3PeaksAfrica For Comic Relief

by Mick Ryan In early March four mountaineers from Scotland and Yorkshire successfully completed 3PeaksAfrica (website), a charity fundraising first. Over a gruelling three week schedule team mates Steve Perry, Andrew Wilkinson, Lorraine McCall and Dan Bailey flew a Comic Relief banner on the continent?s three highest mountains.Mount Stanley?s Margherita peak (5109m) Uganda. Not just a pizza topping, it?s also a remote and unusual equatorial alpine climb of about PD/AD grade. For seven days the team trekked through some of the toughest, boggiest terrain on Earth, summiting Mount Stanley?s Margherita peak (5109m) via Africa?s largest glacier and a short summit scramble.Mt.Kenya A long and complex climb with a crux of Hard Severe standard. Slowed by iced-up rock the team made an unplanned bivouac on the second highest summit Nelion (5188m) without food or sleeping bags; the following morning snow, high winds and low temperatures forced them to abandon an attempt to reach Batian, higher of the mountain?s twin summits by a mere 11 metres. It took the best part of a day to abseil back down. ?We gave it our best shot. We?re happy with what we achieved on Nelion, so we hope other people are too? says team leader Perry ?3PeaksAfrica wouldn?t have been a challenge of the outcome was certain? Kilimanjaro 5895m, Tanzania. The only summit of the three that regularly features in charity events, bagging ?Kili? simply requires the gumption to trudge uphill at high altitude. Thanks to fitness and acclimatisation gained on their previous climbs the group were up and back down in just 53 hours, while most parties take between five and seven days. All proceeds raised through the trip go to Comic Relief. “This is one of the most deserving causes I know,” says team member Dan Bailey “The level of poverty out there is profound, and if we ever needed a reminder of why we were there we only had to use our eyes. The idea of climbing mountains for fun might seem pretty trivial if you?re struggling to educate your children, and yet we received nothing but warmth and enthusiasm wherever we went. Africa is not some hopeless basket case ? the people are as positive and engaged as anywhere. Money directed towards helping people to lift themselves out of poverty is money well spent.” More information at3peaksafrica.co.uk