Gosport veteran leads terrifying French Alps climb across glaciers, rocks and ice to boost mental and physical health
VETERANS embarked on a ‘terrifying’ yet ‘exhilarating’ climb across glaciers, rocks and ice in the French Alps as part of their journey to boost mental and physical health.
Gosport veteran Joe Winch, 43, led nine others from across the UK as they dared to take on their most challenging climb to date as part of the Climb2Recovery programme.
Set up to support veterans, Climb2Recovery is a charity offering climbing courses to support physical and mental recovery.
The charity also helps veterans find lifelong climbing partners and offers peer mentoring and training opportunities.
The team completed the five-day French Alps climb on September 4 having reached 4,000 metre altitudes in treacherous conditions covering glaciers, snow, ice, rock, and ‘terrifying’ ridges.
Gruelling days of adventure would start at 6am and finish around 7pm.
Joe Winch, climb lead for the programme who previously served in the Armed Forces for 19 years, said: ‘This journey to the Alps was incredible, I climbed harder and for longer than ever before and made some wonderful new friends on the way too.
‘I have returned home exhausted but exhilarated, and with a new and heightened confidence in my skills and abilities as a mountaineer, climber, and expedition leader. It’s been amazing.’
Speaking of the positive impact the programme has had on his life, Joe said: ‘Climbing and mountaineering has become a central and important part of my ongoing recovery. It provides me with a new identity, confidence, skills, and friends, and provides many incredible opportunities for travel and adventure.
‘Climb2Recovery makes all of this a reality. It creates an exciting programme of year-round activity to look forward to, and a wonderful community of like-minded and supportive people who are always there for each other.
‘What this means to me is that I am able to be a better husband and father and I am able to manage my symptoms and look after my physical and mental health, which is a constant battle but is so important, allowing me to live and be at home.’
The team of veterans were supported on their challenging climb by natural health and wellness experts Natures Aid, who provided the team with climbing equipment, a supply of supplements and tailored advice on health and nutrition to support the climbers throughout this challenge.
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For more information on Climb2Recovery visit c2r.org