737 Challenge

7 Summits, 3 Poles in 7 Months. A World First.

On 12th July 2011 Richard became the first person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles (North Pole, South Pole and the summit of Mount Everest) within 7 months.

During his record setting expedition he skied the last degree to the North and South Poles and climbed Mount Vinson, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, Carstensz Pyramid, Mount Everest, Denali and Mount Elbrus.  Along the rollercoaster journey which he completed in 6 months, 11 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes, he suffered weather delays, porter strikes, frostbite on Everest almost losing his toe and came within inches of losing his life after a crevasse fall on Denali.

Nobody had ever even attempted such a feat in a calendar year, let alone 7 months, and Richard invested his life savings in to 18 months of meticulous preparation to acquire a lifetime of polar and mountaineering skills before he started his epic journey.  His world first set a new benchmark in the climbing of the 7 summits.

Richard’s 737 Challenge proudly raised over £320,000 in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care and created a media value worth £3m to the cancer charity, creating 63.8 million oppounities to see around the globe. 

His world first was also captured on camera and a 3-part documentary series; Richard Parks: Conquering the World was broadcast on BBC Wales and has since been distributed to networks around the globe.  You can download and watch the re-versioned documentary produced for iTunes UK and US by clicking here.

Latest Blog

737 Challenge - Wednesday 22nd Aug 2012

Hey guys, I have been a bit quiet since Denali as I have not been feeling too good. As well as taking time to recover from the expedition, the last 2 years have finally caught up with me and I have not been able to escape the fact that I have needed to…

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Latest Blog
  • 737 Challenge - 26th July 2011 - Tuesday 26th Jul 2011

    26th July 2011

    The last two weeks since I summited Mount Elbrus have been an absolute whirlwind, a massive sensory shock really. Not just adapting to civilian life again and being off the mountains but also coming to terms with all the overwhelming support from everyone. It’s been pretty humbling and surreal.

    When I came back the first week I was living off adrenalin, the buzz of seeing friends, family and everything was keeping me going, however I always knew that at some point the last 6 months would catch up with me and I would be hit over the head by a cricket bat! That happened at the end of last week and I’ve been shattered since! I’d always anticipated that if successful I, and the 737 Challenge team, would be busy making the most of the opportunity from our exposure to fundraise as much as possible. However, I had no idea how manic it would actually be! I’m as committed to this next chapter of the 737 Challenge as I was to the climbing, but it’s not easy, we still have a lot of work ahead of us and I’m amped about it!

    Although I’m very proud of what I and everyone involved in the 737 Challenge have achieved, I’m still not really comfortable with all the attention. It’s incredibly humbling how people view the challenge’s success, I still feel lucky to have had the opportunity to even attempt it! I’m not exaggerating when I say that I owe so much to the team, sponsors and many people on the periphery who all helped make this a reality, not just for me, but for Marie Curie. It’s all still sinking in guess! I’ve had really good advice about all the media stuff, never the less it’s been an equal challenge for me, but I am enjoying it.

    Yesterday when I was in BBC Radio 2 I just missed meeting The Boss Bruce Springsteen, he was going down in the lift as I was coming up in the other one, and on BBC Breakfast Sir Anthony Hopkins was due on the same day as me but couldn’t come on the show! I am not one to get star struck but I’d be lying if I said I that I wasn’t excited to meet both of them! Still I did eat Sir Anthony’s breakfast in the green room and The Boss probably heard me singing ‘Dancing in the dark’ in the lift over from him as we passed! Ha!

    I am really excited about the documentary going out tonight on BBC One Wales. I’m proud that not only have we got a documentary on BBC Wales but also of what we’ve produced, It’s awesome. It’s very powerful to me that, like everyone involved in the challenge, Sports Media Services - my filming partner and BBC Wales took the leap of faith with me when others didn’t in the beginning. I would have loved for it to be longer, but still amped we’re able to share a small glimpse of the last 2 years with everyone. It’s really important to me that people like it. I know we’ve had interest from other network channels and broadcasters, and hopefully we’ll be able to produce a longer insight into the challenge in the near future.

    A lot of people are tweeting asking why it’s not on network BBC, the truth is that in the beginning it was near impossible getting this documentary commissioned for various reasons, that’s why I’m grateful to SMS and BBC Wales for sharing my adventurous spirit. Everyone across the UK can view it on the iPlayer, digitally and who knows where it might go after this. There are lots of exciting prospects, possibly even making a DVD. For now I’m excited to see the 1st episode tonight...I’ve got my popcorn and pillow ready!

