CLIMBING nine of the world’s highest mountains alone is no tall feat.
But that’s the challenge Karol Wicinski has set himself.
He has already conquered three of the nine peaks – Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Mont Blanc – and he is making plans for the rest over the next few years, including Mount Everest.
The challenge will see Karol single-handedly conquer the globe’s tallest mountains to raise money for British military charities.
Karol, from Whiteley, said: ‘Nobody is watching and nobody’s checking whether you’re making mistakes or not.
‘Whether you’re making good decisions or wrong decisions, you’re on your own. Risk is always involved but safety comes first. I want to climb mountains not fall off mountains.’ The 34-year-old, who is originally from north-east Poland, first came into contact with high altitudes while serving with Poland’s 25th Air Cavalry Brigade which required mountain training and has helped prepare him for his adventure.
He said: ‘All training and work requires discipline and focus. Not for a week or a month but for years.’
Karol moved to England 10 years ago and said he wanted to raise money for British veterans.
He said: ‘After the Second World War, British people accepted Polish veterans as their own and did so much to keep the memory alive about those fallen ones.’
The epic challenge has pushed Karol to the edge of his abilities.
When he first attempted to climb the 15,500ft Mount Elbrus in Russia he had to turn back.
He said: ‘Now I know what the high altitude can do to the human body and the brain. I have huge respect for nature now and I have learnt a lesson.
‘On my second attempt three days later I was successful but it was still very demanding. I was fit, I was healthy but it doesn’t matter.
‘If you don’t have the motivation no matter how strong you are, no matter how desperate you are; nature will knock you down.’
Karol, who plans and funds the expeditions himself, is hoping to take on his fourth summit, Aconcagua in Argentina, next year.
The determined fundraiser said: ‘It’s demanding and uncomfortable and definitely takes me out of my comfort zone.’
He is raising money for Royal Marines charitable trust fund and the Parachute Regiment charity through sponsorship of his climbs.
To support Karol, visit 9peakschallenge.com
Tanzania Kilimanjaro 5,895m
Russia Elbrus 5,642m
Italy/France Mt Blanc 4,810m
Argentina Aconcagua 6,960m
Alaska, USA McKinley 6,195m
Nepal/China Mount Everest 8,848m
Australia Mount Kosciuszko 2,230m
Indonesia Puncak Jaya 4,884m
Antarctic Vinson 4,890m