01 Jul Challenge yourself with Alex Staniforth
The question we have been asked most often about the Elevation Challenge is ‘Why?’
The Challenge will take Erin and I on a 5000km cycle across western Europe, Turkey, Georgia and Russia, before climbing Mount Elbrus to reach the highest point in Europe at 5642m.
After I explain what the challenge entails, the first thing people want to know is why we are doing it. They point out that there are many other great ways to spend nine weeks. Ways that don’t involve cycling 5000km and then climbing a mountain.
By setting out on The Elevation Challenge, we hope to inspire other young people to take on the challenges in their own lives.
Thats why we are raising money for Big Change, who aim to accelerate positive change for young people in the UK, and why we are putting together a series of presentations at schools around London. We hope to be able to share our experiences in a way that might benefit others.
We believe in the transformative power of challenge for young people, and our extraordinary friend Alex Staniforth shares this view. He has been a huge inspiration to us, and has experienced the highs and lows of extreme adventure.
We asked him to share his thoughts on the transformative power of challenge.
After completing the EPIC7 series of ultra endurance challenges, he set out to climb Everest in 2014 and this year, 2015. Alex was caught up in the earthquake in Nepal, in which a number of his team members were killed by avalanche. He has since raised more than £27,000 for charity, including £7500 for the Earthquake appeal.
Alex: To climb Mount Everest is often seen as the pinnacle of challenge and adventure. It requires the full force of the human spirit to overcome obstacles and be worthy of standing on the very top of the world. From my experience, it becomes far more than just reaching the summit. After all, life is about learning, and for me personally, making the biggest difference I can.
Adventure has many faces; we all have our own Everest. The mountain only symbolises the long and winding journey of discovery and self-development, and our personal Everests often require the same mental toolkit as the real one.
For years I suffered with anxiety to the point of being unable to leave the house without my parents, and even to this day I struggle making phone calls with a bad speech impediment. But we have to try to overcome these challenges and find the solution. Whether we succeed or not, attempting to climb our own ‘Everest’ will change our lives and it will inspire others in the process.
As a 20 year old, I’ve noticed that young people around me don’t always pursue their dreams with the full tenacity needed to make them a reality. There is a pressure to conform and follow the same path, which sadly leads many young people to the same place.
Although I failed to summit Everest due to two major avalanches, I grew from the experience. Along the way I had to learn about marketing, sales, events organising, logistics, social media, PR, accounting, public speaking, networking, website designing, corporate communications, time management and interview skills to name just a few.
My experiences with Everest have taught me that when I have nothing left to give, I know I have more inside me.
Within us, we all have enough drive and determination to make our goals a reality. We cannot be afraid of failure; only failing to try.