    I’m still desperately trying to catch up with friends, family and sponsors however that’s proving as much of a challenge as the last 6 months have been! My diary of fundraising, media and appearances is pretty chocca already...I’ve never been so organised in my life!!

    I am looking forward to picking up my Audi that Mon Motors Audi are generously lending me to help me get round the country. I don’t know which model it is yet, but who cares it’s an Audi! Our Audi A1 which has been out there already promoting our amazing text to win an Audi A1 competition is proving a bit of a hit, not just amongst the humans but I couldn’t get Ben out the boot the other day as he was too comfy! It’s a pretty cool car! However, I still have issues with driving around in a car with my big face on the side! But it’s all to raise funds in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care so please keep texting, the more you text the better chance you have of winning it! Luckily the winner gets a brand new faceless version! Ha!

    My toe is recovering really well. Mega painful, but that’s a sign that all the nerves and tissue are regenerating. I managed to get through the last 2 legs of the challenge without too much trauma to my toe, then yesterday at the challenge team meeting I stubbed it on a chair!! It grossed everyone out as it started bleeding all over my flip flop! Seriously, It’s the very best outcome I could have hoped for and once again I owe my thanks to everyone who helped me through that horrible and uncertain 2 weeks between Everest and Denali. I am likely to lose a small part of it but looking at the big picture Lazarus has done me proud!

    It’s fair to say I am feeling pretty mixed up. I am really happy to be home, it’s overwhelming, awesome and I am so grateful to everyone, but I’ve been travelling for so long it’s been difficult adjusting back and in some ways I miss the simplicity of expedition life. I miss the mountains.

    My biggest challenge to date though has been teaching my dog Ben out of all the bad habits my mum and dad have taught him whilst I was away! He’s been properly spoilt! Ha ha!

    I am going to keep writing my diary and thanks to everyone who has been reading each entry. Just sorting out a new diary page here at 737challenge.com but for now will keep writing here on Elbrus!

    Catch you soon guys, Rich.

  • 737 Challenge - 31st July 2011 - Sunday 31st Jul 2011

    Hi Guys! Here’s my diary for the last few days. Hope you are all having a top weekend. Wednesday was a brutal press day from 11am to 8.45pm. I was doing press interviews non-stop. We didn’t realise there were 3 Boston tea party cafes in Bristol and I was sat in one whilst Chris from a magazine I was being interviewed by was sat in another, savage! We got together eventually! Then had another great catch up with Euan from the Observer, they’ve been writing a piece on me over the last month and after spending an hour in Cardiff with him before Elbrus I caught up again with him again on the phone. Really looking forward to seeing the piece, more on when it’s coming out soon.

    Thursday I had coffee with my mate Sid then spent all afternoon at my filming partners Sports media services going through episode 2. Whilst there I was lucky to catch up with the MD of Sony’s technology centre who gave me a cool video camera as a present, which was pretty awesome. I had pizza with my mate Kev in the night. I know I am still readjusting to normal life after 7 months on expedition but I thought it was awesome that you can track your pizza’s progress live online, me and Kev sat staring at the computer for 30 mins!! Quality time!

    Still catching up with everyone and on Friday I went to Pembrokeshire to see Gemma our Events Manager and her newborn baby Eva, the first official 737 Challenge baby!! Ha ha! She’s lush and it was great to see Gems and the family.

    Yesterday I went to the cinema to watch Cars 2 with my mates Bev, Andy and their kids…but fell asleep in the first 15 minutes! I am still feeling pretty tired.

    Today I have been sorting through my diary with my PR Manager and catching up on tweets, which has been fun. I couldn’t bare to see Ben my dog looking ridiculously bored whilst I was on the laptop so we took Ben for a walk in the park.

    You might have seen on Twitter but World of Groggs have released a new limited edition Grogg of me which is pretty cool, I’ve even got my expedition beard! Will be sending an eshot all about it tomorrow.

    This week is another busy one with appointments and press stuff. On Thursday I am doing a live web chat at Media Wales, which you can get involved in and send questions in live, more details to follow soon. Thursday night is the next 737 Challenge club night with a double denim theme! The team think they are taking the mick out of me with this theme but little do they know that I have got triple denim ready to rock!

