Brisbane climber Joshua Worley only took up the sport of mountain climbing five years ago, but in a week’s time he will take the concept of a new year’s resolution to new heights and set off on a year-long adventure.
He plans to travel across three continents and conquer 33 of the world’s toughest peaks to raise money for those living with mental illness and support the fight against climate change.
The Brisbane climber plans to summit mountains in Canada, South America, the United States and New Zealand, with his two chosen causes also holding climbing connections.
“Climbing improved my mental health,” he said.
“One of the things I love about climbing is that it forces you to expose yourself to fear and anxiety, and dealing with those feelings helps to build resilience and courage.”
Mr Worley is also aware that parts of the mountains he plans to visit may not be around for long.
“Climate change is probably the biggest thing threatening mountain environments, you hear a lot about the North and South Pole glaciers melting,” he said.
“A lot of the mountains I’ll be climbing have ice, so some routes I’ll be climbing might not be there in 20 years.
“I want to help preserve those environments for future generations.”
Mr Worley’s interest in mountain climbing was ignited five years ago, with the ambition to climb Alpamayo in Peru before he turned 30, which he is scheduled to achieve on his year-long journey.
The mechanical engineer climbs at Kangaroo Point cliffs as many weekends as he can.
Every year he goes on a climbing trip for four to six weeks to locations including New Zealand, France and Switzerland, with most major climbs taking 12-19 hours to complete.
“Life becomes very simple when you’re climbing – you’re away from the distraction of a job, social media and day-to-day life,” he said.
Mr Worley began planning a trip to Peru to achieve his dream last year and from there his year-long journey across three continents began to take shape.
On January 29, he will fly out to Canada for the first part of his trip where he hopes to complete some of the “best waterfall ice climbing in the world”.
He will then travel to South America in May to take on “high-altitude mountaineering”, before heading to California in October for “big-wall climbing” and finishing his journey in New Zealand.
“I’m feeling very excited and finally ready to start, but there is also a sense of trepidation about leaving a loving and caring partner – that’s probably the thing I’m struggling with the most,” Mr Worley said.
“I’m not a professional athlete, just a weekend warrior. I want to show people you don’t have to be a professional athlete to have epic adventures. You should follow your passion and dream big.”
Specifically, Mr Worley plans to conquer the Peruvian mountains of Huascaran, 6768 metres above sea level, and Alpamayo, standing at 5947 metres.
He also hopes to summit New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook, by climbing 3724 metres above sea level, as well as the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Mount Washington, at 1917 metres.
To support Mr Worley’s journey, click here, with all donations supporting the Climate Council and ReachOut.
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