“I wasn’t sure if my body could cope” – Fight for Sight supporter takes on Mt Everest
Serial adventurer Adam Jones took on the climb of a lifetime and summitted the almighty Mt Everest earlier this year, raising over £2k for sight-saving research.
The 34-year-old thrill-seeker was determined to take on the challenge to fundraise for Fight for Sight and raise awareness for keratoconus - despite warnings from his doctor and family about the potential risks.
Adam had always wanted to climb Everest, and decided to no longer put if off despite the real danger of his corneal graft being rejected by his eye at high altitudes.
“I had my corneal graft operation a few years back. My optician and surgeon warned me that my body could reject it while on the climb. There was a real risk there. My dad and sister were telling me not to go ahead with it. I have always had the mindset of you don’t ever know what will happen if you don’t try. So embrace it all now while you can. I wanted to inspire people with similar conditions who set a barrier for themselves because of it. There’s always boundaries to push – I’ve always been that way and my condition has made me think like this even more. If I set myself a goal I will always try my best to achieve it.”
Fighting the mental barriers
Joining a group of 20 strangers, Adam set off on the once-in-a-lifetime experience and wanted to do his best without pressuring himself to reach the summit.
He prepared his body by training in an oxygen restricting mask, hiking and running with it to get fully exposed to the difference in breathing.
But like many others, he couldn’t have predicted the mental barriers that came along the way.
He said: It’s definitely a battle. It’s unforgiving up there. People can drop their guard, especially on the way down. So you have to stay focussed and find new motivation every single day.
Speaking about the most challenging part, at Camp 2 (6400m altitude) he said:
“I felt ill and couldn’t even come out of my tent. Apparently my oxygen levels were at 57 and at the time I didn’t realise the severity of that. But since then I have spoken to a few people in the medical profession who told me that is dangerously low, and would ordinarily lead to emergency care. I’m glad I didn’t know this at the time because a day or two later we had to go to camp 3. I felt that I really pushed through barriers to get there. I genuinely wasn’t sure if my body could cope. Having to feel awful and have to convince yourself to keep going is really difficult.”
Out of 20 climbers, 12 summitted. One climber even had to be turned around early.
After reaching camp 3 safely, Adam decided he would take on the summit.
Recalling the experience, he said: “It was epic. We formed a little team of six for a few hours, went through a really rocky bit that was quite tough and then two of us kicked on to reach the south summit. Even there we felt such elation. It just felt unreal to be that high. At the final summit, we just sat there admiring the sunrise and taking it all in and waited for the rest of our small team to join us. I made sure to not touch my phone for a good few minutes.”
Wasting no time before planning his next challenge, Adam has now set his sights on crossing the Irish sea unsupported in a sea kayak. We wish him the best on all his adventures!
To support Adam’s Everest fundraiser, click here.