  • 737 Challenge - 16th August 2011 - Tuesday 16th Aug 2011

    It’s been a few weeks since I last did my diary really sorry my feet still haven’t touched the ground since I got back.

    On the 4th I did my first ever live webchat. I went in to Media Wales, one of my media partners to do it. I really enjoyed it, it was very different to all the other interviews I had already done and it was really good to share the challenge intimately with everyone. People were commenting on how fast I was typing but my 2 finger typing wouldn’t have cut the mustard so it was down to Paul to save the day!

    The last 737 Challenge club was held that night and it was great to see some familiar faces and not so familiar, now…(I know I need to let this go) I am still reeling at drawing out my own ticket in the raffle, winning the Rab jacket and having to give it away ha!

    I’ve got an awesome new Audi to drive! I want to say a massive thank you to Gavin Cleverly at Mon Motors Audi not just for their support throughout the challenge as one of my sponsors but especially for lending me a brand new Audi A4 allroad. To fund part of the challenge I have had to sell my truck and without my new car I simply wouldn’t be able to get around the country fundraising.

    It’s been a long time since I have had to drive a car, and it showed as for the entire drive up to Leeds I had to regress to 2 hands on the steering wheel, 10 to 2 all the way!

    Every day is like Christmas as I find a new button and a new gadget in the car, it properly rocks.

    I had a manic but really awesome day back in Leeds doing press stuff and seeing everyone back at Headingley. We did loads of radio, TV and newspapers and it was pretty much non-stop from 10am - 7pm.

    As soon as I arrived in Leeds memories of my time there came flooding back to me, although not all my memories as I got lost on the one-way system! I sincerely loved my time in Yorkshire playing for Leeds and it was great to see lots of old friends…and it was even sunny!!

    Then it was a quick dash up to Kendall to meet some of the guys from Rab, Mountain Boot Company and the Kendall Mountain Festival. Meeting the guys at the Kendall outdoor retail show was like gear porn for me, I even managed to pick up a few pressies!

    Then it was on the road again back down to Portsmouth via lunch at Jagged Globe. The other Parksy is off again to Cho Oyu at the end of the month, I am really excited for him but wish I was going too, in fact that really made me realise quite how stir crazy I am going not being able to train or climb. On that note my toe is lived up to the name Lazarus and is slowly coming back from the dead! It’s improving every day, apart from when I stub it and knock off the scabs! It’s improving all the time, but not quick enough for Mr Impatient over here.

    I went back to the University of Portsmouth where I did my cold-water immersion testing last year in my training for the challenge. After a quick stop at the University, this time keeping out of the cold water tank and keeping my clothes, I did some radio interviews then it was a rare chance for me to catch up with some friends and unwind in a restaurant in Gunwharf whilst looking up at the yellow Spinnaker Tower which was genuinely amazing! They turned it yellow to support my challenge and Marie Curie Cancer Care to help raise the profile of my fundraising, which was awesome.

    A pretty good week only just got better – as Saturday I was invited as a guest of honour to the Wales v England game which in it’s own right is a huge honour but the day was made really special by the WRU for not just inviting me but my parents and all the challenge team. It was a wicked day, a huge honour to be there but I also had a really fun time. Met some cool people, got a chance to hang out in the box with the 737 Challenge team and my mates and I really enjoyed being at the game and watching Wales win. I am really grateful for the WRU for inviting everyone and it was amazing being received by the fans but what was really cool about it as that we were all there together.

    Sunday was my Birthday. When Mum and Dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday my honest answer was a lie in!! and my day was exactly what I wanted, it was perfect. I got out of bed just after midday, no washing or putting any pants on! Got in my tracksuit bottoms and went down to the supermarket and brought loads of BBQ food, BBQ’d in the afternoon, stopping Ben my dog steeling sausages from the BBQ and then watched movies with my folks for the rest of the day and I had my phone off! Was perfect!

    There’s still lots going on and my diary is still as busy as ever going in to the next few weeks. I am looking forward to going back to Sardis Road to Pontypridd this week, and then it’s gonna be interesting going to Paris on Sunday for a press day in Paris Monday, if it wasn’t nerve-wracking enough to do interviews on British TV, now I have to do it in French on French TV too!

    After that I am off on holiday for 10 days, I finally get a chance to rest and reflect, can’t wait!

