This lockdown may have everyone stuck at home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be productive and do something worthwhile. Students across the UK are setting themselves the challenge of climbing a mountain during the lockdown, whether that’s over a couple of days, a week or even a month. Ever since people like John Griffin, Seth Charles and Phil Jankovskis have been in the news for climbing mountains from their staircases, an entire generation has been inspired to take on the challenge, with many doing so to raise money for the NHS.
Patrick – University of Glasgow
Patrick Hart is a final year medical student at The University of Glasgow. He and his dad wanted to come up with a challenge they could do at home during the lockdown and decided Everest would be a great thing to try and do. They decided to use the step in their garden, to complete 1000 steps every day for a month. Patrick said: “It started out as my dad and me, but now we have close to 1000 people all around the world stepping with us every day.”
Patrick’s dad, Nigel, has actually climbed Everest before but has said that doing the climb this way is much more fun. Patrick also said: “It’s been great fun; it’s keeping us active and it’s been so cool tracking all the other people doing the challenge too.” The father-son duo has set up a Facebook Group and Instagram account named ‘Everest in a month’ so that they and other people taking part in the challenge can keep each other motivated.
Ruby – Plymouth University
Ruby McIntosh is a second-year student studying International Hospitality and Management at Plymouth University. She has decided to climb Mount Etna from home by going up her stairs 1233 times in a week, this means 176 times a day. Ruby said: “I saw the BBC article and was inspired by the man who had climbed Mount Everest. I’ve been trying to lose weight and improve my fitness in general and I think this will definitely be good for me”. Her mum is also doing a mountain via the stairs challenge, and Ruby said: “it’s nice to hear how she is doing with it whilst we’re apart during lockdown, we can motivate each other.”
Ruby explained that she chose to climb Mount Etna because when she visited Sicily in 2018, she was unable to visit the mountain due to the weather. On the first day of the challenge, she said: “It’s hard work. My legs are already a bit achy after one day, but I’m sure it will get easier the more I do it”. Then on day 5 Ruby said: “It is very hard I’ve definitely found it a challenge but that’s motivated me to carry on.”
The Charity Climb
Next month seven students from different universities will be climbing Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo over three days, meaning between them they need to climb 760 flights of stairs every day. The idea for the charity climb came from Ben Wainwright, a third-year student studying Computer Science with Innovation at The University of Bristol. Ben wanted to find a way to celebrate his 21st birthday in lockdown and had always wanted to climb Mount Chimborazo. He was inspired by John Griffin and decided to create the challenge and put a post on Facebook seeing if anyone else wanted to take part, which led to the current team of 7 being formed.
Tanvi Kishore is in her second year studying Mathematics at Princeton University. Earlier this year Tanvi shattered her collarbone and had to have surgery. During this time her mental health was negatively affected, and it was hard for her to complete simple tasks but taking part in this challenge has encouraged her to retake control of her health. Zedekaii Oliver-Jones, a fourth-year student studying Mathematics at Cardiff University, will also be participating. He said: “We are all taking part in this challenge so that we can raise money for these amazing charities and so that we can help support the most vulnerable who are facing the brunt of this global pandemic.”
Also taking part in this challenge from The University of Bristol are third-year students Jake Ramaer, and Theo Grenslade, alongside fourth-year student Sam Davis from Manchester University, and second-year student Emma Soffe from the University of the West of England. The group has set a fundraising target of £700 and have already raised more than half their target within just a few days, so are hoping to smash their target if not double it. 60% of the money raised will go to the NHS COVID-19 appeal, 20% will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and another 20% will go to the Alzheimer’s Society.
Jade – Lincoln College/University of Hull
Jade Whitely is in her second year studying her degree in Lens Based Media, which is validated by The University of Hull, at Lincoln College. Jade is raising money to buy hand creams for local hospital workers after she saw an NHS worker post on Facebook about how dry their hands were getting from constant handwashing and sanitising. To put the fun in fundraising, Jade is completing mini-challenges for every £25 raised, with her most recent challenge having been virtually climbing the Millennium Dome on her garden steps, which was 320 steps. Jade described the climb as tiring but fun, and she may do another climbing challenge for her next fundraising milestone.
Past challenges have included having ice water poured over her head and eating mystery cans of food. Jade said: “Because I am autistic, the sensory aspect of these challenges has been difficult, but I am really proud of myself for doing them.” Jade has so far raised £125, but she and her friend Lydia are hoping to raise a combined total of £500, which would be enough to provide 150 quality hand creams to hospital staff, to help them soothe their dry hands. As Jade is a Body Shop at Home Consultant, she can buy all the hand creams at retail cost. She said: “I’m also using all my commission to cut down the cost of the hand creams so we can buy even more!”