Derbyshire teenage climbers told to aim high as they embark on their own Everest mission

Six Shirebrook students who have embarked on a mission to climb the equivalent of Mount Everest have received some timely advice – from a climber who has summited the world’s tallest mountain for real.

The teenagers, from Shirebrook Academy, are midway through a plan to conquer 11 peaks across Britain in order to achieve an overall climb of just over 8,848m, which is the height of Everest.

Their aim is simply one of personal development, in order to push themselves to capacity and teach them the benefits of persevering.

Everest climber Ricky Munday (centre) shared his expertise with Shirebrook Academy students (front row from left) Ellena Keigher, 15, Josh Towers, 14, and Josh Hutton, 14, and (back row) Reanna Davies, 15, Callum Nussey, 14, and Charlie Jones, 13. Penguin PR: public relations, media and communications

So far, they have completed five climbs, starting small with Mam Tor at 517m and including Snowdon at 1,085m, and their total elevation so far is 2,932. Their next climb will be Scafell Pike in the Lake District, which measures 978m, in September and the last climb will be Ben Nevis, which stands 1,345m tall, next year.

All the climbs have been completed safely and competently and last week the students received some words of encouragement from Scottish climber Ricky Munday, who reached the summit of Everest last year and now visits schools across the UK to inspire young people to follow their dreams.

The Shirebrook Academy Everest Challenge team pictured at a very crowded summit of Snowdon, which they  conquered last month.

The teenagers – Ellena Keigher, 15, Reanna Davies, 15, Charlie Jones, 13, Callum Nussey, 14, Josh Hutton, 14, and 14-year-old Josh Towers - also got to inspect the kit Ricky used during his Everest climb, which was his second attempt at conquering the mountain following an aborted mission the year before.

Ricky, who runs his own social enterprise, Inspire Alpine, said: “I talk to schools about what you can achieve if you show resilience and determination and these students have already demonstrated that on the way to completing their challenge.

“Climbing Everest was my life’s ambition, but it didn’t happen without me having to overcome setbacks both in life and climbing, including having to turn back when I was close to the summit during an attempt in 2017 because I feared for my safety.

“I grew up on a council estate in Glasgow so am no different to the students I work with. I began by climbing just the kind of peaks this group are climbing and eventually my ambition took me to the top of the world.”

One of the students taking part in the challenge, Charlie Jones, 13, said: “I enjoyed seeing Ricky’s equipment and his advice has helped us.

“My favourite climb so far was Snowdon. It was harder than I thought and I was put off by the amount of people at the top, plus my legs were really hurting when we got there.

“I’m looking forward to Scafell Pike to see what the view is like from the top, and I’ll feel really proud of myself when we get to the top of Ben Nevis.”

The Everest Challenge is being organised by a group of Shirebrook Academy teachers, including the school’s assistant head of science, Richard Wiles.

He said: “The challenge is taking many of our students out of their comfort zones and is forcing them to dig deep in order to get to the top of the mountains.

“Ricky’s story is a great example of what you can achieve when you just keep going. Our students have more than risen to the challenge and I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on with the rest of the climbs.”


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