    Last but certainly not least I am really looking forward to the Gala Dinner on the 15th September and finding Ben a tuxedo suit to try and sneak him in!!!

  • 737 Challenge - 21st January 2012 - Saturday 21st Jan 2012

    Hi Guys. I know it’s been ages since I have written my blog, time flies and it has been so crazy and busy since I returned in July with talks, appearances and fundraising constantly so apologies for not writing sooner! We will be updating you soon with a newsletter about what’s been happening the last 6 months and once again thank you for all your support.

    I thought I would send updates whilst I am on Aconcagua, just like the old days! I’m climbing a more technical route on north side of the mountain this time around and using the expedition to test some gear and systems for project ideas further down the line, I’m amped to be back in Argentina!

    After 18 hours of travelling I landed in Chile. I slept well but am gutted as I watched all of Moneyball (film with Brad Pitt) but they turned the TV’s off with 7 minutes to go! I’ve now arrived in Mendoza after a pretty bumpy flight in over the Andes! It’s 34 degrees here! First thing first…steak and a coke for lunch! Then we are going to be sorting kit.

    Speak soon, Rich.

  • 737 Challenge - 22nd January 2012 - Sunday 22nd Jan 2012

    Been sorting white gas out today, doing calculations for the amount we need! Guess our ability to cook and melt snow hinges on my maths! Ha! My OCD has come in handy as I've been writing a spreadsheet for our food and am going to buy it now! Also we’ve arranged our transport from Mendoza to Los Penitentes on Tuesday today. Not far from set now! We have changed our itinerary to miss the first camp out in the trek in - we trek from 2415m at Vacas park entry to Casa de Piedra at 3245m on Wednesday now, this gives us an extra day to play with higher on the mountain. I guess that's not relevant until Tuesday! All good here, speak soon.

  • 737 Challenge - 23rd January 2012 - Monday 23rd Jan 2012

    Sorted climbing permit out which was a tough 500 quid! Finished packing the food and hired a long wave radio to be able to communicate with the park rangers. Being a little OCD we have the most organised and neatest day food bags ever! Ha! At base camp and camp 1 I have added a little surprise treat!

    Tomorrow we drive to the park entrance, Punta de Vacas at 2415m. Load the mules with our gear for base camp. We will stay overnight at Vacas tomorrow and early on Wednesday morning start the 11hr / 31km trek to our first camp, Casa de Piedra at 3245m.

  • 737 Challenge - 24th January 2012 - Tuesday 24th Jan 2012

    Weather's mixed on the mountain, lots of snow fall on the Polish Glacier side. The Polish glacier has been shut for a few weeks for avalanche safety, so we'll have to see what's up when we're there. There are other route options. Feeling amped and ready!

    I've arrived in Punta de Vacas and checked in to the park. Our bags dropped off at the mules and as per normal I'm proud to say mine was the lightest at 23kg!

    We're getting mixed reports from the mountain so I'm excited and a little apprehensive to get to Plaza Argentina (base camp) to see for myself the conditions and make route plans accordingly. I'm happy to say that there are no ice cream shops here in Los Penitentes at 2610m, but I am planning on smashing a t-bone steak into me tonight! I always get sad eating a t-bone when I can’t take the bone back for Ben! I hear he's up to his usual mischief, when I'm not there to rein him in, eating my folks Indian take away from the oven! Ha! Catch you guys tomorrow.

  • 737 Challenge - 25th January 2012 - Wednesday 25th Jan 2012

    11hr trek in to Casa de Piedra camp 3240m missing lower camp out to gain an extra day up high. Bags still not arrived here. Hopefully they’ll come soon! Virtually nobody around. Very windy but all good!

  • 737 Challenge - 26th January 2012 - Thursday 26th Jan 2012

    Our bags arrived last night in the end! The Caballeros felt sorry and gave us some steak...which was better than my soup! Today was a 6hr trek to Plaza Argentina/base camp at 4200m. Feel a little tired, big altitude jump in 2 days and 43km trekked. Much needed acclimatisation rest day tomorrow. Got stuck at a river crossing, a lot of melted water. The Mule guy gave us a lift on his mule Taxi! Speak soon guys.

  • 737 Challenge - 28th January 2012 - Saturday 28th Jan 2012

    Yesterday I had a much needed rest day. There wasn’t much to report and no new news on Polish Glacier, we might have to change our route plan but I will know more higher up.

