Kelsall adventurer Alex Staniforth is planning to return to the world’s highest mountain range, a year after being caught up in an avalanche on Mount Everest.
Alex, 21, was on his second attempt to reach the summit in April 2015, when a devastating avalanche claimed 22 lives, including three members of his team.
He was in the Khumbu Icefall below Camp 1 when a huge earthquake struck Nepal and triggered the disaster.
Now, just over a year after the tragedy, Alex is about to depart on a seven-week expedition to climb the sixth highest peak in the world, Cho Oyu, at 8,201 metres (26,906ft) high.
His latest challenge will begin on August 28 and his gruelling training regime has included a recent 24-hour solo bike ride to Devon where he covered more than 268 miles unsupported.
He said: “Cho Oyu will be an exciting opportunity to return to the high mountains and explore somewhere new. It’s been good to get focused on training again. Such challenges have a strange calling and the passion does not go away easily. As a sufferer of mental health problems myself, I am especially proud to be bringing such an important cause on the journey with me – there is simply not enough help available out there to meet a growing demand.”
Now a motivational speaker, Alex recognises adversity is his greatest teacher.
During his years at school, he dealt with epilepsy, anxiety, depression, bullying and a confidence-sapping stammer.
The former Tarporley High School student is backed by intrepid explorer Bear Grylls who said: “Obstacles are opportunities in disguise and Alex knows this all too well. High achievement requires high sacrifice, but he is a man determined to make his Everest dream a reality.”
Alex’s first expedition to Everest in 2014 was also aborted following a tragic avalanche above base camp.
He organised ‘Walk4Nepal’ to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2015 disaster, with 120 people climbing Snowdon and raising more than £20,000 for the earthquake victims.
For Cho Oyu he will be supporting mental health charity Young Minds, the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.
He is supported in his quest by The Westgrove Group in Warrington as their young ambassador.
Alex Staniforth will speak about his book Icefall, released in March 2016, at this year’s Chester Literature Festival.
The event is on October 20 - to book visit http://www.storyhouse.com/events/alex-staniforth-icefall/.