Seven Everests for Men’s Mental Health

A cycling challenge in support of charity Movember

Read time 2 mins

Published Jun 09, 2022

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

Over a single week in May, Chris Hall cycled a grand total of 1289.44km and 56,496m of elevation, spending 91 hours and 46 minutes in the saddle in an attempt to climb the equivalent height of Everest, seven times over.

Whilst Chris’s total ascent didn’t quite equate to a whole seven Everests, he clocked a very respectable six and a half, despite arduous conditions which made the challenge all the more testing. Much more than simply numbers, the purpose of the challenge was to raise money for Movember, a charity focussed on improving support for men’s mental health and suicide prevention.

Endurance cyclist and mental health advocate Chris Hall took on the daunting challenge as part of his Seven Everests Project, a feat more madcap than any he had attempted before; Everesting the Stwlan Dam in Gwynedd, north-west Wales in support of men’s mental health charity Movember – seven times over.

In order to complete the full 61,936m of ascent amounting to seven times the world’s highest mountain, Chris would have to cycle 33 reps of the iconic route each day, totalling around 182km.

‘With this challenge I really hope to highlight that people can suffer at any point, no matter what day of the week or what time of day it is,’ Chris said in a post on his Instagram page. ‘Cycling, for me has been a huge help in my own mental health which I have struggled with in the past when I worked in design and still do at points.

‘Three quarters of all suicides in the UK are men. That’s 13 every day, 91 a week, or one every two hours. Globally, on average, 1 man dies by suicide every minute of every day. It’s heartbreaking.’

The concept of Everesting will be familiar to many. Described on the official Everesting website as, ‘fiendishly simple: Pick any hill, anywhere in the world and complete repeats of it in a single activity until you climb 8,848m – the equivalent height of Mt Everest’. The term was first coined by George Mallory II, grandson of prodigious mountaineer George Mallory, who tragically perished on Everest in 1924. The younger Mallory rode eight laps of the 1,069 metre Mount Donna Buang in Australia 1994, and the first official group effort was organised by Andy van Bergen some 10 years later, with 65 riders attempting the gruelling feat.

Everesting can be done alone or as part of a team and can be carried out on any uphill stretch. Throughout the challenge, Chris was supported by friends and acquaintances as well as a film crew who documented his colossal effort. You can watch the film below.

Thwarted by dangerous weather including 40mph gusts and thunderstorms, at times Chris was forced to make up sections of ascent on his Turbo Trainer. Suffering from sleep deprivation and at times, in immense pain from so many hours in the saddle, Chris’s grit and determination, and the support and encouragement of his friends and the public kept him pedalling across the seven-day finish line.

‘I pushed myself to my absolute limit, and then kept pushing some more,’ he says. ‘For me, something so important about this challenge was showing how having a good support system around you can help lift you out of what may seem like a hopeless situation.

‘There is no weakness here. There is no failure. There are only things to be proud of. Proud of what I still achieved. Proud of everyone who picked up my spirits, whether virtually or in person.’

Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men. Chris’s Seven Everests challenge highlights the importance of the work that such charities do and the importance of speaking up, checking in, and knowing that it’s ok not to be ok.

 

© Jack Hague

If you are struggling with your mental health, you can speak with someone immediately by contacting NHS 111 on 111 or Samaritans on 116 123 (U.K). 

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