In a months time I'm heading over to Yosemite for the first time in almost a decade. Yosemite is of course home to El Cap probably the most magnificent bit of rock we've got. During my previous visits Ive been lucky enough to climb El Cap 10 times, sometimes with a party of friends, sometimes on my own, sometimes fast (ish - in a day) and sometimes more slowly (8 days I think on Wyoming Sheep Ranch). So why go back?
Well if I was good enough I could go free climb the Salathe but I'm not. Instead this trip will be something a little different. The plan is for myself, Andy Kirkpatrick and Paul Tattersall to join Phil Packer. Andy and Paul are "experienced big wall cats" but Phil as far as I know hasn't climbed before. However that's not the crux of the challenge. In February last year when serving in Iraq Phil lost the use of his legs in an incident following a rocket attack in Basra. As a paraplegic Phil has taken on a variety of challenges in his aim to raise a million pounds for the Help for Heroes charity, which assists injured servicemen and women. So far he's raised half of that amount through rowing across the channel and presently he's halfway round the London Marathon on crutches (his hobble round will take 2 weeks).
For me as well as a chance to return to the amazing El Cap and hopefully get some good photos and film, it's exciting to be involved with someone taking on a challenge that will be genuinely be pushing their very limits. You can read more about Phil's fund raising efforts here