    Today I load carried to camp 1, 5000m. Back at Plaza Argentina now. Great to be working to climb the mountain. Winds increasing now and for tomorrow for the move up to camp 1. Still no clearer on route, but I have options from camp 2. The toe and I are good. Movie night for me on my ipod tonight!

  • 737 Challenge - 29th January 2012 - Sunday 29th Jan 2012

    Moved to camp 1, 5000m today. Heavy pack day! Very windy here, hot in the sun, flippin cold out of it! Last night we swapped hot chocolate for Arribiata sauce for our pasta! Awesome! My £50 on hot chocolate was a wise purchase! Normally it’s white gold (toilet paper) but for the Germans here it’s Choc Gold! The toe and me are good. Teatime = super noodles and tuna. I’m missing Ben!

  • 737 Challenge - 30th January 2012 - Monday 30th Jan 2012

    Last night was windy! I love my new MSR tent, it’s bomber! The glacial stream froze this morning so we had to break through the ice to get water for breakfast. Hot and windy day today but needed acclimatisation day, feeling good. Tomorrow we carry to camp 2 and check route conditions on the glacier. I have an open mind at moment, I have 3 route options. Camp 2 is 5900m about the same height as Kilimanjaro. Speak soon guys!

  • 737 Challenge - 1st February 2012 - Wednesday 1st Feb 2012

    Had a bad night’s sleep last night, mind busy thinking about my book! Today was tough due to lack of sleep and load carry to Camp 2, 5900m. That’s Kili! Got a good look at Polish Glacier for the first time. The conditions are poor although it looks an awesome route. All things considered I made the safe call to traverse the normal route from Camp 2, called the false Polish Route!! My goal is to get to the summit and take a special photo for Marie Curie Cancer Care, all will be revealed soon I hope. Dad has been reading the weather to me every night and it looks that Friday is the summit window. Winds are very high and causing problems. Dreading climbing to Camp 2 again tomorrow! If it all goes well I aim to summit Friday 3pm UK time.

  • 737 Challenge - 2nd February 2012 - Thursday 2nd Feb 2012

    Yesterday was an epic day. To be in the right place at the right time for summit we had to move to Camp 2 in pretty high winds. It was like scrummaging at times! Then a surgical operation to pitch the tent in crazy winds. My new MSR tent is bombproof and totally lush. There was only 1 other tent at camp yesterday, I had this side of Aconcagua virtually all to myself! A very cold and insanely windy day.

    Last night was once again insane winds but blue skies today. More teams arrived today and one are attempting the Polish Glacier. Another team have done like us, planned it but are traversing the false Polish. This exped has been a tougher, better side of the mountain and fun. Aiming to summit tomorrow so hopefully will speak to you guys after my 2nd Summit of Aconcagua!

  • 737 Challenge - 3rd February 2012 - Friday 3rd Feb 2012

    Richard summits Aconcagua for the 2nd time at 18.45 GMT. More to follow on next update.

  • 737 Challenge - 8th January 2012 - Wednesday 8th Feb 2012

    Hey guys, I bet some of you were starting to doubt whether I would be writing a summit blog! I'm sorry for the delay it's been an epic few days since my last entry. The last time we spoke I had just arrived in camp 2 at the foot of the polish glacier at 5900m. The weather was totally bluebird (blue skies) for our rest day, which was a little worrying as it seemed that this year she (Aconcagua) hadn’t shared too many summit days!

    We were all pretty beat up at this point of the Exped. The heavy loads had begun to take their toll, not to mention the fully loaded climb to camp 2 and erecting the tent in 60+kph winds the day before.

    All day I stared up at the polish glacier, the route that we'd come to climb. For a mountain that gets bad press for being boring, the East side of the mountain/polish glacier side is pretty awesome in my books! At any given time we were one of only 2 or 3 tents, unlike the mega busy normal route. I know that I made the right call not to attempt the polish glacier as the ice conditions were pretty ropey to say the least, but I was gutted - it looks so beautiful. It's very similar I guess to the Lhotse face on Everest. About a vertical km of hard and steep windswept ice from 6000m to 7000m. The difference is that here the route isn't fixed with safety ropes and you have crevasses and seracs to contend with, and you're not as acclimatised as you would be on Everest. We'd only been on Acon 7 days at this point!

