Climb2Recovery veterans complete Alps climb

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10 veterans from across the UK came together to take on their most challenging climb to date, in the French Alps, as part of the Climb2Recovery programme. 

Set up by veterans to support other veterans and service personnel, Climb2Recovery is a charity that offers climbing courses to help with both physical and mental recovery, and to help participants find lifelong climbing partners as well as providing peer mentoring and training opportunities.

The team of 10, completed the five-day French Alps climb on September 4th, and with climbing reaching 4000m altitudes, covering glaciers, snow, ice, rock, and knife-edge ridges, with the days starting at 6am and finishing on average at 7pm, this was by far the team’s most challenging climb they had attempted.

Climb lead, Joe Winch, 43, who served for 19 years, said: “Climbing and mountaineering has become a central and important part of my ongoing recovery. It provides me with a new identity, confidence, skills, friends and many incredible opportunities for travel and adventure. Climb2Recovery makes all this a reality, with 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.

“Ultimately, what this means to me is that I am able to be a person, a better husband and father, and I am better 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.”

Joe Winch (left) and Andy Campbell

Veteran, Andy Campbell, 36, said: “I joined Climb2Recovery to bring new challenges into my life and for a return to physical endeavours whilst enjoying the amazing social network. This expedition took me to places I never thought I could venture and challenged me in the use of new skills within a thoroughly unforgiving environment. The days were long, the work was hard, and the rewards were monumental.  Our group grows stronger with each adventure, and we are all excited for the next chapter. A truly once in a lifetime experience with memories forged that I’ll keep forever.”

Joe Winch concludes: “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!”

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