Dad-of-two scaled 15 mountains in less than 24 hours to raise £5,000 for Maggie’s Wirral
2 years ago
A father-of-two climbed 15 mountains in less than 24 hours to raise thousands for cancer charity Maggie’s Wirral.
Rufus Carter completed the Welsh 3000s Challenge, scaling treacherous rocks and terrifying knife edges, to get to the top of all 15 mountains over 3000ft in Snowdonia; and it meant covering 30 miles and 14,000ft of ascent – or half the height of Everest.
Rufus, 52, from Chester, says: “It’s one of the toughest challenges in the UK and, while I’m pretty fit, I’m still feeling it two weeks later.”
But he said any praise should go to his partner Pippa, the ‘fierce, brave warrior’ partner he did it for.
Pippa, 50, has undergone surgery, and months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021.
It was thought she was cancer-free until it was discovered she had brain tumours at the start of this year.
Rufus adds: “Pippa was told nine months ago that she had six months to live, but she is determined to get through this and make a full recovery despite the odds.
“I scaled a few mountains in one day, but Pippa climbs a mountain every time she puts her feet on the floor in the morning.
“I call her my fierce, brave warrior, because she is. She stares every day down and deals with stuff which leaves me in awe, and I just fall at her feet in admiration.”
Rufus, part owner of Patchwork Foods in Ruthin, North Wales, made the momentous mountain climb with his sons William, 24, and Max, 22, with the help of Mick Caren, from Liverpool-based Peak Elevation UK.
He came up with the idea only a month he took on the challenge after his sons were talking about it while they were climbing in the lake District.
“I was looking for stuff that would distract me, doing anything that would take my mind off what was going on,” Rufus says.
“And as soon as I heard about the Welsh 3000s I thought, that’s it, where do I sign?”
Rufus knew the challenge would be mentally and physically demanding; before he embarked on it he increased his fitness training, using a 20kg weighted vest to exaggerate how strenuous the experience was going to be.
“Actually doing it was so big, you can’t comprehend it or what you are witnessing,” he says. “And because you are in a group of 12, the momentum and adrenaline keeps you going. You just get on with it.
“Crib Coch was the sharpest edge we went over and there was one fella being looked after who had just frozen.
“Some of the mountains seemed never ending, you just feel like you’re walking up, and up, and up. We were walking across some of the most iconic mountains in Wales and where, normally, you’ll do one or two in a weekend, we were doing 15 in a very short time.
“It’s tough, but the adrenaline gets you from A to B. Speaking of fitness, I asked one of my sons whether a challenge like this was 50% fitness and 50% mental attitude, but he said no, it’s about 80% mental attitude and he was right.
“It was a personal battle, every person on the walk, including my two sons, had a moment where it wasn’t making sense, and where they weren’t sure whether they could go forward. Part of the time you were just focusing on going forward – and staying alive.
“I was out of my comfort zone the entire time.”
But Rufus had one thought that got him through, raising money for Maggie’s Wirral, so that they can continue to do the work they do, and support people with cancer, and those around them.
People like him.
“I knew I would start cancer-free and finish cancer free, so that put so much into perspective.
“I visit Maggie’s every time Pippa goes to Clatterbridge Hospital for scans and treatment and I see what the fierce, brave warriors deal with day in and day out, those with cancer and those helping them. Suddenly things that seemed like a big deal, seem very small.
“For me Maggie’s is the most extraordinarily tranquil oasis, brought to life by the incredible staff and volunteers, it’s everything I need, every time I step through the door.
“Maggie’s has been the softest of places for me to land at the hardest of times, which is why I wanted to raise money for them so they could help more people and continue their amazing work.”
Rufus set a target of £1,000 but raised more than £4,000: “With Gift Aid it’s more than £5,000,” he adds.
The good news too is that for Pippa, who also has two children, Amy, 18, and Sam, 16, chemotherapy has been stopped at the moment because the tumours have shrunk.
Rufus says: ““We have been together for six years and I plan many, many more with my beautiful Pippa.”