    Anyway, enough now, I/we had made the decision so it was now about the best strategy to summit via the 'true false polish glacier route'. I knew we were strong in the team and that the sun rose about 7am. Ironically two of us were carrying relatively recent frostbite injuries, so I had a plan to best protect our toes! If we backed our ability to climb efficiently and therefore fast, we could leave after the sun came up avoiding the bitterly cold night. The down side was that the winds were due to increase in the afternoon. We decided to get up at 6am and leave at 7am on summit day.

    Summit morning is the closest thing that I'll get to a pre match rugby changing room. There’s not much talking in the tent, just deliberate conversation and action. It's a great feeling. The other team, from America, that were attempting to summit via the same route had left camp almost 2 hours before us, and seemed miles ahead of us. The first part of the climb is a 3/4hr traverse from the East side of the mountain around to North side rising from 5900m to approx 6200m. Then you join the 'normal climbing route' and the masses! Luckily the poor weather had meant that there were relatively few climbers attempting to summit this day.

    Once on the North side of the mountain the climbing route steepens with a series of zig zags and another long traverse to the bottom of the 'Canaletta'. This is the final 2-4hrs of the summit push and probably the most dangerous part of the climb. By the time we had reached this point we had caught the rest of the teams up, although having been climbing for 2-4 hours less.

    The weather from Dad was accurate and the winds did begin to increase significantly, but still within the realms of safe mountaineering. We summited on the 3rd February at 15:45 local time, 18:45 GMT in 60+kph winds and around -28 degrees Celcius, after an 8hr summit climb. For obvious reasons we didn’t stay long on the summit, conscious of getting back down safely.

    I did however manage to take some photos with my Marie Curie Cancer Care 'Tea Pot' and 'Daffodil' for the Great Daffodil Appeal! I’m not sure they've come out as expected but at least they are authentic!

    The down climb is always the hardest both mentally and physically in my opinion, and it didn't disappoint! We got back to the safety of my new MSR tent shattered, but content! A 12 hr day in total.

    The following day turned out to be the toughest day ironically!! Mountains have a funny way of kicking you when you’re down! All good character building! We had a map which showed a trail from camp 2, gently traversing down and around the mountain to 'Nido' camp at 5500m. This was the first day that we had 'everything' loaded in our packs, about 30kgs each! To cut a long story short, we dropped down from camp 2 only to realise that there was no trail and the scree slope was too steep to traverse with heavy packs on. This meant a painful 2 hr climb back UP to another camp called 'Colera' to drop down into 'Nido' camp! All above 5700m! A savage twist!

    The next 2 days were non-stop down climbing firstly to Plaza De Mulas, the base camp on the other side of the mountain, and then down to the park entrance at Horcones. Once out the park the adventure for the night was only just started! Trying to flag a bus down in what is the equivalent of a motorway was the beginning, and the end was a bunk bed underneath a ceiling fan!! The Argies aren't too hot on health and safety! Ha!

    This trip has been very different to last years climb as part of my 737 Challenge. It's been awesome in fact! Bloody tough, but great! I'm still pinching myself, from the depth of depression around my forced retirement 2.5 years ago to now being able to safely head into the mountains is just awesome. Not many people traverse Aconcagua because it's tough. Done properly, without support, the loads are equal to Denali not to mention the extreme altitude. I'm really proud to have safely summited, especially as its been a difficult year due to weather on Aconcagua. I'm even more proud to say that it seems as if my climbing partner on this trip and friend Aniko Molnar was the first Hungarian to successfully traverse Aconcagua. Nice work mate!!

    I'm home at the end of this week and straight back into the fundraising! This trip has recharged me and allowed me some clarity (in life and..) to do what needs to be done in order to maximise the time left fundraising in aid of Marie Curie. We still have a long way to go until July, but many exciting initiatives to get there! Even since I've been away, I know the 737 Challenge team have been on it and the support from you guys is still incredible!

    P.S. The truth is this was all a mega high altitude training session for First Nation Home in March! Ha! I'd fancy a punt on us Welshies to bring it home!!

  • 737 Challenge - Wednesday 22nd Aug 2012

    Hey guys, I have been a bit quiet since Denali as I have not been feeling too good. As well as taking time to recover from the expedition, the last 2 years have finally caught up with me and I have not been able to escape the fact that I have needed to recharge physically, mentally and emotionally.

