A CROSS party trio of MPs have joined by 23 year old local veteran Lyndon Chatting–Walters from Axminster, Devon and a group of serving soldiers in attempting to climb Cotopaxi, a 19,347ft/5,897m active volcano in Ecuador, this weekend to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Battle Back Centre.
The Battle Back Cotopaxi Expedition 2014 team are preparing for their final ascent after conquering 3 other volcanoes in Ecuador.
The team have been training in preparation of the Cotopaxi climb which guarantees to be the toughest challenge they have faced.
The MPs, Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West), John Mann (Bassetlaw, Labour) and Tracey Crouch (Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford), are part of a team that includes serving soldiers and veterans who have benefitted from spending time at the Battle Back Centre.
Local veteran Lyndon, who is taking part in the challenge, was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008 and his injuries included four broken vertebrae.
Despite having been told he might never walk again, he worked hard on his rehabilitation and returned to the front line in August 2010.
But his injuries proved to be too severe for Service and in early 2012 he completed a rehabilitation course at The Battle Back Centre.
The Battle Back Cotopaxi 2014 team will be making their Cotopaxi summit bid on either Friday or Saturday night depending on the weather and environmental conditions.
The team have already reached the summits of Pasochoa (4,200m), Ruca Pichincha (4,696m) and Illiniza Norte (5,126m) but their attempt to climb Cayambe (5,790m) was abandoned due to thigh deep snow and the risk of an avalanche.
However, the team did make it up to 4,900m before the summit was deemed unreachable.
In the last few days teams have turned back on Cotopaxi due to the significant snowfall and avalanche danger, but the team are lining up to get into the national park and then make their summit bid on either Friday or Saturday night.
They plan to leave at 2300hrs (local time) for a gruelling 7-8 hour ascent where the use of crampons and ice axes is mandatory as there are snow and ice slopes of up to 50 degrees.
The team will be roped up to protect them from hidden crevasses and steeper sections. Greg Mulholland MP (Leeds North West): “I’m definitely apprehensive about the summit climb up Cotopaxi; it’ll be a tough physical and mental challenge but I’m sure the team will help encourage each other along, and the thought of raising much needed funds for the Battle Back Centre certainly helps too!
Climbing alongside serving soldiers and veterans who have been through the Centre has reinforced how important the Battle Back Centre is and they are all inspirational people.
“We’re all hopeful and in good heart for the attempt on Cotopaxi and with any luck the weather will improve! Thank you to all those who have already donated, and if you haven’t done so already please donate via our JustGiving site http://www.justgiving.com/TRBLEcuador2014 or text TRBL93 + the amount to 70070.”
Mark Robinson, Director of Carnegie Great Outdoors: “The Battle Back Centre Cotopaxi Expedition 2014 is a fantastic endeavour on behalf of a very worthy cause. The involvement and support this expedition has received from Members of Parliament and Sponsors has been overwhelming and is vital in raising awarenes