Was it scary to start climbing again?
After my accident, I became afraid of a lot of things, including heights. So, the fear was there, for sure. Before attempting the Middle East mountains challenge, I had to deal with a lot of anxiety. Had I planned it properly? Was it a crazy idea? I really started to doubt myself. However, I didn't have any fear when I was actually doing it. It felt right. The whole experience was beautiful, every country was different and the people were so friendly.
DHL sponsored your Middle East record attempt and offered you on-the-ground intel. How is it supporting your seven-summit challenge?
During my Middle East expedition, I went to some countries that were challenging – so the support I had from DHL made me feel so much safer. Everywhere I went, I had a DHL point of contact who would normally meet me at the airport, talk me through local knowledge and leave me with a guide. They also tracked me with an app. When I ran into problems, the ground support from DHL were amazing. In Iraq, for instance, I ended up staying with DHL staff! It made me think: ‘I’m not alone.’ For my seven-summits challenge, DHL is sponsoring me again.
When do you start and finish? And will you be free-climbing the mountains?
I was meant to start in September and finish in December, but things have been delayed because of COVID-19. I’m now attempting to embark in 2022, which means the challenge will take a little longer because of the weather. As for the style of climbing, it depends on the mountain! For example, for Picod de Orizaba, I’ll be on a rope and using crampons. But there are other challenges to consider. In Antarctica, I’ll be faced with sub-zero temperatures. To prepare, I’m doing a lot of endurance training, going on the step machine and weight training. I have to ensure I’m as fit and healthy as possible and that my mind is in a good place.