    Most people would normally take months to recover from any one of the 9 legs of the challenge and since completing the world first in July last year my schedule has been non stop with the other part of the 737 Challenge which is the fundraising, appearance and media work. I have only had a few days off and I have been pretty much in denial about how long I've been able to maintain the schedule, eventually it caught up with me!

    In no way am I wanting to sound like I am moaning, I am incredibly grateful for all the experiences over the last 2 years and would go through every second again in a heartbeat, I have loved the journey, and now I am just taking some time to recharge and reflect on the last couple of the years. Writing my book has been really helpful and cathartic actually and it's kept me pretty busy. With planning fully underway for Project X in 2013/2014 I am really looking forward to the final stages of tests and development later in the year on my solo expedition skiing from Hercules Inlet to the Geographic South Pole in Antarctica. It's vital for the success and safety of the project that I get fit and strong again soon, for that reason, sadly I have had to pull out of leading the 737 Challenge Kilimanjaro Fundraising trek with Jagged Globe in September.

    On a more positive note, I have just broken the news to the lucky winner of our Audi A1 competition, kindly donated by Mon Motors Audi. She was pretty surprised and excited and we will be announcing the winner soon, so I guess if you are reading and you haven't had a call from me then you are not the winner, sorry!! I'd like to say thank you so much to the Mon Motors Group and everyone who entered helping me raise further funds in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. Your support, as always has been overwhelming and amazing.

    I've also been writing a food test article with my Denali climbing partner Nikki Skinner for next month's edition of Trek & Mountain magazine. We did a dehydrated meals test on Denali, it was good having to write notes, it kept me and Nikki occupied stuck at 5,200m in a typical Alaskan storm, although I wasn't saying that when the pen froze!

    There's plenty happening over here, as always, and hopefully soon I'll be able to announce some new ambassadorial roles/sponsorships, a new schools program initiative, my new website and the sale of my 737 Challenge BBC Wales documentary to international and national networks, plus lots more!

    I've started easing myself back into training after 8 weeks of forced rest! I'm a rubbish patient and although I feel much better for the recovery, it's been tough being disciplined not to train. Especially during all the inspirational and awesome performances from the GB athletes during the Olympics. My favorites were the Brownlee brothers in the Triathlon, Bradley Wiggins in the TT, Mo Farah in his double, Lizzie Armitstead in the Cycling Road Race (having only started 4 years ago!), Nicola Adams in the Flyweight Boxing, Andrew Osagie's amazing run behind the incredible David Rudisha in the 800m final and Wales' Jade Jones in the Taekwondo. Although it was awesome watching everyone from the volunteers to the athletes, they did Great Briton proud. I've always been proud to be Welsh and British, but our Olympics surpassed my expectations. I'm amped for the Paralympics now. #superhumans

    I could ramble on, you know me guys! But I've got to prep for a speaking event in Scotland before I leave for my hols in Sicily on Sunday. I can't wait! It started off as a chillaxing holiday but has evolved into a cycling adventure around the island! Ooops! Panniers included! Well...I'll still enjoy the beach too!

    Thank you guys. Your support and faith throughout the last 2 years has been key to me, keeping me going during the dark times and it's been very much together that we have supported the Marie Curie Cancer Care Charity. You guys rock. This is the just beginning of our journey together...Antarctica again soon.

    Until then, safe travels and adventures.

    Rich

Older Blog Posts

737 Challenge - 8th January 2012 - Wednesday 8th Feb 2012

Hey guys, I bet some of you were starting to doubt whether I would be writing a summit blog! I'm sorry for the delay it's been an epic few days since my last entry. The last time we spoke I had just arrived in camp 2 at the foot of the polish glacier at…

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737 Challenge - 3rd February 2012 - Friday 3rd Feb 2012

Richard summits Aconcagua for the 2nd time at 18.45 GMT. More to follow on next update.

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737 Challenge - 2nd February 2012 - Thursday 2nd Feb 2012

Yesterday was an epic day. To be in the right place at the right time for summit we had to move to Camp 2 in pretty high winds. It was like scrummaging at times! Then a surgical operation to pitch the tent in crazy winds. My new MSR tent is bombproof…

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737 Challenge - 1st February 2012 - Wednesday 1st Feb 2012

Had a bad night's sleep last night, mind busy thinking about my book! Today was tough due to lack of sleep and load carry to Camp 2, 5900m. That's Kili! Got a good look at Polish Glacier for the first time. The conditions are poor although it…

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