Portsmouth firefighters begin their epic journey to scale Mount Everest

Cosham firefighters are raising money for charity and climbing mount Everest. Yesterday they left for their trip. So far they have raised about 15,000. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Cosham firefighters are raising money for charity and climbing mount Everest. Yesterday they left for their trip. So far they have raised about 15,000. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
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FIREFIGHTERS from the Portsmouth region are on their way to Nepal to begin a daring mission for charity.

A team of 14 operational firefighters from 10 stations in the surrounding area are attempting to scale Mount Everest in just 14 days.

The crew will reach a dizzying height of around 5,600m on their journey, raising money for the Fire Fighters’ Charity.

While large fundraisers are held for the charity every year, this is the most daunting one in recent memory.

Cosham Fire Station’s watch manager Craig Sadler, 47, is the one who first came up with the idea.

He said: ‘We have a WhatsApp group of all the fundraising firefighters in the area – when I suggested this I was inundated with messages about it.

‘It’s a 14-day trek with no time for acclimatisation, so we’re really jumping in at the deep end.

‘But we’re all in high spirits and looking forward to getting up there for a great cause.’

The Fire Fighters’ Charity offers help to firefighters who need either mental or physical support.

‘Mental health is a crucial talking point across all emergency services at the moment,’ Craig added.

‘That’s why supporting the Fire Fighters’ Charity is so important altitude.

Training for a challenge like this is no easy task, but the firefighters have had a few tricks up their sleeves.

As well as being given temporary membership of Village Gym, the firefighters have been using oxygen masks to simulate the feeling of walking at an exceptionally high altitude.

This, coupled with countless treks up Portsdown and Butser hills, has made the firefighters as prepared as they can be.

'Obviously, it is hard to actually replicate what it will be like on Mount Everest itself,' Craig said.

'But we've done as much as we can in preparation for this, so everyone is feeling optimistic about the climb.'

The climb up Everest will take up 12 of the 14 days.

The subsequent two days will be a rapid descent back down, made possible as the air thickens on the descent.