Friday, 23 December 2011

And so the project begins..

Hey guys..

Well, firstly, I'm Alex, an outdoors enthusiast from Kelsall in Cheshire. I have a passion for mountains, running, trail running, mountain biking, walking and mountains, and I like photography and climbing too. I've already been busy so far after developing a lot of interest in this sort of stuff, and I've got even bigger plans. In July this year I became the youngest person ever to do the 3 Peaks Challenge solo and raised £1700 for charity. I've also began running and entered a few races this year and I'm wanting more! Raced the Beeston (Sandstone Run) 10k, Winsford 10k, Hellrunner and the Tatton Yule Yomp 10k in December. Finished 11th in Tatton, out of 867, which is my best running acheivement so far, in a time of 41:30. Loving it. Already entered the Tatton Park 10k in March, due to do the Helsby Half Marathon in January, entered the Beeston run (again), Chester Half Marathon and the 50 mile Manchester-Chester bike ride. Due to enter the Chester and Snowdonia Marathons, and I'm considering the Ring of Fire, an ultra marathon which takes on 131 miles in 3 days.. Otherwise I'm an A-level student, and my focus is on doing these hobbies and having fun on the way.
It's all about living the dream.

My main project for 2012 is tackling Mont Blanc, at 15,720ft (4800m) it's the highest in the Alps, if you didn't already know. A largely untechnical peak, very much achievable with even little experience and no huge amount of fitness or mountaineering skill is required hence why it is summitted by over 100,000 every year. It also has a high death rate, partially due to the number of people attempting it without appropriate experience to maintain themselves in the mountain environment. It's definitely no challenge to be under-estimated. It's a very popular mountain because of it's accessiblity and lack of technicality, being situated near one of the Alp's hotspots, Chamonix, and being covered by many many guiding firms in the area who are relatively cheap.

I've paid my £400 deposit to Dream Guides (www.dream-guides.com), which is non-refundable, so I'm going! Very excited, can't wait, I want 7 months to come quickly but I doubt they will. In the meantime I can just do the planning for it, and the training, although I've been told that a general cardiovascular fitness level of being able to do a half marathon in 1:45 is needed, and I can manage it in 1:42 at the moment. I'll be part of a group, with a qualified mountain guide or two. It'll be a small group or 5-6 people at most so I'll be able to bond with them and come away with friends too which is good. I won't be doing it with anyone I know as I had hoped, but I'll manage on my own as I'll be focused on nothing but getting myself up and down in one piece.

Why do I want to do it?
It's an easy benchmark and it's cheap. It's at a good altitude to build up to higher altitudes, without being too expensive to get to but not too easy that I gain little from it. It's a great, basic introduction and I wouldn't want to start any easier or any harder. The views up there look awesome too, and it's a short course so it doesn't take much time up. It just looks like a brilliant experience, still with the element of risk as you'd expect, but just seeing the mountain attracts me. It's something that's been growing on me for a while. The summit draws me to it, I feel like I've got to get there and see it for myself.. so I will! I'm not just your typical over-ambitious teen who thinks he can summit the most dangerous and highest peaks in the world just by being good in the gym (which I'm not!), I respect what mountaineering involves, and I am serious about what I do. It's not just signing a cheque and being dragged up a mountain by someone, I will be fully responsible for my own actions up there and I understand that. Sorry guys, serious mountaineering talk finished. Let the good times roll. Just wanted to make sure people knew where I stood in front of this bloody big French hill.

My other plans for the future include Kilimanjaro, Ama Dablam, Island Peak, Manaslu, various Alps ascents, Everest Base Camp and Everest is on the list too (seriously!). I just want to explore, and eventually work as a mountain guide doing this for a living. Got plenty of time to think about all that though. Looking for sponsorship for Mont Blanc. Still got £1300 to pay by June next year. That doesn't include insurance or other costs like transport from airport to Chamonix (mum's paying for flights which helps), and my kit costs, which really aren't cheap. If you own or work for a company and want your brand name to be endorsed by my attempt, i.e. if you want a mention in my press releases (I always publicise my attempts online, locally and in the newspapers so it's a brilliant opportunity) then please contact me. Imagine having your brand name, company logo etc being held by me on a banner, from the summit of Mont Blanc! What a brilliant publicity opportunity for you to use to target customers! If you would be willing to fund part or all of my expedition fee I'd be very grateful and make it worthwhile for you. Call me up on 07891 841376 anytime to discuss this or email me at: climber-stani@hotmail.co.uk. Without funding, the climb cannot be guaranteed to go ahead.

You may have seen me in the Chester Chronicle recently, advertising a similar story to the one above I've just mentioned. This is my 7th appearance in the newspaper this year, and is just the first of many in the future, and at least 2 more articles related to my Mont Blanc ascent. This could have your name on it, if you support me.

Oh, and I'm going to be running with the Olympic Torch for London 2012 on the 29th May next year!

Thanks for checking out the blog, I hope you're interested in my story and upcoming adventure, I hope you keep coming back for updates and please spread the word!
Have a Happy Christmas and watch this space :-)

Find me on Facebook, and say hello! https://www.facebook.com/alex.staniforth1

Live the Dream....