of getting used to," Jack said, adding that one of the guides, Paul Ethridge, "coiled the rope around his hand" to keep two meters between them. I had to be careful not to walk too close to him because I didn't want my crampons to dig into his heels." 

"The Guinness World Records confirmed that no man had beaten his record-setting scale," Mr. Ethridge stated.  According to Phil Kirk, expedition expert for Adventure Peaks, "Jack's very high level of physical fitness was clearly an advantage, allowing him to summit before any other team that day, and we certainly think he is capable of going on to climb higher mountains if he wishes."

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